Sunday, October 10, 2010

Visayas in Fleeting Glances

Among the memorable trips we took was when we visited the Visayas provinces.  Although not as popular as some of the tourist destinations of the country, still these provinces have opened my eyes to our beautiful culture and heritage.

Beautiful Architecture in Iloilo
Iloilo is a small town in the Visayas region of the Philippines where it is famous for the Piaya and their La Paz Batchoy.  Piaya is a famous souvenir food item.  It is a flat bread with a muzcovado sugar.  This delicacy is perfect when it is reheated.  The filling just melts in your mouth.  The batchoy on the other hand, is another Filipino noodle soup, but when you order your batchoy from Iloilo, expect something different with the taste. 


The La Paz batchoy noodle soup is made with pork organs, crushed pork cracklings, shrimp, vegetable and chicken stock.   Famous batchoy restaurants are Deco’s and Ted’s.  Iloilo is also abundant with seafood.  If you feel like having a seafood feast, head to Tatoy’s for their infamous crablets.   They serve fresh from the pond crablets deep fried to perfection.


Enough about food and on to site seeing.  Iloilo, is also famous for its old churches.  Over the years, the city has kept and maintained their churches that was built during the Spanish Era.  Among the famous churches are:

Miagao Church


Molo Church:

Cabatuan Church:



An hour of travel from Iloilo to visit Guimaras will also give you another glimpse of untouched paradise.  Scenic views and beaches lined up this island. This province is also famous for their export quality mangoes.  Visit the Trappist Monastery and find a wide variety of Mango products such as Mango jams, Mango piaya and Mango ketchup.


Iloilo is an hour airplane ride from Manila or a 45 minute airplane ride from Cebu.  Or you can also take an hour boat ride from Bacolod to Iloilo via Super Cat.

Time Travel in Leyte

Leyte is not only the site where General Douglas McArthur delcared “I Shall Return” during the World War II.  Leyte, is also known for its pristine white beaches.  Although not developed for resort facility, the CAlanggaman island can be reached using a small boat or bangka.  Have a picnic in the island with your family the whole day check out the clear water lagoons and interesting caves that decorates the island.


Leyte, is home of the longest and the most beautiful designed bridge in the Philippines, the San Juanico Bridge.  This bridge connects the island of Leyte to the island of Samar and stretches into a total length of 2.16 kilometers.   Also, in Leyte is the Sto. Nino and Heritage Museum.  These palatial structure showcased the opulent lifestyle of the Romuladez-Marcos.  Made famous by the shoe loving Imelda Marcos.  The mansion has different types of rooms decorated in the finest furniture and wall cladding.  Antique chandeliers illuminate the paths.  A must visit site when you are in Leyte.


Mardi Gras in Bacolod City – Silay City
During October, half of the western part of world is celebrating the beer festival another part, I must say a minute part of Asia is celebrating another kind of festival in Bacolod city – the <a href="http://www.themasskarafestival.com/">Masskara festival</a>.


This festival is a week long celebration of food fairs, mask making contest and highlighted by the Mardi Gras-ish parade.  The parade comprises dancers who don elaborate mask designs and dance along the main city streets.  The street party does not stop until the wee hours of the morning.  After a night of partying and booze drinking, a lazy day at the city will help you sober up.

Bacolod city which is known to be the City of Smiles, is famous for its sugar cane.  Thus also made creamy and fuller piaya’s than that of Iloilo.  Bongbong’s piaya orginal flavor and the Ube flavor is a must buy take home goodies.  Also the cheese tart and the Guapol.  Now this guapol has a funny story.  Guapol or simply put as guava pie but has the similar makes and taste of an apple pie thus named Guapol.  The first time I tasted guapol pie I immediately fell in love with it. The cinnamon and the tender meat of the guava fruit is a perfect blend.  Guapol pie can be bought in Silay city.  An hour drive from Bacolod City.


Another thing I remember about Silay and Bacolod is the Mambukal resort.  This is a hot spring resort where a streams of hot water can cure eczema.  Or so my relatives think.  Another landmark is the Balay Negrense this museum showcase the rich history of this cities from being the Spanish colony to an American territory during World War II.


There are more cities and provinces in Visayas that I have yet to discover.  Hopefully, when I have a nother chance it will no longer be fleeting glances but a closer look on more cultural discoveries.

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