Wednesday, October 23, 2013

First Solo Travel: My Iloilo-Guimaras Adventure Part 1

I first thought that solo travel was as frightful as it seems; but after flying away from my comfort zone to discover new adventures, I was wrong. It has always been the saying "stay out of your comfort zone" has proven itself during the course of my 3 days, 2 nights travel at the beautiful city of Iloilo and Guimaras.

This was actually a spur-of-the-moment decision between me and my travel buddy coz I should be travelling with her instead of just going solo for 3 days. After researching and planning itineraries taken in pieces from all those travel blogs I've read, I've finally mustered enough courage to just go and get ready to get lost. I also challenged myself to go on a VERY strict budget as I wanted to prove to myself that travelling doesn't need to be expensive. I'll show how I survived my short solo travel on just a 3,000 budget, but please take note that this is not for everyone, especially the prissy tourist who likes to travel in luxury. :P

DAY 1: Touchdown Iloilo

Not my inn, it's just one of those beautiful old houses at Iloilo city. :)

It was the shortest flight ever. I missed that orgasmic feeling when a plane takes off so I was hoping the travel time by plane would be much longer LOL but heck, it's just ILO to MNL. Anyway, I arrived in Iloilo around 3pm and headed to take the shuttle that would take me to SM City Iloilo where I could just get another ride downtown. It was a looong ride of 45 minutes away from the airport to the city. When I arrived at the SM City Terminal, I immediately rode the Baluarte jeepney coz it passes by at the corner where Ong Bun Pension House is at.

Now this pension house is not a hotel, but more of like a dormitory for students and some travelers who wanted to get cheap but secure accommodation. My room was located at the 5th floor so it was a test of endurance for my poor limbs each time I take that flight of stairs. When I get there I wasn't half surprised how my room looked (I researched it already :P), it was a small fan room with a single bed, cable TV and it's just a few feet away from the common shower room. I didn't mind because the WI-FI access is awesome and as long as there's internet, I'm happy. :D After resting for a bit, I headed outside to start my solo exploration of the city. At night. LOL.

I used Google maps to track down the popular eating spots downtown and luckily, Roberto's was near so I just crossed the street and walked just a few blocks away. 

This place is famous for its King and Queen Siopao, which I like to call the Tasty Mess because of how they present it. I asked for the infamous Queen Siopao, but sadly it's only available on certain days so I settled for just the King Siopao instead.

Ta-da! The King has been served! 

It's quite heavy than your regular siopao because it's full of fillings like pork adobo, ham, egg and that sweet special sauce that I know I'd never find elsewhere. The place is just small and they don't have an aircon and yes, they're really popular because customers keep on coming in to buy takeouts of their siopao.

Next stop for night would be the Iloilo River Esplanade. From Roberto's, I walked a few blocks back to take the SM City jeepney and just asked the driver to drop me off at the Esplanade, where I need to cross the highway to get there. It was night time when I got ther so it's perfect for a nightscape photography which I haven't done in years, oh my!

It's a long road stretching across the river, it's a great place for a family and barkada hangout, I've seen a lot in there. The paved roads lined with lamp posts made me think that I'm on a different country, I had to stop here and there just to take pictures of Mayoi, my travel buddy, to get a good angle to capture those pretty city lights. Along the area were bars and restaurants where you can relax and chillout, but I was too busy taking long exposure shots. LOL. 

After a handful of shots, I got hungry and again and went away to look for something to eat, and luckily I found Ted's Old Timer La Paz Batchoy just a few blocks away from the River Esplanade.

This is where I got my taste of the infamous authentic La Paz Batchoy. 

The restaurant isn't full when I got there, but the guard says the place gets jampacked during lunch and even in the morning, as they are open for 24 hours. I ordered their Super Special, the one with liver, pork insides and egg.

I also saw this mini confectionery bar beside the counter and as a sucker for anything red velvet, I bought the cupcake right away.

I always got time for dessert!

After a hearty meal, I rode a tricycle to head back to my inn as it took me a while to get a jeep from Ted's, coz they don't seem to pass by the area. Transportation around Iloilo is pretty simple and you don't need to be shy when asking for directions. Everyone is most likely to help you get on your way. Next stop would be my solo sidetrip to Guimaras Island! 

I'll post this in two parts of course, and as promised, here's my DIY IT and budget for my 1st day of adventure at Iloilo City! :D

ITINERARY - Wednesday, October 16
3PM - Arrival at Iloilo
4PM - Shuttle to SM City
4:15 - Arrival at Ong Bun, rest
6PM - Head outside for dinner/photowalk
6:30 - Snacks at Roberto's Siopao
7PM - Iloilo River Esplanade, nightscape shoot
9PM - Late dinner at Ted's Old Timer La Paz Batchoy
9:30 - Go back to inn

BUDGET (in pesos) - 630
330 - Ong Bun room rent 
85 - Roberto's King Siopao + Iced Tea
8 - Jeep to Esplanade (Take SM City)
130 - La Paz Batchoy + Cupcake
50 - Tricycle back to Ong Bun

I'll have to organize my photos for the next part of my adventure at Guimaras Island, which actually seemed just like a sidetrip haha! Check out my next post soon! :)

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