Budget Hotel in Iloilo City: 88 Plaza Hotel

88 Plaza Hotel Double Room Iloilo

If you are backpacking The City of Love, there are a number of cheap yet decent accommodations in Iloilo city. For short time stay, check-in at Dragon Lodge for only 280 Pesos for a 3-hour stay. If you are staying overnight, at 560 Pesos, 88 Plaza Hotel Iloilo City probably has the cheapest and most affordable rates.

88 Plaza Hotel Iloilo City Room Rates

Single occupancy – 560 Php
Double occupancy – 690 Php
Triple occupancy – 760 Php

88 Plaza Hotel Iloilo City Location Map

Located in 88 Delgado street, the hotel is near to various landmarks in Iloilo City. It is few minute taxi ride away from the old Iloilo City hall, Iloilo Esplanade, Smallville and SM City Iloilo. Note that Iloilo airport is quite far from the city center. If you are visiting the city, do not expect hotels near the airport.

Due to the hotel’s cheap and affordable rates, their rooms easily get fully booked.  I arrived in the hotel at around 10 AM there were no available single occupancy rooms. I had no choice but to book a double occupancy room at 690 Php. By the way, that was way cheaper that my last visit in Iloilo where I stayed in Injap Tower Hotel.


Facade of 88 Plaza Hotel
Facade of 88 Plaza Hotel

The hotel’s facade is simple. From outside, the building looks old to me. There is an ample parking space right in front of the hotel. As for the security, there is a guard manning at the entrance. Once you get inside, the reception is situated on the right side. On the left is a mini cafeteria which is open 24 hours.

Double Room at 88 Plaza Hotel

88 Plaza Hotel Double Room Iloilo
88 Plaza Hotel Double Room

For 690 Php, the room was good. Not something you get when you check-in in a more pricey Iloilo hotel like Injap Tower. Nonetheless, the room and the toilet with hold and cold shower are very clean.  The air conditioning unit works perfectly. The hotel lacks WiFi facility but there is a space for work area. There is a mini cable television and a service phone. If you are a smoker, there are designated smoking areas in each level of the hotel.

As expected to a budget hotel, there is nothing special about 88 Plaza except for its affordable room rates. Nonetheless, the guard on the entrance was very welcoming. As for the receptionists, I just felt that they need to be more welcoming and accommodating. With their cheap room rates, I had no issues with their service. It was just getting the value of what you paid for. Overall, if you are a backpacker or a budget traveler visiting Iloilo city, I would highly recommend 88 Plaza Hotel!

Iloilo City Hotel Online Booking HERE

88 Plaza Hotel Iloilo City contact number: 0928 998 9925

How to get to Bacolod from Iloilo – Weesam Express, SuperCat 2GO, Oceanjet (ferry schedule, fare, travel time)

Weesam Express Iloilo Bacolod route

There are no direct flights from Iloilo City to Bacolod City. The only means to get to Bacolod City from Iloilo City is by sea. The fastest, most convenient and most practical option is by a fastcraft ferry. Geographically, both cities are just 43.78 kilometers apart. Distance is equal to 23.63 nautical miles. With a fastcraft ferry, travel time is only 1 hour to 2 hours.

From Iloilo City, hail a taxi  going to Iloilo River Wharf. Note that there are three seaports in Iloilo.  The Dumangas Port, Iloilo port and the Iloilo River Wharf. The latter is where fastcrafts to Bacolod are docked. Just inform the taxi driver to bring you to the port.

Fastcraft port ilolilo city
Fastcraft port ilolilo city
There are three fastcraft ferry companies serving passengers from Iloilo going to Bacolod (vice versa). Weesam Express, SuperCat by 2GO and OceanJet. Here are their trip schedules, travel time, fares and contact numbers:

Note that the below information are based on what I have gathered during my recent trip from Iloilo to Bacolod. These may be subject to change. I highly advise to at least contact the ferry operators before going to the port.

SuperCat 2GO

SuperCat 2GO
SuperCat 2GO
SuperCat 2GO Iloilo to Bacolod Departure Schedule

  • 7:30 AM
  • 10:30 AM
  • 2:00 PM
  • 5:00 PM

SuperCat 2GO Iloilo to Bacolod Fare

  • Tourist – 260 Php
  • Deluxe – 230 Php
  • Economy – 190 Php

SuperCat contact number: +63 9423909945


OceanJet Iloilo to Bacolod Departure Schedule

  • 6:05 AM
  • 7:35 AM
  • 9:05 AM
  • 10:35 AM
  • 12:30 PM
  • 2:15 PM
  • 3:45 PM
  • 5:15 PM

OceanJet Iloilo to Bacolod travel time: 1 hour

OceanJet Iloilo to Bacolod Fare

  • Opern Air/Tourist class – 230 Php
  • Business class – 365 Php

OceanJet Iloilo contact number: +63 33 3353255
OceanJet Bacolod contact number: +63 34 4335359

Weesam Express

Weesam Express
Weesam Express
Weesam Express Iloilo to Bacolod Departure Schedule

  • 6:30 AM
  • 8:30 AM
  • 9:50 AM
  • 11:30 AM
  • 1:10 PM
  • 2:50 PM
  • 4:35 PM

Weesam Express Iloilo to Bacolod travel time: 2 hours

Weesam Express Iloilo to Bacolod Fare

  • First Class – 300 Php
  • First Class (student) – 255 Php
  • First Class (senior citizen) – 240 Php
  • Tourist – 230 Php
  • Tourist (students) – 200 Php
  • Tourist (senior citizen) – 185 Php
  • Economy non-aircon – 200 Php
  • Economy non-aircon (students) – 170 Php
  • Economy non-aircon (senior citizen) – 160 Php

Weesam Express Contact Number: +63 3373282 / +63 9253496250

My Weesam Express Experience

Oceanjet has the earliest daily trip, for some reason, they do not have the 6:05 AM trip going to Bacolod that day.  I had a chance to book the earliest trip (6:30 AM) to Bacolod via Weesam Express. Terminal fee is 30 Php but I only paid 24 Php, PWD discounted rate.

There is a security check in the terminal. Unlike in Batangas port where there is a baggage x-ray machine, guards manually check the bags in Iloilo Wharf port.

Weesam Express Iloilo Bacolod route
Weesam Express Iloilo Bacolod route
I wanted to seat in a non-air-conditioned area, unfortunately the 6:30 AM fastcraft ferry bound to Bacolod did not have the economy non-aircon seats. I bought a first class ticket instead (at a PWD discounted rate).

The first class seats are located on the first level of the ferry. There are 3 LCD flat screen TVs, a mini store selling snacks and drinks, and a comfort room. The seat is comfortable for a 2 hour cruise from Iloilo to Bacolod.

Tourist class seats Weesam Express
Tourist class seats
Since I do not have a first class seat ticket, I am not allowed to enter the first class seats at the second level. I still managed to take a photo of the area. Well, it appears that first class seats are more comfortable.

First Class seats Weesam Express
First Class seats
The entire Weesum Express trip from Iloilo to Bacolod was a breeze.  I felt safe throughout the trip. I just did not realize that among the three fastcraft ferries, at 2 hours, Weesum Express has the longest travel time from Iloilo to Bacolod. Nonetheless, it has the cheapest rate and is ideal for slow budget travelling.

1 Day in the Philippines’ City of Love – Iloilo City

iloilo convention center

Pegged as the Philippines’ City of Love, Iloilo City is the capital city of Iloilo province in Panay Island situated in Western Visayas. Iloilo City is one of Visayas’ major tourist destination due to its rich heritage and not to mention being the home of the warm and romantic Ilonggos.  The city is also highly urbanized and serves as a center of trade and commerce in Western Visayas region. Thus, apart from its delicious cuisines, old churches and historical buildings, Iloilo City has a wide array of hotels and accommodations for business travelers and backpackers alike. If you’re planning to visit the city, check out booking sites like Traveloka that allow you to choose the best deals and check out reviews.

View of Iloilo from Horizon Cafe
View of Iloilo city from Injap Tower Hotel

During my first visit in Western Visayas, I took a 2GO ferry trip from Batangas to Caticlan. My initial plan was to visit Aklan first before Roxas City and Iloilo City. When the ferry docked in Caticlan port, there was a passenger van route to Iloilo City. I hopped in the van and took that 4 hour trip from Caticlan Jetty port to Iloilo City. Having no concrete plans, I did not have any itinerary or even hotel or accommodation to stay once I arrive in Iloilo City.

I arrived at 2:00 AM. The van driver was kind enough to drop me in front of the hotel across SM Iloilo. Since it was already past 2:00 AM, after realizing that the check-out time was at 12:00 noon, I opted to look for cheaper accommodations in the area. Well, I love spontaneous travelling but I do not fully advise it. It’s fun but it’s still better to plan your travel ahead of time.

Church Hopping

After a long land-sea-land travel from Manila to Iloilo, I woke up late that day. Come noon time, I was excited to visit Miag-Ao church. I have only seen photos of the church on a gallery in National museum and Vigan Museum. I was amazed by its intricate and beautiful architecture.

I immediately left the hotel see Miag-Ao. I then realized that it was an hour away from the city center. I proceeded anyway and took a jeepney from the hotel to the municipality of Molo where jeepneys bound to Miag-Ao. I walked in the Molo park and checked-out the Spanish-colonial and heritage site – Molo church.  This national landmark features Gothic architecture is also known as the Feminist Church due to the all women statues of saints situated on the aisle pillars. Across the street is the popular Molo Mansion. Built in 1920, this mansion was believed to have hosted Presidents Quezon and Osmeña during their visit in Iloilo city. This once abandoned mansion has now turned into a Philippine souvenir shop.

Miagao church

I then proceeded with my journey to Miag-Ao church. After taking 2 jeepneys from Molo district. I arrived in Miag-Ao church. The church’s Baroque Romanesque architecture and its intricately designed facade make it one of the most beautiful church in the Philippines. Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993, Miag-Ao church has become one of Iloilo’s tourist destination.

On my way back to Molo district, I couldn’t help myself but to alight the passenger jeepney every time I see a church in the area.

Molo Soup in Molo District


It was already afternoon when I arrived back in Molo district. I asked several locals where I could eat the authentic Pancit Molo. One local informed me to eat at Tita Paz House of Pancit Molo.

Iloilo City Night Tour

I was lucky enough that I have relatives living in Iloilo. Come evening, they invited me for a dinner at Ayala’s Atria Park District, Iloilo’s relatively new lifestyle hub. Atria looks like a typical Ayala lifestyle center in Manila.

After our dinner, they toured me around the city. We visited the modern and state of the art Iloilo Convention center. Located in Mandurriao, this modern architecture was built-in September 2015. Just in time for the Philippine’s APEC 2015 hosting.  Next stop was the old Iloilo Provincial Capitol. This Spanish colonial architecture was declared as a National Historical Site by the National Historical Commission in 2010.

We then visited Calle Real which means “Royal Street” in Spanish. Located In the old downtown district, this street is home to the art-deco and luxury American neoclassical era architectures. It is said that the street used to be the area of high-end shopping outlets during the early period of American occupancy in the Philippines. We also visited what locals call as Esplanade. This Iloilo river esplanade is a popular destination among Ilonggos and tourists alike.


6 Things You Should Know Before Going to Islas de Gigantes Iloilo

scallops shucking

Excited to visit Islas de Gigantes in Iloilo? Here are some tips and things you should know before going to Islas de Gigantes:

disclaimer: most of the below tips are based on what we have experienced during our visit in the islands last August 2016.

1. Islas de Gigantes is a group of islands

Islas de Gigantes is a group of islands located in the Western Visayas archipelago within the Visayan sea. This must visit Philippine destination is part of the municipality of Carles, the northernmost part of Iloilo province.

Islas de Gigantes is composed of 10 islands. The two largest islands are the Gigantes Norte and Gigantes Sur. In the southeast of Gigantes Norte are the islets Bulubadiang, Gigantillo and Gigantuna. On the south of Gigantes Sur are the islands and islets Antonia, Bantigui, Cabugao, Tanguingui, and Turnina.

A photo posted by Ed Puno (@onearmedwanderer) on

Antonia Island, Islas de Gigantes

A photo posted by Ed Puno (@onearmedwanderer) on

Cabugao Gamay Island, Islas de Gigantes

2. Best time to visit Islas de Gigantes is from December to May

If you want to fully enjoy the Islas de Gigantes experience, the best time to visit is during the months of December to May.  Avoid the habagat season from June to November due to the strong sea waves. To preserve the natural beauty of Islas de Gigante’s lagoon which is also known as “Tanke”, guests are also restricted to visit it during the habagat season.  Sadly, we visited the beautiful Islas de Gigantes during the season and the famous tanke was closed for tourists.

3. Electricity is from 5 PM to 6 AM

Being a remote island in the northeast part of Iloilo, there is limited electricity in Islas de Gigantes’ mainland- Gigantes Sur. Electricity is only available from 5 PM to 6 AM. During our stay in the island, we experienced blackouts even during the 5 PM to 6 AM window. Good thing is that Gigantes Hideway Tourist Inn has generators to back-up in case of power shortage.

The limited electricity will not be an issue during your stay in Islas de Gigantes. You will be touring around Islas de Gigantes during daytime and will be back in the resort before evening. During your idle time, the experience of not having electricity during daytime will make you feel how it’s like living in a remote island with no electricity and cellphone signal (read number 5).

4. Main Industry is Scallops Harvesting and Shucking

Since there is no electricity during daytime, during our first afternoon in Gigantes Sur, we decided to stroll outside the Gigantes Hideway Tourist Inn resort. We noticed that scallops shells are all over the place. We talked to locals and discovered that the primary industry in the island is scalloping. In fact, Islas de Gigantes’ Gigantes Norte is the scallops capital of the municipality of Carles. As we walked farther, we noticed a group of locals shucking scallops. Their leader was kind enough to tell us more about the scallops industry in the island. Most of the shucked scallops are placed on bottles, frozen and exported to Cebu, Manila and even outside the Philippines. Sadly, they only earn a little from scalloping and shucking. That expensive baked scallops you order in fancy restaurants might be a product of these people’s hard work.

We then decided that we will give most of the goodies we bought for my very first Travel with a Purpose Project to these friendly and hardworking Islas de Gigantes locals.

Tip: Stroll around the area during daytime and discover more of Islas de Gigantes.

4. No cellphone signal except from Gigantes Sur’s “call center”, Bulubadiang and Cabugao Gamay

There is no cellphone signal in Gigantes Sur except for a spot they call as call center.  It is where locals visit if they want to use their mobile phones. As for the other islands in Islas de Gigantes, there is also signal in the islands Bulubadiang and the famous Cabugao Gamay. So, while in Islas de Gigantes, do not expect that you will be able to post photos in your Facebook and Instagram real-time.

Tip: Disconnect and simply enjoy Islas de Gigantes. Remember, you are there for the experience. Enjoy first and share your photos later.

5. Limited passenger boat trip going to and out of Islas de Gigantes

Islas de Gigantes can be reached via Iloilo City or Roxas City. Booking a flight is easy but catching the  boat trip a day to Islas de Gigantes requires careful time planning as missing the passenger boat ride from the port to Islas de Gigantes could ruin your itinerary. There are only two daily trips going to Islas de Gigantes. One is from Carles port which promptly leaves at 10 AM and the other one is from Estancia port which leaves at 1 PM.

Same goes if you are leaving Islas de Gigantes, there is also a limited number of trips from the Islas de Gigantes Sur to Estancia or Carles port.

Tip:  If you don’t want to ride a passenger boat, special and private trip from Estancia port to Islas de Gigantes will cost you 4,500 Pesos.

6. Cheapest tour package is Islas Hideaway Tourist Inn’s

If you are on a tight budget and wants a complete and memorable Islas de Gigantes experience, I would highly recommend availing a tour package offered by Islas de Gigantes Hideaway resort. Unlike other tour agencies, The Gigantes Hideaway’s rates are by far the cheapest we have seen. And I should say that Gigantes Hideaway did not disappoint us. [Related: Cheapest Islas de Gigantes Tour Package].

Travel with a Purpose Project

Travel with a Purpose: Gift Giving in Tawi-Tawi

I was born and grew up in Manila and is used to the city life. Coming from a middle class family,  my parents raised us feeling that we had more than enough when we were growing up. I should say that from childhood up to this day, I have been living comfortably.  When I started solo travelling in 2015, my only goal was to experience and explore my beautiful home country – The Philippines.  For every province that I visited, I have seen new places, gained new friends, experience various cultures and learned new things. I always return home with memories that will last for a lifetime.

During my travels, I could not help but compare what I have in Manila realizing how blessed I am for having things that I often take for granted (having a job, a comfortable home, even food on my plate).  It was February of this year, during my first solo travel in Mindanao, where I decided that I need to help (even in my own little and simplest ways) any local/s in the province that I am visiting. Then there comes the idea of “Travel With a Purpose Project”.  My goal was not just to experience and explore my home country but to reach out and do something. Give back to the province I am visiting by helping and bringing smiles to the locals.

Completed Travel with a Purpose Projects

To date, I have completed 2 Travel with a Purpose Projects. One in Visayas and the second was in Mindanao.

  • Islas de Gigantes, Iloilo – August 2016
  • Tawi-Tawi – September 2016


Travel with a Purpose: Gift Giving in Tawi-Tawi
Second Travel with a Purpose: Gift Giving in Tawi-Tawi (in partnership with silverbackpacker.com, HOPE Inc., Zamboanga and Tawi-Tawi Philippine Marines)

Travel with a Purpose Partners

I have also worked with the following individuals and groups that made my Travel with a Pupose Projects possible:

  • Jen Montebon
  • HOPE Inc.
  • Dave of silverbackpacker.com
  • Zamboanga and Tawi-Tawi Philippine Marines
  • and of course kind-hearted indivuduals who donated to the projects (Car Gumapon, Aurora Vivero and to a group who requested to remain anonymous)

If you want to take part by donating or joining my future Travel with a Purpose projects, please feel free drop a mail at [email protected].

*Next Travel with a Purpose – Camiguin 

Thank you.

Ed, One Armed Wanderer

Cheapest Islas de Gigantes Tour Package

Cabugao gamay

If you are planning to visit the beautiful Gigantes islands in Iloilo, finding a cheap yet complete Islas de Gigantes tour package is quite hard. There are a number of tour agencies offering Islas de Gigantes tour packages. Sadly, these tours can be as expensive as 7,000 per person.

Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn Resort’s Tour Package

Being budget travelers, Jen and I were determined to find the cheapest Islas de Gigantes tour package, luckily, we have found Islandgirltraveler’s blog featuring Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn Resort, a cheap accommodation in Islas de Gigantes. A commenter mentioned that he booked for a solo traveller tour package at an affordable price.  We immediately contacted Sir Joel Decano, Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn owner. We asked for a quote for two persons and were surprised by the 3 days and 2 nights Islas de Gigantes tour package price.

gigantes hideaway resort
Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn Resort

2 nights and 3 days full board all in expenses good for 2 PAX package rate is 2,970 Pesos per person. Well, rates can be cheaper than 2,970 Pesos for group tours. Good deal, right?

Islas de Gigantes tour package includes the following:

  • Round trip Passenger boat ride from Estancia to/from Islas de Gigantes
  • private boat for island hopping tour in 5-6 islands
  • islands entrance fees
  • 3 day and 2 night accommodation at Gigantes Hifeaway Tourist Inn
  • local island guide
  • cave guide
  • 5 meals (family service seafood meals/unlimited rice/unlimited coffee),
  • motorbike fare for 3 days time

Basically, once you get to Estancia port or Carles port, gateway to Islas de Gigantes, you will just spend 10 Pesos for the terminal fee. The rest is included in the tour package! See my post on How to Get to Islas de Gigantes From Manila.

Islas de Gigantes Tour Package Itinerary

Day 1:

  • 3:00 PM – Arrival at Islas de Gigantes
  • 7:00 PM – dinner (Meal 1)

Day 2:

  • 6:00 AM – Islas de Gigantes lighthouse
  • 7:00 AM – Breakfast (Meal 2)
  • 8:00 AM – 12 PM – Island Hopping
  • 12:00 PM – Lunch (Meal 3)
  • 12:00 PM – 3  PM – Island hopping
  • 3:00 PM – 5 PM – Caving
  • 7:00 PM – Dinner (Meal 4)

Day 3:

  • 7:00 AM – Breakfast (Meal 5)
  • 8:00 PM – boat leaves Islas de Gigantes
Bakwitan cave isla de iantes
Bakwitan Cave
Cabugao gamay
Cabugao Gamay, the famous Islas de Gigantes island

A photo posted by Ed Puno (@onearmedwanderer) on

Antonia Island Isla de giantes
Our tour guide, Jed at Antonia’s Island

3 Reasons why choose Gigantes Hideaway’s Islas de Gigantes tour package

Cheapest Islas de Gigantes tour package – This Islas de Gigantes tour package is by far the cheapest we have seen online. There are numerous travel agencies offering tour packages, however we find them too expensive. Gigantes Hideaway’s tour package may not include airport transfers from Iloilo City or Roxas City to Estancia or Carles port. Nonetheless, it is definitely cheaper and more fun if you commute from the airport to the ports of Estancia or Carles. See my post on How to Get to Islas de Gigantes From ManilaAdditionally, the tour package is inclusive of sumptuous and generous servings of scallops and other seafood! Rice and coffee are unlimited too!    

A photo posted by Ed Puno (@onearmedwanderer) on

Personal guides – Unlike other tours, Gigantes Hideaway’s tour package includes personal guides. The moment you reach the Estancia port or Carles port, someone from the resort will meet and guide you the passenger boat. Once you arrive in Islas de Gigantes, your local and personal tour guide is waiting for you and will serve as your guide throughout your stay in Islas de Gigantes.

cheap tour package islas de gigantes

Private tour – Whether you travel solo, with a special someone or with your friends, you need not to worry about your privacy. You will not be forced to join a group of strangers while touring the islands. You will get to have your private bout during island hopping. A private cave guide. A private habal-habal service throughout your stay in the Islas de Gigantes. What more can you ask for?

Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn Contact Number

Joel de Cano – +63 9184685006



How to Get to Islas de Gigantes From Manila

Gigantes Island sandbar

Is posing in Cabugao Gamay, the most popular island in Islas de Gigantes in your bucket list? Here is the cheapest and fastest way on how to get to Islas de Gigantes from Manila:

Gigantes Island sandbar
The famous Cabugao Gamay island in Islas de Gigantes, Iloilo, Philippines

Islas de Gigantes is one among the many tourist attractions that is becoming popular among beach lovers and adventure seekers.

1. Fly from Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Roxas City, Capiz Province

Islas de Gigantes is located in the Northern part of Iloilo, however, if you will fly from Manila to Iloilo City, the total travel time (air and land travel) to Islas de Gigantes could take up to 7  hours. Geographically, Iloilo City is farther to Islas de Gigantes compared to Roxas City. Thus, the fastest way to get to the beautiful Islas de Gigantes is via Roxas City in Capiz which could take up to 5 hrs and 30 mins (air and land travel).

Flight from Ninoy Aquino International Airport  to Roxas City is 1 hr and 10 minutes. You may book your flight ahead of time thru Philippine Airlines or the low cost and budget local airline – Cebu Pacific .

Tip: Book the earliest flight from Manila to Roxas City to catch the 1 PM boat trip from Estancia, Iloilo to Islas de Gigantes.

2. From Roxas City airport, ride a tricycle going to Ceres bus terminal

Roxas City Airport Philippines
Roxas City Airport

There are no jeepneys or taxis around the Roxas City city airport as the primary mode of transportation in the city are tricycles. Once your arrive in the airport, look for the tricycle terminal and tell the driver that you are going to Ceres bus terminal. Note that there are no standard tricycle tariff rates in Roxas City. In our case, we paid 200 from Roxas City Airport to Ceres bus terminal. Travel time is approximately 20 minutes.

Tips: Roxas City is known as the seafood capital of the Philippines. You may want to spend a night in Roxas City and indulge yourself to a seafood treat in Baybay. To avoid pricey tricycle fares around the city, visit my separate post How to travel like a local in Roxas City – soon.

3. In Ceres bus terminal, take a bus or a van going to Estancia in Iloilo

Ceres Bus Terminal Roxas Capiz
Ceres Bus Terminal

Bus fare from Roxas City, Capiz to Estancia in Iloilo is 81 Pesos and travel time could take from an hour and 40 minutes to 2 hours. Note that there are no air-conditioned buses to Estancia. Alternatively, taking a van to Estancia is faster. Fare is 75 and travel time is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. Note that vans are non-air-conditioned too.

4. In Estancia Bus Terminal, ride a tricycle to Estancia Port

From Estancia bus terminal, take a tricycle going to Estancia port. Fare is 60 pesos for special trip. If you are on a budget, fare for a single person is 15 Pesos but you will have to wait for other passengers bound to Estancia port. Travel time is approximately 10 mins.

5. Ride a passenger boat from Estancia Port to Islas de Gigantes

Estancia Port Iloilo Islas de Gigantes
Port of Estancia in Iloilo

In Estancia Port, pay 10 pesos for the terminal fee. Inform the tourism officer that you are going to Islas de Gigantes. Fare is 60 Pesos and the total travel time is 2 hours. Note that there is only 1 trip a day from Estancia Port to Islas de Gigantes. The boat promptly leaves at 1:00 PM. If in case you miss the 1:00 PM trio, hiring a private boat to Islas de Gigantes costs 4,500 Pesos.

Tip: Gigantes Hideaway resort’s Islas de Gigantes tour package includes the passenger boat ride fare from Estancia port to Islas de Gigantes. A personnel of the resort will meet you in the Estancia Port and will guide you to the passenger boat. Blog entry about the tour package will be posted soon.


Extraordinarily Beautiful Miagao Church in Iloilo

Miagao church in ililo philippines

Simbahan ng Sto. Tomas de Villanueva or popularly known as the Migao Church is one among the four Philippine churches in Baroque Romanesque architecture. Built in 1797, Miagao church was declared as a Philippine national treasure in 1963 and a UNESCO world heritage in 1993.

Located in the municipality of Miagao in Iloilo, the church has become one of Iloilo’s tourist destination. With its jaw dropping and intricately designed facade, Miagao church is truly a work of art!

Miagao church in ililo philippines

The church embodies the mixture of Spanish-Filipino culture. Back in history, Miagao church was built using forced labor. Interestingly enough, the church was built using adobe, lime stones, corals and eggs.

Beautiful church in philippines

Unfortunately, I arrived in Miagao at around 2 PM where the sunlight is almost facing the rear part of the church. The best time to visit Miagao church is during early morning as the color of its facade changes depending on the sunlight.

filipino travel blogger philippines

Photo with the beautiful Miagao church. Thanks to the self-timer feature of cameras nowadays.lol

baroque architecture philippines

After taking several pictures of Miagao Church’s facade, I tried opening its front and main door to check out its interior. Unfortunately, it was closed. To my dismay, I strolled around the area hoping that i could enter the church. I was very lucky that there was an open door on one side of the church. As I entered, I was greeted by a very welcoming and accommodating man who happens to be the resident guide of Miagao church. He shared a number of facts about the church and the town of Miagao. He was very friendly and accommodating that he even took a photo of me inside the church.

Philippine church interior iloilo

The church’s interior matches its outside beauty. Miagao church’s retablo is  gold plated which compliments the beautiful color of its thick walls.

Miagao church iloilo blogger

Photo with the resident guide

Filipino travel blogger


I should say that the church is well maintained. This is one of the few heritage sites where the original structure is retained and preserved.

How to Get to Miagao church Iloilo

From Iloilo City proper, ride a cab to the town of Molo. From there, take a jeepney to Mohon terminal. From the terminal, ride a jeepney bound to Miagao. Total travel time from Iloilo City to Miagao church is approximately 1 hour.

So far, Miagao church is the most beautiful church I have seen not only in Iloilo but in the entire country.  This extraordinarily beautiful church is a must visit if you are traveling or backpacking to Iloilo.

Where to Eat Pancit Molo in Iloilo City

The authentic Pancit Molo

One of the things I was looking forward in my DIY Iloilo tour is food! On my list are the authentic Illongo delicacies –  La Paz Batchoy and Pancit Molo.  During my first day in Iloilo City, I was lucky that my accommodation (Dragon Lodge) is located in Molo, a district in Iloilo where Pancit Molo originated.  I asked several locals for the best Pancit Molo house in town and I was advised to visit Tita Paz The House of Pancit Molo.

How to Get There
If you are coming from the city, just ride a jeepney bound to Villa Arevalo or Oton. Just inform the driver to drop you at Tita Paz/Molo County Bakeshop. Alternatively, you can also take a cab and instruct the driver to bring you to Tita Paz/Molo County Bakeshop.

Tita Paz Restaurant in Molo, Iloilo
Tita Paz share the area with Molo County Bakeshop

Tita Paz pasalubong
Molo County Bakeshop offers various pasalubong items

Tita paz restaurant
Tita Paz Restauirant in Molo, Iloilo
With only 5 tables, the dining area of Tita Paz is quite small. Nonetheless, the area is very clean.

Pancit Molo comes with a bread

Pancit Molo is a soup dish made of ground chicken or pork in wonton or Molo wrapper.  It does not actually have long and thin rice/egg noodles which makes it a not so traditional pancit in Filipino cuisine.  It  is called a pancit as the Molo wrapper is basically of the same mix with the traditional pancit noodles.

I ordered the largest bowl of Pancit Molo which costs 75 Php ($1.50). An order comes with Pandeciosa, a local bread.

The authentic Pancit Molo

To taste, soy sauce and pepper can be added to the Authentic Pancit Molo.

This dish is not new to me as my mother always cooks this very delicious soup. My mom’s version of Molo has milk compared to the original Molo recipe.  Overall, Tita Paz’s Pancit Molo is very delicious! The soup itself is simple yet you can really taste the broth. The rich in flavor dumplings are the main attraction of this Illongo delicacy!


Hotel in Iloilo: Injap Tower Hotel Review

Room for three at Injap

Injap Tower Hotel is located along Diversion road and is just across SM City Iloilo. This tower is actually the tallest structure in Western Visayas. Being the first and only high-rise building, this 21-storey hotel is considered as one of Iloilo’s notable modern landmarks.

I was originally dropped off by the van at Injap Tower Hotel during my first day at Iloilo City. I opted to look for a cheaper hotel instead and landed at the Dragon Lodge where I spent my first night in Iloilo. Upon reading good reviews about Injap Tower, I did not hesitate to transfer in this hotel for my second night in the City of Love.

The highest building in Western Visayas
Facade of Injap Tower Hotel

Modern Feel at Injap Tower Hotel Lobby

Injap Tower Hotel’s lobby has this simple yet modern feel. The lobby is simple, very clean and well maintained. The furniture and fixtures look very new and modern. However, the entire lobby and the reception area look a bit small for its towering size.

The hotel’s hallways are plain simple, clean and spacious.  There is nothing much to see here except for the noticeable high-end key card door locks in as you pass by each room.

Hotel Room

All rooms are 21 square meter in size and come with a queen size and a standard bed. At 21 square meters, the room look spacious.  It was surprising to see a mini kitchen with sink,  microwave oven and a mini refrigerator in the room. Apart from these, rooms also come with a telephone with NDD and IDD calls, 46” LED cable TV with HDMI Capacity and a free Wifi access with strong internet connection.

The bed and pillows are very comfortable and are par with that high-end hotels in Manila. The air conditioning unit works perfectly. If you are bringing work at your Injap Tower Hotel room, there is a small table that can serve as your work space. As for the toilet and bath, it was very clean and fixtures look very new. Toiletries are provided on a mini pouch with Injap Tower Hotel branding. There is a glass partition separating the shower from the toilet. There are no issues with the water pressure. Hot and cold shower is works perfectly too.

Tip: Since Iloilo City is a smoke-free city, there are no smoking areas in this hotel. If you are smoker, I would suggest checking-in at Dragon Lodge Iloilo instead.

Injap Tower Hotel Room Rates

Room rates vary depending on the occupancy per day. In my case, I paid 1,800 Php ($36.00) for a night at the Injap Tower Hotel. Check room availability and prices HERE (Agoda).

The Horizon Cafe

The hotel is also famous for its Horizon Cafe located on the 21st floor, the highest floor in the hotel. Being the tallest building in Iloilo, Injap Tower Hotel’s Horizon Cafe provides a panoramic view of Iloilo City to its diners.


Other facilities at Injap Tower Hotel 

  • use of lap pool located in 5th floor
  • use of the gym at the Injap Fitness Center
  •  Access to The Horizon Café at the 21st floor of the tower
  • Ample Parking space
  • 3 high-speed elevator units
  • 24/7 standby power generator

I should say that I enjoyed my overnight stay at Injap Tower Tower. The price may be a bit expensive for a budget traveller. Nonetheless, with the accessibility, clean-rooms and being the current tallest building in Western Visayas, Injap Tower Hotel is truly a must visit hotel.

Injap Tower Hotel
Contact number (+63 33) 330 7111.
Online booking  HERE (Agoda)