Places to visit near Iloilo
Every year since 2014, I find myself booking a flight to Iloilo. The food, the beaches and the unexplored places call out to me and lure me back. The famous islands such as Isla de Gigantes and Guimaras were a staple in our itinerary – until this year. My bible study leader grew up in Iloilo and so we trusted her to arrange the plans; we wanted to be surprised. True enough, we were surprised – surprised that she didn’t prepare any itinerary at all! It was really funny that we were searching in YouTube and Google for places to go in Iloilo, while we were already there.
I’m not used to having zero plans but our trip still turned out awesome! In this article you will find the random-est places to visit near Iloilo city.
Location: Santa Isabel St, Jaro, Iloilo City
Casa Mariquit is the ancestral house of former Vice President Fernando H. Lopez Sr. and was named after his wife who was called Mariquit. It was fascinating to explore this two-storey ancient structure as one can somehow travel back in time just by looking at the photos hung on walls.
I was very impressed by how well-maintained it was. The caretaker showed us the 200-year old grandfather clock that was still working which even looked like it was brand new.
The house is full of old-fashioned mementos such as cameras and polaroids, paintings, shoes, leather bags, telephones, keys, chess board and books, to name a few. It’s within the city proper, worth a visit if you are into the Philippine history.
Garin Farm Pilgrimage Resort
Location: Purok 2, San Joaquin, Iloilo (around an hour away from the city)
Garin Farm is famous for its pilgrimage that will take you from the Garden of Eden to Heaven. I found the idea quite unique because I’ve never seen anything like it here in the Philippines. To get to “Heaven”, one has to walk from the entrance to the “Garden of Eden”. Tip: Be prepared to smell manure and all sorts of foul smell as the pathway is in the middle of the farm.
A 480-step stairway must be endured to arrive at Heaven. But worry not because for only PHP 150, you can get away with this horror of a climb and just ride a golf cart to the top of the hill. I thank God that we chose to do the latter because I would have literally been sent up to heaven if I climbed the stairs!
Caution: It’s extremely hot in this heaven. After coming out of the dark tunnel, we were blinded and some of us were even crying because our eyes cannot take the brightness of the place. We were not prepared. I even got a fever afterwards. Tip: Channel your inner ninja in taking photos so you won’t have to be under intense heat for a long time!
Other activities in Garin Farm: ATV, kayak, horseback riding, etc.
Damires Hills Resort
Location: Brgy. Damires, Janiuay, Iloilo (around 45 minutes away from the city)
Damires Hills Resort was perfect for a much needed rest for our tired bodies (we came from Bacolod the day before). We rented a cottage, rode the ATV and swam in their pool.
What’s cool about this place is that the activities are not so expensive. We only paid PHP 210 to ride the ATV. Other activities include Zip-line Sitting and Zip-line Superman. You can check out their rates on their Facebook page.
Shout out to my officemate’s family, the Sistoso family, for their unparalleled hospitality and for making this trip possible!