Iloilo in a Jiffy
Iloilo City, the last leg of my Visayas Cycle Tour Series. Less than 24 hours in and out, a definite whirlwind trip.
After the previous night’s activities I didn’t want to leave Bacolod just yet, but I have to catch the first flight out from Iloilo to Davao City the next day so I really had no choice. After some delays (an aunt arriving for a visit, and a quick lunch) they dropped me off at the wharf, where it turns out that I just missed the boat by 15 minutes and I had no choice to wait another 3 hours for the next one.
I have been in touch with fellow folding bike enthusiasts in Iloilo, the Iloilo Folding Bike Riders or iFOLD; who will accompany me in touring Iloilo City by night, and one of them graciously offered to house me for the night to save on expenses. After coordinating with Sir Jai I rested at the waiting lounge and charged my phone, I knew I had to have it fully charged since I will be using it to navigate my way around the city. I have been to Iloilo many times but this will be the first time on my own, and going around will be a bit tricky.
After an hour’s travel over sea, I arrived at Iloilo City at around 4pm. I waited for the rest of the passengers to disembark so I will not have any difficulty getting out of the boat as I had a box, 2 bags and a bike to unload. After loading the bags and box to the bike, I set my destination on GoogleMaps, plugged in my headphones and headed out to SM City. I had time to freshen up, cool down and have a snack while waiting, and when Sir Jai arrived after work to pick me up, we headed straight for his home to unload my gear, have a break and chat with him and his wife.
I guess at this point I have to tell you that I barely have pictures to post, my iPhone’s camera broke the previous day and that makes me one grumpy cyclist. At the appointed hour, we suited up and cycled out to the Jaro Belfry, where we met up with the rest of the iFOLD group who were available to accompany us that night. There were about 8 of us, and we headed out to see Iloilo by night.
We headed out for a tour of the plazas, and seeing the city at night brings really brings a different sense of reality. We pass by Jaro Plaza, Molo Plaza and a couple more that I forget the names of. We talk, getting to know each other, knowing the history of the city, what the cyclists’s goals are. It’s shaping up to be a cyclist’s night riding paradise; little traffic, places to see, to hang out at and take pictures of, and a lot of delicious eats! After some time we proceeded to Calle Real, a center of historical significance, with restoration works ongoing to restore and preserve old buildings. We had delicious batchoy for dinner, then headed out to see the Esplanade, the center of the city’s night life.
I even managed to bump into a friend who I was supposed to meet during the day but didn’t get a chance to, chatted a while and went our separate ways.
With the Tour done we headed back home, they have jobs in the morning while I have a plane to catch. At around  I bunked at Sir Jai’s guest room for the night, mindful that I still have to wake up in 4 hours to go to the airport. I woke up a couple of minutes before my alarm sounded, made up the bed and took a bath. After a cup of coffee I double checked my things and made sure they’re all inside the bags and firmly strapped to my bike.
As usual, i entered my destination on GoogleMaps and set it to voice navigation mode, said my goodbyes and thank you’s to Sir Jai and Ma’am Jeabai for accomodating me, and cycled out around  for 16-kilometers heading to the airport. After some minor glitches at the airport (ripped pasalubong bag and sorting out excess baggage fees), I finally settled in at the pre-departure lounge where in less than 15-minutes I boarded my flight back home to Davao City. Good bye Iloilo, ’til we meet again!
To sum up the whole, albeit shortened, VisiTour Ride: a lot of places to see and a lot of food to eat, so little time! Aaah!
A friend of mine said there’s not much to see, just an old city with not much to offer; but I beg to differ. There is a lot to see and appreciate, if you knew how to look and what to look for. I guess it’s just not his cup of tea. Different folks different strokes, after all. A modern city, with old world charm. Well preserved buildings, churches, museums. Architecture, history. It’s all there.
I will be back, Iloilo City. I WILL BE BACK!
See you on my next adventure!