Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tatoy's, Ted's Batchoy, & One Lourdes Dormitel

During our 2D/1N stay in Iloilo, we stayed in One Lourdes Dormitel at the corner of Fuentes & Ledesma streets on the back of East West Bank. Inspite of it being far from the more popular hotels in Gen. Luna St., I can say that it has perfect location for budget travellers like us. 

First, the public utility jeepneys pass in front of it when we went to Ortiz wharf (drop off to Guimaras) , Miag-ao (church tours), Villa (lunch at Tatoys or Breakthrough), and to other Iloilo towns. Second, the Iloilo public market is within walking distance if you need to buy pasalubongs like dried seafoods. Third, the Robinsons Mall is just a block away. Fourth, SM Delgado and the other major establishments in the city are less than 10-minute walk away.

We got a family room for only P950 nett per night with 2 double beds that could comfortably accomodate 4 adults. Usual amenities like towels, soap, and shampoo are included. The closet is quite big for the room's size. 

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Iloilo Church Tour

One thing that attracted me to visit Iloilo is the presence of very old churches which are mostly within an hour's drive from each other. So after doing Guimaras last Saturday, kids and I embarked on a tour of some notable Iloilo churches the following day. We traveled about 70 minutes and 40km southwest by jeepney from our hotel to our farthest church destination. 

We passed the scenic seaside towns of Villa, Arevalo, Oton, Tigbauan, Guimbal, then Miag-ao. If the kids are not with me, I might have traveled up to the last Iloilo town San Joaquin, along the boundary of Antique province.

I decided to start with one of their most famous churches -- the Santo Tomas de Villanueva church or more commonly known as Miag-ao church. It is one of the only 4 baroque churches in the country inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List, built between 1787-1797 by Augustinian friars. 

One of its most interesting feature is its unique and well-preserved facade with deeply-incised relief carvings, giving it a nice three-dimensional view. The bas relief shows St. Christopher as a farmer carrying the child Jesus in reaching for the coconut tree. Papaya, guava trees, banana leaves, and other Philippine flora and fauna are also sculpted on the facade, although they are out of scale to emphasize the Filipino theme of the facade.
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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Iloilo Jeepneys

"Sa lugar lang"...

The Ilonggo phrase above is what we hear when a passenger of an Iloilo public utility jeepney wants to get off on a point somewhere on the jeepney's route. In Tagalog, we say "Para po" which means to stop, and lugar means place in Tagalog, so the Ilonggo phrase above could also be a shortened instruction to stop in that place along the jeepney's route. 

In my parents' native tongue of Pangasinense, lugar means to ride and lugaran is the place or vehicle where a person will get a ride. Somehow, it is quite amusing if you see the same word's related meanings on different Filipino languages.

Anyway, I just like to show some photos of jeepneys in Iloilo. They may have the same engines and transmission like the jeepneys in Luzon, but their bodies are very different from Sarao-inspired jeepneys in Luzon. However, they are similar with some "XLT-design" assembled jeepneys that ply the Nueva Ecija and northern Bulacan routes. 

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Rush of Guimaras

Straight from the Iloilo airport after dropping our luggage to the hotel, we headed to the Ortiz wharf to board the boats that will take us to Guimaras island province. Boat fare is only P13 for adults and P12 for kids. The boat has capacity of 45 passengers, and we were seated at wooden benches below the life jackets that hang on the ceiling.

The boat trip took only 15 minutes to Jordan port, where tourists are asked to register and assisted on their transport needs by the lady in the small tourist counter. Public transport around Guimaras has infrequent trips, while jeep rental of P1000 and multicab rental of P800 are too much for us, so I decided to rent a tricycle for P500 with my 2 kids. 

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Vehicle Registration in LTO

Two days after getting my motor vehicle clearance from Highway Patrol Group, I went to the Land Transportation Office (LTO) Manila East branch in Sampaloc, Manila where they keep the physical records of my second-hand bought vehicle. 

Luckily for me, the LTO's connection on insurance companies are offline nationwide. So there are very few cars for registration when I arrived, only those who were able to secure TPL insurance beforehand like myself, hehe.

In contrast with my bad experience at Highway Patrol Group when I secured my vehicle's clearance, the Manila East LTO personnel performed much better than my expectation. The Window 1 personnel checked and arranged my documents, then assigned somebody to stencil my vehicle's engine and chassis numbers. The LTO stencil guy did not asked nor hinted about money for snack or cigarette, which is common with other LTO branches.
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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Motor Vehicle Clearance from HPG

I personally arranged my ride's registration and transfer of ownership last week. The LTO fixer who handled my previous car's registration and ownership transfer, now has "processing fee" of Php 2,500 without need of bringing the car to HPG for clearance and to LTO for registration. To avoid such under-the-table processing fee, and to support Pres. Noynoy's call to eradicate graft and corruption practices in Philippine government, I decided to handle such tasks even if it entails  more effort and using my vacation leave balance at the office.

Since Highway Patrol Group's (HPG) Muntinlupa office is the nearest to my place, I decided to bring my car there to get the PNP Motor Vehicle Clearance. It is one of the requirements on registering second-hand vehicles before the Land Transportation Office (LTO) revise the owner's details on the car's registration. They are supposed to verify if the car is not stolen or carnapped, before it can be registered to the new owner. HPG is formerly known as Traffic Management Group (TMG).
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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Macau in 24 Hours

After 2 nights in KL, we flew to Macau again using promo airfare of Air Asia. Wife and I have to endure the 3.5 hours of never ending noisy chitchats of mainland Chinese who occupy at least half of the plane. Upon checking out of Macau airport where we can’t find a Macau map,  we rode the Bus #26 to take us to the city for MOP 4.20 fare each.

Unfortunately, we missed the bus stop after A-Ma Temple, where we are supposed to just walk going to Ole London for US$ 55/night. First taxicab we flagged down does not understand English, so it was the second cab near the last bus stop that took us to Ole London hotel for MOP 25 including luggage fee of MOP 4. Still less expensive than getting a taxicab from the airport which will cost us between MOP 70-80.

We arrived at 1:00 pm in the hotel with heavy downpour. Good thing that they allowed us to check-in before we went out for lunch at McDonalds in Senado Square. Inspite of the hotel-provided map and their Filipina staff Marivic giving us walking direction to a laundry shop and Senado Square, we initially got lost until we talked to one shop owner who could speak English.

It is almost useless to ask directions from the locals, since most of them do not understand English language. After lunch at McDonalds, we bought a foldable umbrella, because the hotel-loaned umbrella can’t protect us both from the rains. Since I ran out of clean shirt, we patronized the on-sale items at a Hang Ten shop in the square.
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