Dinagyang 2018: 50 years!

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Dinagyang Warriors (c) Banggi Cua

Hala Bira Iloilo! Dagyang Kita!

The first quarter of the year, the months of January and February especially, are the busiest months in my city. We got lots of festivities installed for local and foreign tourists. In January, we start our year with Dinagyang festival, and it is followed by Paraw Regatta, one of the oldest sailing competition in the Philippines, in February. For this post, let me talk about the best festival in the Philippines. Yes, you heard it right! I’m sorry if I may be offending others readers for this but I am just one proud Ilonggo here. ^^

Dinagyang is a major festival in Iloilo and perhaps in the whole Philippines. In fact, it is a Hall of Famer in Aliwan festival which is a competition of all festivals in the Philippines. This world class festival is often sent abroad to represent the Philippines and invite more tourists. It  is usually celebrated in honor of Senior Sto. Nino.

This year marks the 50th year of the Dinagyang Festival. The main activities are set from January 26~28, 2018.

To know more about the Dinagyang history, I will link you to the Dinagyang Festival Official website.

 

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Got this photo when I had a chance to have a seat on the stage in one of the judging areas.

 

Days and even months before this festival, we could hear drum beats even up to midnight in Plazas and schools. We can see how much love and effort are put into the preparation of this festival not only by the organizers but also by the tribe participants.

Dinagyang is also known to be the time for family reunions as a lot of people from abroad go home to join the celebration. There are parties everywhere, and road closure too! hehe ’tis the season of walking for those who want to witness the competition up-close. Nevertheless, there is no tiring walk for a bunch of friends who never seem to run out of chitchat topics.

Those who are interested to join the fun, below is the schedule of activities which I got from Dinagyang FB.

 

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My Summer Story: Ilocandia Tour

Package Tour

My Ilocos tour was basically crafted with the dream of going north. I’ve always dreamt of exploring Ilocos for two reasons: 1. the challenge of going up north for an enduring 9-hour ride (I know it’s crazy.) 2. the rich history and beautiful nature of Ilocos.

This is not a recent trip. Actually, it was way back in May 2014 when my high school friends and I (four of us) decided to take a package tour to Ilocos. I just want to take it out from my memory box and share my experience to everyone here.

As I’ve said, this is a package tour and below are the inclusions:

  • 3 days 2 nights hotel accommodation with breakfast
  • Complete Ilocandia tour of Laoag Vigan and Pagudpud,
  • A night tour in Laoag,
  • Van for four,
  • Driver-Guide,
  • Terminal pick up and Drop off

Hotel Accommodation: UKL Ever Hotel, Airport Rd, Barangay 46, Laoag City, 2900 Ilocos Norte

Contact (not the driver): Jan-Carlo Caldito  09175954715
I’m not sure if this is still his number. (Not paid to advertise. I just want to share it with others)

Cost: Php13000 (4 pax), Php3250/pax (This data is not updated.)

 

Going to Ilocos

To get to Ilocos, we took the 11:00PM trip on our own expense, Farinas Bus (First class, aircon bus with CR). At that time it cost around Php700 (checking from their website, the fare is still the same). It was really a long drive and we took the wrong seat in the bus. (NOTE: do not take the last row because you will feel all the movements of the bus.)

Below is the itinerary given to us. We were not able to accomplish everything due to time constraint. Plus, this travel was very overwhelming. Too many destination and activities! LOLI will be highlighting those we were not able to do in red.

 

Day 1 – Vigan-Laoag Tour

Vigan

  • Baluarte ni Singson
  • Burgos Museum
  • Bantay Church and Bell Tower
  • Crisologo Museum
  • Jar Making
  • Syquia Mansion
  • Heritage Village
  • Heritage Village Walking Tour (Pasalubong Souvenir & Snack)
  • St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral

Badoc

  • Juan Luna Shrine

Batac

  • Marcos Mausoleum

Paoay

  • Malacañang Ti Amianan
  • St. Augustine Church
  • Sand Dunes
  • Fort Ilocandia Resort (optional)

Check in Hotel

City Night Tour (7pm)

  • Laoag Sinking Bell Tower
  • Pamulinawen Clock
  • Ilocos Norte Capitol
  • Aurora Park
  • Tabaco Monopoly
  • Museo Vivo Ilocos
  • Tabaclera

 

Day 2 – Laoag Pagudpud Tour

Laoag

  • Museo Diocesano de Laoag

Sarrat

  • Sta. Monica Church
  • Marcos Museum (Birth Place)

Burgos

  • Café Bojeudor Light House
  • Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

Bangui

  • Bangui Wind Mills

Pagudpud

  • Saud Beach
  • Kabigan Falls
  • Patpat Via Duct
  • Agua Grande
  • Paraiso ni Anton
  • Bantay Abot
  • Blue Lagoon (Swimming)

Head Back to Laoag Hotel

 

Day 3

Free day/ City Walking/ Shopping

Check out 12nn

Drop off Bus Terminal

That’s all folks! (^_^)

It is literally a long list for me. To be able to give a better discussion, I will be discussing our tour on separate posts. I hope you could check them out.

 

 

 

Iloilo My Love – Isla Gigantes & Sicogon Island Tour

ISLA GIGANTES is a group of islands found in the north eastern part of the Province of Iloilo. It is part of the Municipality of Carles, Iloilo. However, it can also be accessed through the Estancia Port, as well. Some of the popular islands in the area are: Cabugao Gamay Island, Tangke, Antonia Beach and Bantigue Island.

The place is not as popular as the well developed Islands of Boracay and Panglao but it boasts a beautiful seascape, clear waters, white sand beaches and fresh seafood.

Travel Time: It took us around 3 hours to get to Carles by bus. Then another 30 minutes to one-hour boat-ride to reach the Islands.

Accommodation: New Beach Head Resort, Barosbos, Carles, Iloilo

Itinerary:
Friday Night: Dinner and overnight stay at New Beach head

Saturday:
Island Hopping at Isla Gigantes
– Tangke Lagoon
– Sand Bar
– Isla Antonia (lunch buffet)
– Cabugao Gamay

Sicogon Island

Port of Entry: Bancal Port, Carles, Iloilo
Port of Exit: Estancia Port

Expenses:
Ferry Boat Rent: Php7,000 (Sicogon trip included)
Maximum passenger: 20pax

Lunch buffet c/o Mr. Christopher Salao: Php150/pax

Environmental fee: Php75.00

Entrance fees:
– Tangke: Php20.00
– Cabugao Gamay: Php50.00
– Isla Antonia: Php40.00

Bus Fare:
Iloilo City to Carles : Php206.00
Estancia to Iloilo City: Php160.00

Alternative Route: Iloilo City to Balasan: Php160.00

Balasan to Carles – (No Data. My group was picked up from Balasan)

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On our way to Tangke Langoon. This small boat was too fast flying in between waves.

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At the entrance of the Lagoon

 

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Taken while swimming in the middle of the Lagoon.
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Friends enjoying the water inside the Lagoon. Sorry for some distortions. I used an underwater camera and I was not able to clean the lens before taking this picture
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Approaching Isla Antonia. What a beautiful sight!
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Colors of Nature. Still at Isla Antonia. I’m loving the sky and the very summer-y shot.
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Overlooking the sandbar! Here you could eat scallops at an affordable price!

 

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At Cabugao Gamay. The emerald sea never ceases to amaze a nature lover in me.

 

 

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Stone stacking everywhere. I wonder who started it. They just did another beautiful site.

 

 

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The Ayala Properties reviving the old airstrip. This picture was taken on our way back home. This is one side of Sicogon Island.

Sigocon Island is the place where the classic Filipino movie ” Ang Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa.” was filmed. In the recent year, Ayala Properties purchased this Island to develop resorts. I think they are also developing it to be self-sustainable. When we went there, we learned that there is already an air-conditioned resort which consist of less than 10 cottages. Mind you, they are fully booked! And the rooms I think is very expensive. According to source, it’s about Php6, 000.00 per night. hmmm…