Dinagyang 2018: 50 years!

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.


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.



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

Friday Night: Dinner and overnight stay at New Beach head

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

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.


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…





Getting Korean Visa

Yes right. Let me join the bandwagon, too!

Before you reached my page, you must have read other popular blogs already. Well, hope you wouldn’t mind reading mine, too. Let me start this with some of my background information. Who knows! Maybe we are in the same situation.

  •  Filipino, living in the beautiful Island of Panay, Philippines!
  • Currently employed (regular employment)
  • BPI (Savings Account)
  • Zero (nada!) experience traveling abroad.
  • Planned for April travel, started being determined about saving money for Visa Application since September (little by little… I had to take the first step!)
  • Applied Visa through agency (I didn’t take package tour.) I made my own itinerary considering the location, travel time, budget and convenience.

Based on the information above , please read through the VISA requirements as provided by the Korean Embassy website:

For this blog, I will focus on those who are employed.


1. Application Form.

Kindly refer to this post to see how I completed my Visa application. It basically focuses on the confusing points.

2. 1 piece of Passport size colored picture (Please attach on the application form)

Yes. We glued it on our application form.

3. Original Passport (should be valid for more than 6 months)

They have to keep your passport. So, make sure you have no conflict like international travels while your passport is with the embassy. My cousin personally processed her Visa and it took her 5 days. In our case, since my colleagues and I live in the province outside Manila, we waited for 3 weeks to a month. This is because we coursed it through an agency. Instead of paying for the plane fare and accommodation in Manila while waiting, we decided to use an agency. It costs less as we only paid around 1300 to 1500 all in all (Sorry, I can’t remember the exact amount anymore).

4. Photocopy of Passport Bio-page (page 2)

5. Original & Photocopy of valid visa/s and arrival stamps to OECD member countries for the past 5 years (If applicable only)

6. Original Certificate of Employment  (must include applicant’s position, date hired, compensation, office address, HR landline number(cell-phone number is not allowed), HR e-mail address)

Just follow what is being asked. However, double check the signature of your HR and whether their phone number is also written in the COE. In our case, the agency was very strict, they questioned the signature of the HR. They said, the Visa officer would sometimes question the authenticity of the signature by reason of the stroke of the pen.
By the way, our HR landline was just inserted through typewriter (beat that!) because it wasn’t included in the COE. It’s very analog, I know. It’s just that it’s difficult and risky to insert using a computer printer. We only had 1 copy and it would be hard to request for another document because we had to ask it from the national office.

7. Original Personal Bank Certificate   (must include account type, current balance, account opening date, ADB)

Please note that Bank Certificate is different from Bank statement. Banks surely know what to do but just give them this information still.

For LANDBANK users, they don’t issue ADB as per bank policy. I think the embassy already knows that. My friend just submitted the document issued by Landbank of the Philippines. She got approved!

8. Bank Statement (original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months)

How much do we need in our bank statement? Well, it depends on how much you are willing to spend. That is why if you worry about how much is necessary, have a rough plan of your itinerary at least. I have a discussion about it in my other post. By the way, my banker friend told me that it’s better to request for the bank statement few days before your application date. This gives the Visa officer an idea that there is still money in your bank account.

9. ITR(Income Tax Return) or Form 2316 Copy

I am a government employee receiving meager salary. I don’t really think it mattered a lot because I got my Visa but still it is a necessary requirement.

10. Copy of PRC Card or IBP Card (If applicable only)

* If personally invited by Korean
. Invitation Letter
. Photocopy of invitor’s Passport or Identification Card
(authentication not required)

* If invited by Company in Korea
. Invitation Letter
. Photocopy of Korean Company Business Permit
(authentication not required)

* Frequent travellers who have travelled as tourist to OECD member countries within 5 years are exempted from submitting ITR.

Please bring your Birth Certificate issued by the National Statistics Office.

Do not submit your flight tickets.

■ Processing Time:
3 working days (for those who have been to OECD member countries within 5 years as tourist)
5 working days (for those who have not been to OECD member countries within 5 years)

■ Visa Fee: 59 days (or less) stay in Korea — GRATIS
60 to 90 days stay in Korea — PHP1,800.00