Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Arroyo Fountain, Museo Iloilo & More Gems - Iloilo Day 2

I had an idea what to do on my second day in Iloilo, but it wasn’t etched in stone. After all, some plans are best left to mood or gut feel. An itinerary is a mere guide so you can optimize your time. What do I do when it drizzles on an early morning? This was a city of 500,000 souls yet the bustle seemed moderate.

I refused to eat at some fast food restaurant so I headed to a carinderia (small food joint) along Montinola Street; one that served liver steak at a measly P60. The discrepancy between this makeshift restaurant and the colorful Grand Tower was obvious. Nearby, Iloilo River looked shallow and timid this time of day. Last night, under a moonless sky, it felt menacing and mysterious, but the presence of sunlight easily changes perception, making things a little more mundane than thought. I walked north and found Arroyo Fountain as Iznart found its northern end.

Liver steak for breakfast?
The colorful Grand Tower: Iloilo River to its east and Iznart to its west.

Imperial Appliance Plaza beside the Grand Tower
Sedan-style jeepneys along Iznart

YMCA along Iznart Street (above and below) founded 1928. If budget is tight, youth backpackers may opt to try YMCA. Call +63 (33) 337-5760 / 337-7531 for more information.

I half expected someone resembling a little woman with a neck brace, but the site turned out to be a neoclassic landmark facing the Provincial Capitol (aka Casa Real). Four Grecian women carry what looked like a basin. This structure pays as homage to former Senator Jose Maria Arroyo (born 1875 in Iloilo City and died in Liguria Italy) who laid the foundation of the city’s water works. Aside from its backstory, the fountain serves as road reference for travel and distance measurement, thus its other moniker – Zero Point! The fountain was, however, water-less making it less attractive. I then proceeded west along General Luna Street to Check out Atrium Mall beside a Day’s Hotel.

Along Bonifacio Drive, I passed by Iloilo Medical Clinic which looked like a coterie of puzzle pieces waiting for a major fall; just across were a few other landmarks: the Department of Tourism, Museo Iloilo and, up close, the Provincial Capitol.

Arroyo Fountain

Homage to a former senator? Why Grecian ladies?

Atrium Mall

Provincial Capitol or Casa Real

Waiting Shed donated by Lion's Club perhaps?
Doane Baptist Church

Assemblies of God - Bethel Temple

Museo Iloilo was a big checklist on my itinerary so I was pleased to learn that it was open on a weekend. Unfortunately, like many of its kind, the museum disallows photography, lest you want a P500 fine. I was seriously thinking of handing them P500 straight ahead just as long as they’d allow me to take snaps. But I didn't want the trouble of explaining... so I just contented myself with cursory observation.

Entrance to the museum was cheap: P25 for adults and P15 for students. I went inside the spacious hallway, paid my entrance fee, and signed the logbook. The hall way was divided into two areas. The one closer to the entrance displayed contemporary art works, most of which were haphazardly perched on some canvas. Handicrafts were placed on the floor. The bigger part consisted of statues depicting ethnic tribes from Maragtas, religious artifacts  ancient vases, weavings, antiquated guns and even skeletal remains of people believed to have lived in the 1300’s perhaps? An elderly guide was enthusiastically annotating for three Caucasian tourists. Outside, the drizzle turned into downpour, and I felt a sense of regret for not being able to share these displays to a web-browsing student community. There’s a lot to be learned from our past, and this could provide a glimpse into some of our people’s past – the Bornean chieftains and their subjects, the Ati tribes who went uphill, etc.

Picture-shy Museo Iloilo flanked by the Provincial Capitol and the D.O.T. office where offers maps and free information on travels in the region.

Bas relief adorns Museo Iloilo's facade.

Queen Maniwantiwang meets a European royalty?

Statues are cracking to pieces in front of the museum entrance.

Department of Tourism opens daily on weekdays from 8 AM to 5 PM.

From the museum, Bonifacio Drive crossed the river through Forbes Bridge that eventually led to a Gaisano Mall. Nothing there so I walked back south, passing by old houses and an imposing hotel-like structure all painted in immaculate white.

Iloilo is particularly enamored with white. Many sites are painted in white. Then it suddenly dawned on me, I have to see Miag-ao Church that day. With fixed resolve, I walked faster and looked for someone I could ask about the Mohon Terminal, the take-off point for travels to Miag-ao, from where I can get my ride. Interestingly, the church is listed among the world heritage sites, thus a must-see. If I took all the pains to scour Sri Lanka for her heritage sites, why not in my country. Travel will be a production number, but I was sure it’d be worth it.

Little did I know that the ride to Miag-ao would, in itself, be some journey.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

A government building: home to a justice department or the Ombudsman, I forgot. Notice the white paint, typical of several structures around Iloilo.

Bonifacio Drive becomes Forbes Bridge (which leads to Gaisano City Mall)

Snaking Iloilo River flow eastward and under Muelle Loney Bridge

West of Iloilo River

Jalandoni Bridge? I think this goes to Mandurriao, SM City Iloilo and party place Smallville.

This is a particularly eye-catching building labelled Castle Hotel. I don't think it's a hotel these days because the gates are closed.

Once again, white paint with the subtlest of yellow.

If this isn't Hispano-Filipiniana, I don't know what is. This is located right across Museo Iloilo.


NRIGirl said...

That breakfast sure looks great! I was thinking, "look what people eat for breakfast around the world, here in the United States we would call this dinner."


eye in the sky said...

@ NRIGirl:

This wasn't strictly breakfast, but brunch since I got up late. Haha. But yeah, it'd be great for dinner. :)

Freedom said...

Still love to read your blog :)

eye in the sky said...

@ Freedom:

Thanks, Nat. I'm actually on the road right now. Appreciate the nice word. :)

eye in the sky said...

@ Twin:

I accepted your comment but I dunno where it went. Sometimes this blog gets "weird" but yeah, stay put and you will read about YOUR villa. :)

My Unfinished Life said...

looks like a very uncrowded city!!


eye in the sky said...

@ My Unfinished Life:

Agree. I like it that way too. Haha

Neil said...

Ilonggo is the people - people from Iloilo. Hiligaynon is the language of most people in the lowlands of Iloilo, as opposed to Kinaray-a, the language of most people from the relatively higher grounds.

Ilawod - where the river flows, towards the sea. Kun sa diin naga-ILIG ang suba.
Ilig - flow.
Iligaynon/Hiligaynon - language spoken by people who live where the river flows.

Ilaya - towards the higher grounds.
Inilaya/Iniraya/Kinaray-a - language spoken by people who live in the higher grounds.

Thus Ilonggos speak either Hiligaynon or Kinaray-a, or both. Some people in South Cotabato, North Cotabato and Bukidnon are ethnically Ilonggos, too. They speak a variation of Hiligaynon.

eye in the sky said...


That's the information I needed. Thanks heaps for sharing. The Philippines is rich with diversity and we have a lot to learn from our regions. :)

Neil said...

Those four Grecian ladies used to be half-naked, with bare breasts. Some wisemen probably thought it was a bit "scandalous", so they "dressed" the ladies.

Yes, the Arroyo Fountain is Kilometer Zero for Panay Island, just like the Rizal Monument is for Luzon.

The Castle Hotel is now exclusively leased by the Korean Community in Iloilo. They have their English Language training center and some accomodations there.

Thanks for visiting my hometown. Hope you go back. :)

Neil said...

Those four Grecian ladies used to be half-naked, with bare breasts. Some wisemen probably thought it was a bit "scandalous", so they "dressed" the ladies.

Yes, the Arroyo Fountain is Kilometer Zero for Panay Island, just like the Rizal Monument is for Luzon.

The Castle Hotel is now exclusively leased by the Korean Community in Iloilo. They have their English Language training center and some accomodations there.

Thanks for visiting my hometown. Hope you go back. :)

eye in the sky said...

One of these days, Neil, I will be back. Thanks again for the additional information. More questions answered. :)

MomWith aDot said...

There's something about the landscape / mood of a picture that can hint where it came from, I think. Like, looking at the first pic, I was sure this was someplace in Asia. I LOVE the rich cultural heritage oozing out of each picture! Interesting language too.

eye in the sky said...

I think Asia has a basically colorful yet natural veneer, and it's this intrinsic characteristic that makes it unique from other places. :) Thanks, Mom with a Dot! :)

Trotter said...

Hi Eye! Hope you are having a superb summer! Great trip!! And fabulous pictures!!

Sorry for the absence, but 2013 has been even worse than 2012... Anyhow, enjoy the blues of Grenada, and have a great vacation, if you can manage!!
All the best!

eye in the sky said...

Thanks, Trotter. And welcome back. :)

Lady Lilith BloodCrave said...

Looks like you are having a lot of fun.

eye in the sky said...

@ Lady Lilith:

Thanks. It's always a joy discovering new places. :)