|Iloilo International Airport|
|My airport taxi worth P500.|
Your imagination summons you to the revelry of a Pinoy fiesta; its otherworldly demeanour. Hmmm I am having mixed signals already. Iloilo International Airport, located northwest from the city center, is a dwarfed version of NAIA Terminal 3. This is even more evident as you step out of the departure area.
|Dinagyang Festival costume on display at the airport arrival hallway.|
I ignored all other touts and proceeded to the friendliest looking fixed-rate booth (there are half a dozen waiting outside the arrival area). What is P500 ($12.30) for a worry-free ride straight to your hotel at the city center (or any point within the center)? The ride stretches along 19 kilometers (12 miles) of well maintained roads, finally turning to Eugenio Lopez Street where the famous Jaro Church rises.
It’s a 35 minute ride punctuated by some of the city’s must-see sights. My driver, who’s a little confused if there indeed is a difference between Hiligaynon and Ilonggo as a language, annotated, pointing to historical sites, hospitals, universities, a House of Biscocho and colonial structures. I inquired about the sugarcane landlords and he pointed to the ABS-CBN and Sky Cable Compound. “The pink house is owned by a gay Lopez scion,” he cited with amusement. True enough, a high wall adorns a pink structure, partially framed by tall shrubbery. I of course took this with a grain of salt. After all, pink is a common modern-day hue and doesn’t generally signify sexual preference. But there’s more to this story later.
My Agoda check-in was brisk, I was readily whisked off to my room at the 7th floor, a personal preference (they have 2 elevators). Room 7016 was located at the end of the hallway. I could hear the gush of the wind rushing away from Iloilo River some 50 meters east of the hotel. Good sized and tidy, the place is well maintained and spotless; the sheets smelled fragrant; the bathroom dry. A flat screen TV automatically came to life. My window faced Yulo Street, but I was on high ground that the bustle below was barely audible.
It was 3:30 in mid-afternoon. I knew there was a local movie being shown at the nearby Iloilo Cinematheque, just at the next block so I rushed to catch the Ilocano flick. What impressed me more were the two cinema halls. This cultural facility is being managed by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP). The seats were comfortable; the viewing room cosy. Each movie would cost a measly P30 to P50 per screening.
|Iloilo Cinematheque along Solis Street|
|The hustle and bustle of Iznart Street going south towards Calle Real.|
|La Sallete Shopping Arcade: has Deco's, Ted's, Mang Inasal, etc. This is located across SM Delgado.|
|Mary Mart Center|
|Fruits of the season: the most popular is the lansones priced at P50-60/kilo.|
|Robinson's Place Iloilo is a couple of blocks west of SM Delgado.|
|Amigo Plaza Mall has a single shop as of this writing - the clothing line Bench The security guard said that most of the shops have transferred to Mary Mart Center since the renovation. Now, it's swanky, but empty.|
|Iznart going towards a fork of the road punctuated by the Iloilo Jaycee's Monument (below) at the rotund.|
|S. Villanueva Buildings along JM Basa Street corner Arsenal Street are part of the Heritage site,. From Aldeguer Street, Calle Real officially starts. We'll post better daylight photos.|
|BDO ATM machines near Iloilo Midtown Hotel along Iznart. This seems reliable because it's almost always on-line.|