Text and photos by: Bombette G. Marin
The province of Iloilo is home to several exciting attractions. Unspoiled, quiet and a great break from the city, the province offers a diverse and unique adventure for all. It has a rich and unique; sundry and dramatic landscape.
It is bounded by a long coastline from north to south portion. It has chains of tall mountains with unique rock formations, hidden lakes and magnificent rice terraces descending in a series of abrupt steps.
It also has a significant forest with stunning cascades lying along patches of protected areas with good quality of caves in wilderness of high levels of protection within our extensive and diverse reserve system.
The beauty of Iloilo is that there is no shortage of adventure. Though some are already well-known to local tourists, many are still waiting for their discovery. Go and experience Iloilo, its hospitable warm people, and lovely land and seascapes. Because those are the memories you would want to keep.
Hiking in Iloilo is an ideal combination of sightseeing, physical challenges and a genuine nature experience.
There are plenty of scenic walks to choose from in every district. Opportunities for challenging hikes and pleasant strolls are scattered all over the province with trails varying from low impact walks or gentle hikes such as in the hinterlands of Miagao and Leon to iconic treks or challenging hikes in Igbaras, Tubungan, Alimodian and Concepcion.
There are alternate hiking routes and things to do. On many trails you have the option to challenge yourself with great walking opportunities, whether you want to do walks that can be done in a day or longer walks where you stay overnight in a local community. Meet local guides that will make your journey memorable.
Personalize your caving experience in Bulabog Puti-an National Park in Dingle and San Enrique, a perfect way to spend a day with your friends, family, co-workers, or any group in search of fun-filled adventure.
Bulabog is the only National Park in the whole of Panay and measures 847.33 hectares. There are 33 known caves inside the park but only six are allowed for visitors to explore.
With a number of other locations to enjoy across Iloilo, caves, especially in Passi City, Igbaras, Janiuay, Leon, Maasin and Gigantes Island in Carles are in no short supply; the adventure of spelunking is a great pursuit.
Visitors can head deep underground and feel the rush of adventure as vast underground networks of caves unfold in the beam of their headlamps.
Most first-time visitors to Iloilo do not make it far but wandering around the southern scenic coastline barangays leads to a ribbon of Marine Protected Areas from Guimbal to San Joaquin that support a number of beach resorts. These Marine Protected Areas form networks of remarkable dive sites. San Joaquin’s Marine Protected Areas form networks of remarkable places along its coasts that protect its municipal’s incredible variety of marine life and help sustain its communities.
Another favourite diving stop is the beautiful and exotic Hibotkan Rock Sanctuary in Banate in northern Iloilo. The sanctuary forms part of the Marine Protected Areas found in the towns of Anilao and Barotac Nuevo and Viejo. Teeming with life, the sanctuary has 16 families of corals with 34 species being observed.
Know more things to do in Iloilo for the 13th Tumandok on September 21-24 at the fountain area of Robinsons Iloilo main mall. The event is annually organized by the Provincial Culture, Arts, History and Tourism Office, DOT-VI and Robinsons Place Iloilo with the Iloilo Tourism Officers Association, Inc. (ITOA), ISAT-University and The Daily Guardian.
A woman farmer, an inspiring winner
By: Ancel Marie B. Mondia
AT A YOUNG AGE, Lea Padoginog Deala, a winner in the Department of Agriculture’s Search for Outstanding Rural Women 2016, did not exactly know what she wanted to become except to hurdle poverty and finish school.
But she believes that God guided her to become a farmer.
Before her success, she faced hardships during her childhood.
“Life in Mindanao was sad and scary due to the conflicts arising from the Muslims and Christians. Ambush and skirmishes were everywhere. Sometimes you just wake up to the news that a person you know is already dead. Each house had its own hidden fox hole where when feuds start to arise, we hid in there. Else we had to hide in muddy lakes or in the woods at the middle of the night,” she says.
With God’s grace, she finished grade school and was sent home to Barangay Tinocuan, Dingle, Iloilo.
Since her parents could not afford to send her to high school due to poverty, her grandparents (her mother’s parents) and aunts funded and supported her studies.
“This was also the time when Martial Law was declared. Due to the stress arising from wars my younger sister got sick. Due to these hardships, I strived hard to be better,” she says.
Armed with faith in God and determination to finish school, she worked hard at a young age.
She sold jewelry and kitchenware, among others, to help her younger sister and her benefactors.
“I thought I couldn’t pursue my college after high school because of our status in life. Nevertheless, through God, my aunt and grandmother, who wanted me to go to college, I was able to take a one-year vocational course,” she says.
She took a clerical course in Cabalum Commercial School and transferred to Western Institute of Technology to take up Bachelor of Science in Commerce as a working and night class student.
“My ambition to finish college pushed me to study hard by hook or by crook,” she says.
Deala continued to undergo difficulties in her work life not until she found her calling.
“My husband and I decided to invest in a farm after retirement. We didn’t want to burden our children and only wanted to secure our retirement years as well as the future of our children,” she says.
“By attending seminars sponsored by the government and agencies, it isn’t enough that a farm will be just an investment vehicle but also as a source of healthy living. Since then I have been an advocate of going local and supporting organic and no-pesticides farming as well,” she adds.
As a mother, one of Deala’s achievements was when her eldest child finished her college and postgraduate degrees.
“She now has a job and family of her own. Next year my two children will be also graduating. Seeing that my children have the best education and do not have to struggle like what I experienced makes me feel tremendously happy,” she says.
“Personally, my greatest achievement was when I joined and won the Department of Agriculture Search for Outstanding Rural Women 2016 last October 24, 2016. I won the regional level and eventually won fourth runner-up in the national level last December 8, 2016,” she adds.
She is now enjoying her life in Deala’s Integrated/Diversified Farm in Sitio Tacas, Barangay Tinocuan, Dingle, Iloilo. She also shares her ideas in farming and provides livelihood to her neighbors.
As a mother, a wife, a sister, a friend, a leader, and an empowered woman, Lea Padoginog Deala and her story serves a simple but meaningful inspiration to everyone.