Are you ready for one B.I.G adventure?
And by BIG, I mean Bacolod, Iloilo and Guimaras. These Visayas provinces are less than one hour away from each other via roro that make it famous for travelers who wants to tick off three provinces in one go. I’ve always been in love with the Visayas island, its beaches, and people that I instantly booked it when I saw a sale on CebPac.
Bacolod, Iloilo, and Guimaras are part of Region VI or Western Visayas. The same region of the famous Boracay Island. They are relatively near each other that a boat ride from Iloilo to Guimaras only takes 15 minutes and 1.5 hours to Bacolod. Travel doesn’t take too much time making it famous for the travelers who only have limited days.
But despite the close proximity of these provinces, they have different impressions and people that are interesting to see and explore. I once asked our tricycle driver in Bacolod, how could they able to distinguish themselves. He answered me with, “We just know”. In my 4 days stay, I was able to explore a little of the uniqueness of each province which I hope you’ll do too. 🙂
There are two airports- Iloilo International Airport and Bacolod-Silay Airport – where you can enter and exit. You can choose to only enter and exit into one airport but it is advisable to book your arrival and departure flights at different airports to save time and money on taking the roro again back.
Here’s a tip: If you’re arriving at a weekend, it is better to arrive at Bacolod first because they have better weekend nightlife but if you’re arriving at a weekday, set Iloilo as your entry point so you’ll be able to enjoy church hopping without too much crowd.
We got our airfare from Cebu Pacific Airlines for only P2,200 roundtrip. We enter at Iloilo on a Sunday and exit at Bacolod on Wednesday.
ITINERARY (with budget)
01:30 PM – Arrival at Iloilo International Airport
Travel time from Manila to Iloilo is around 1.5 hours. Iloilo International Airpot is small and simple. The airport is 30 minutes drive away from the city.
Tip: Get the earliest flight to maximize your Iloilo City tour.
1:45 PM – Shuttle Van to SM City Iloilo (50 PHP)
Just outside the airport, there are shuttle vans with SM City Iloilo placards that you can ride to reach the city. There are also taxis around but that will cost you hundreds of pesos since the airport is almost 18 km away from the city. From SM Iloilo, we hired a taxi to our inn (3km away) that costs us 100 PHP (20 PHP/pax).
2:30 PM – Urban Inn Check-In (780 PHP / 2 nights)
We got a room for 4 plus extra bed for 3900 PHP for 2 nights from Travelbook.PH. The room is dorm-type, clean and has a private bathroom. It is just beside La Paz Market and it is along the main street. Recommended!
3:00 PM – Late Lunch at Netong’s in La Paz Market (100 PHP)
First things first, we got to try the original La Paz Batchoy. THIS. MUST. NOT. BE. MISSED.
4:00 PM – Church hopping (Jaro Cathedral & Molo Church)
Since it’s already late, we can only visit this two famous beautiful churches in the city. We took 2 cab rides (P50) since they are in two different places.
P.S Miagao and San Joaquin Church are almost 2 hours away from the city so we decided to skip those. But if you got the earliest flight, there will be time for you to see these beautiful churches.
5:00 PM – Molo Mansion
Just across Molo Church is the Molo Mansion. It is an old renovated mansion that is a souvenir shop now. There’s an Iloilo sign and cafe on the side too. There’s nothing much to do here except to take photos.
5:30 PM – Iloilo Esplanade
From Molo Mansion, we decided to walk to Esplanade since it’s already dusk and to explore the city by foot. Along Iloilo River is a clean boardwalk where locals jog, walk or bond with friends and family. It is basically like a park along the river. There are water activities (like boating), kid’s attraction rides and restaurants along it.
Warning: It is a long walk.
7:30 PM – Dinner at Punot (250 PHP)
There’s not much nightlife on the Boardwalk on a Sunday night so we just decided to rest after.
DAY 1 EXPENSES: 1270 PHP
Shuttle Van to SM Iloilo from airport – 50 PHP
Taxi to Urban Inn from SM – 100 PHP / 5 pax = 20PHP
Urban Inn 2 nights – 780 PHP
Netongs – 100 PHP
Taxi on church hopping – 50 PHP
Dinner – 250
Tricycle to Urban Inn – 20 PHP
We traveled all the way north for Gigantes Island, we availed the joiners day tour of Gigantes Island Tour and Services for 999 PHP per person inclusive of boat transfers, lunch, tour guide and island fees.
4:00 AM – Shuttle van to Carles (250PHP)
Gigantes Island Tour is connected to some shuttle vans that can pick you up at your hotel for the same price of the vans in Tagbak terminal. We bought our breakfast (90 PHP) in 7/11 and endure the 5 hours journey.
9:30 AM – Arrival at Bancal Port, Carles
We waited for our day tour boat transfer and other joiners at Gigantes Island Tour waiting area. We were supposed to start the island hopping at 9:30 AM as plan on the itinerary but we already rode the boat at 10:20 AM.
12:00 NN – Cabugao Gamay Island
Boat ride to our first and yet the famous in the Gigantes Group of Island took more than one hour. Since this is a joiners tour, we are only given 45 minutes to enjoy the island.
1:00 PM – Bantigue Sandbar
The sandbar is not that long when we got there but there’s a gorgeous backdrop of two islands at the end of the sandbar.
1:30 PM – Antonina Island
The third island is gorgeous with clear waters and white beach. Some tour groups took their lunch here and I’m envious. We swam for 10 minutes to lessen the summer heat. I also spotted some glamping tents here so I guess you can stay for overnight.
2:00 PM – Late lunch at Norte Gigante Island
With Gigantes Island Tours, they have an inclusion of unlimited rice and scallops for lunch. THE BEST. But the island where they served lunch is not as good as the other islands.
3:00 PM – Tangke Lagoon
Also photogenic, it is very much like the secret lagoon in El Nido.
4:30 PM – Shower at Bancal Port
There are already no shuttle services in Bancal Port. One good thing about our joiners tour is that they have already reserved a van (200 PHP to Tagbak Terminal) for all their day tour customers who are going back to the city.
10 PM – Back to IloIlo City
From Tagbak Terminal, we rode a jeepney to SM Iloilo City. We bought some pasalubongs in the Original Biscocho House (400 PHP) and ate dinner (100 PHP).
DAY 2 EXPENSES: 2048 PHP
Gigantes Tour Island Day Tour Rate – 999 PHP
Breakfast + water – 90 PHP
Shuttle Van to Carles Port – 250 PHP
Shuttle Van back to the city – 200 PHP
Jeepney ride to SM Iloilo – 9 PHP
Pasalubongs- 400 PHP
Dinner – 100 PHP
7:30 AM – Breakfast at Madge Cafe (150PHP)
Also in La Paz Market is Madge Cafe. I’m not a coffee person but Madge Cafe is famous for her good coffee.
8:15 AM – Iloilo Domestic Port
Since I can’t find a site where I can book a roro ticket to Bacolod (280 PHP), we decided to buy first our tickets for the 3:45 PM boat ride. Better be sure than sorry.
8:35 AM – Ortiz Wharf
From the domestic port, we rode another taxi (15 PHP) to Ortiz Wharf where you’ll ride a motorized banca (14 PHP) to Guimaras for only 15 minutes.
9:00 AM – Jordan Wharf
As you landed in Guimaras, there are tricycle drivers who you can rent for a day tour. They are friendly and have a fixed rate of 1200 PHP to 1500 PHP depending on the places you want to see. Other rates are: multicab – P2000, jeepney – P2500, van – P3500.
9:15 AM – Smallest Plaza
First stop is the smallest plaza who once has earned the title of the smallest plaza in the Guinness Book World of Record.
10:00 AM – Guimaras Windmills
10:45 AM – Guimaras Capitol
11:00 AM – Mango Plantation
11:15 AM – Trappist Monastery
Just beside Trappist Monastery is a gift shop where you can buy palubongs which are mostly made of mangoes. (400 PHP)
11:40 AM – Lunch at Pit Stop (120 PHP)
Since it is recommended to all tourist to try the mango pizza of Pit Stop, we planned to have our lunch there. This will also be our final stop since we can’t afford to visit the Guisi Lighthouse which is still 1 hour away from Jordan and we have a boat ride to Bacolod by 3:45 PM.
1:45 PM – Go back to Urban Inn for our bags
We checked out already early morning but left our backpacks in the reception as we have our daytour in Guimaras.
3:45 PM – Roro to Bacolod
We paid 30 PHP terminal fee and waited for our roro in the big and clean waiting area of the port. The boat ride is fine and the waves are not that big that we were able to catch up with sleep.
5:30 PM – Touchdown Bacolod
6:00 PM – White Hotel Bacolod Check-in (400 PHP)
Just near SM Bacolod and the port, we checked-in to White Hotel Bacolod for 2,000 PHP for 5 people overnight. The room is big for 5 people, has its own bathroom, and good and clean bed.
7:00 PM – The Ruins (100 PHP)
Unlike in Iloilo, taxis in Bacolod don’t like to take 5 people and are a little as choosy as Manila taxis. We settled for a big tricycle to bring us to The Ruins for 600 PHP roundtrip. I still think its expensive for an 8km trip. We arrived at The Ruins after 30 minutes and paid the 100 PHP entrance fee.
P.S. Never miss the free tour.
8:45 PM – Aida’s Chicken Inasal (150 PHP)
I only have word – OVERHYPED.
DAY 3 EXPENSES: 2,188 PHP
Breakfast – 150 PHP
Taxi to domestic port – 80 PHP / 4 pax = 20 PHP
Roro ticket to Bacolod – 280 PHP
Taxi to Ortiz Wharf – 15 PHP
Guimaras roundtrip banca fare – 28 PHP
Guimaras day tour – 1200 PHP / 4 pax = 300 PHP
Guimaras pasalubong – 400 PHP
Lunch at Pitstop – 120 PHP
Taxi to Urban Inn and domestic port after – 40 PHP
Port Terminal Fee – 30 PHP
Taxi to White Hotel – 100 PHP / 5 pax = 20 PHP
White Hotel Overnight – 400 PHP
Trike to The Ruins (RT) – 600 / 5 pax = 120 PHP
The Ruins entrance fee – 100 PHP
Aida’s Chicken – 150 PHP
Trike back to White Hotel – 15 PHP
** Read my detailed Not-So-Luxurious Day Tour to Lakawon Island Resort and Spa
8:30 AM – White Hotel Bacolod Check Out
8:45 AM – Breakfast at Jollibee (70 PHP)
9:30 AM – Ceres North Terminal (105 PHP)
The terminal is big so be careful on what bus to ride. Look for a bus going to Cadiz City. Tell the conductor to drop you off at Martesan Crossing where you’ll take a tricycle (120 PHP) to the Lakawon port.
11:00 AM – Lakawon Port
You’ll have to fill up an online application regarding your stay in Lakawon Island. You also have to pay there if you don’t have any online reservation. We only avail the day tour which is 310 PHP and another 250 PHP for their TawHai Floating Bar entrance. The island is in no cash basis so you’ll be given a cash card which you can load for food, activities, and umbrella huts.
1:00 PM – Lakawon Island
The island is gorgeous. We settle our bags first on our umbrella hut (600 PHP), ate lunch at their open Sunset Bar and took photos after.
3:00 PM – TawHai Floating Bar
TawHai Floating Bar is the famous attraction of Lakawon Island. There are inflatables aboard where you can play and jump at your own risk. But if you are more of a laid back there are beach beads around where you can drink your margarita and enjoy the view of the sea.
4:30 PM – Boat ride back to Lakawon Port
There’s a schedule on the boat ride (1 hour interval) so take note of that in case you are catching a flight like us. In the Lakawon Port, there are shuttle vans (based on the availability of passengers) that can bring you back to Bacolod city or Bacolod airport.
7:00 PM – Flight Back to Manila
DAY 4 EXPENSES: 1449
Breakfast at Jollibee – 70 PHP
Taxi to Ceres Terminal – 100 PHP / 5 pax = 20 PHP
Ceres Bus – 105 PHP
Trike to Lakawon Port – 120 PHP / 5 pax = 24 PHP
Lakawon Day Tour + TawHai – 560 PHP
Umbrella Hut – 600 PHP / 5 pax = 120 PHP
Lunch + Drinks = 350 PHP
Shuttle van to airport – 200 PHP
Airfare (via CebPac) – 2000 PHP
Day 1 (Iloilo City Tour) – 1270 PHP
Day 2 (Gigantes Island Tour) – 2048 PHP
Day 3 (Guimaras & Bacolod Tour) – 2188 PHP
Day 4 ( Lakawon Island Tour) – 1449 PHP
TOTAL = 8995 PHP
Our trip is fast paced and there are a lot of places that we’ve missed to see and experience. I wished I booked 6 days to explore this 3 provinces allotting 2 days to each. If you’re planning to have your B.I.G adventure soon, we can talk in the comment section. 🙂