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Escape to Iloilo (Part 1)

My fiance PM and I have been looking forward to our Iloilo trip, the flights of which we booked last January during the Travel Expo. We scheduled this trip to celebrate our second anniversary of being together. Last year, we stayed at Sea Residences in Pasay and spent the night there. We swam at the pool and watched TV while eating hotdog sandwiches. This year, it's time to celebrate out of town.

PM and I love swimming. We love pools and beaches. We bought two pairs of goggles for snorkeling. I even bought a hat last Friday, the night before our flight, to protect my face from the hot sun (and I knew wearing a hat would make for great photos hehehehe).

PM and I on our boat ride to Isla De Gigantes

I slept throughout our early morning flight to Iloilo. Our first stop was Isla De Gigantes in the district of Carles, located on the northern part of Iloilo. Carles was a long trip from Iloilo City. From the airport, we took a Grab taxi to Tagbac terminal, where to rode a van for almost three hours to Bangkal Port. nd from the Bangkal Port, we took a one-hour boat ride to Isla De Gigantes.

We arrived at Rosewood Beach Resort at Isla De Gigantes at lunchtime. PM and I were both tired and famished at this point. We ordered half a kilo of pork for sinigang and half a kilo of squid and had it grilled, plus a platter of rice. Of course, we finished everything.

After resting for a couple of hours, we proceeded to our tour around the island. We visited an old lighthouse, which was built during the Spanish-Colonial Period, and the Bakwitan Cave. The Bakwitan Cave is called such because it serves as an evacuation area during calamities (bakwit from the word "evacuate"). Our tour guide told us that during the onslaught of Typhoon Haiyan, 60 families were able to seek shelter at the cave.

Inside the cave were different rock formations and stalagmites and stalactites. Some of its walls are shimmering because of crystals. When we were there, the ground was slippery, so we had to be careful.

Then, we went to the lighthouse where we had a panoramic view of the sea and a few islands. I really love the sea. It calms me. It brings me peace. It is my happy place. I don't know how to swim, but I feel at home whenever I am in the sea (or just looking at it).

The original structure of the lighthouse was made of corals. But then, the lighthouse was eventually reconstructed using steel. However, the remnants of the old one is still there. These remnants give the place character, as if you're being taken back in time. Not to mention they make for great backdrops for mini-photoshoots (aka pictorial sessions using a camera phone).

When we went back to the resort, PM and I swam in the calm waters. It was around 4pm, and the sea was still. There were no waves crashing the shore--only clear, shallow waters that was a bit creepy at first. But I learned to embrace the silence, and I savored that calm moment when PM and almost had the beach to ourselves.

This was our first day in Iloilo. It was refreshing to get out of Manila and give ourselves a break from work and from the busy city. Iloilo would be our home for the next four days, and I'll tell you more about our adventure on my next post.

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