Let's Travel and Discover the Secrets of ILOILO

WELCOME to Iloilo, A Province that dances with the rhythm of the past and the promise of the future. HALA BIRA!!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Historic Calle Real In Dinagyang Season

Have you ever imagined historic Calle Real without the hustling vehicles?
Iloilo's Heritage Street appeared like a touristy destination when foreign and local tourists flocked to witness the Dinagyang Street dancing competition. Traffic was closed and the main roads of downtown Iloilo was only opened to those who are willing to beat the heat and stroll around the city's historic corner.
Many of the buildings in Calle Real matched the festive mood of Dinagyang as colorful rays of banderitas showered the street with fun-filled colors. With a single look, a tourist may appreciate the beauty of Colonial architecture where Asian and European architectures are merged in one place. If further restorations will be push through, Calle Real may become one of Asia's Historic Business Centers just like the San Ma Lo in Macau.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Dinagyang Festival: A Celebration of Life

January is considered as the Philippines' Festival Season. Three notable festivals from three cities showcase the extravagance of their lively cultures... The Sinulog of Cebu, the Ati-atihan of Aklan and the Dinagyang of Iloilo.
Dinagyang Festival, like Sinulog and Ati-atihan commemorates the Christianization of the natives. Dancing warriors in full regalia, accompanied by lively drums, shows how the native Filipinos glorify the child Jesus or the 'Santo NiƱo'. Noted as the 'Best Tourism Event in the Philippines' Dinagyang is an explosion of colors, reinvention of culture and an evolution of a tradition. It is a collection of different tribes competing in the 'Ati Contest', which is the very highlight of the Festival. Here, we don't see warriors battling but instead, we'll find them dancing. Their spears are not made to pierce and their shields are not armors but accouterments made to highlight buoyant colors and luridly spirited moves as the essences, of religion, tradition, culture and music are merged to create a calvacade of varied dances bursting with life.The festival is held at the fourth week of January in downtown Iloilo. Crowds, may they be local or foreign, enjoy a day filled with life, music and excitement as the yelling of "Hala Bira" which could possibly mean "move for more" or "Dance for More" souls up the entire event.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Ruins of Leon Church

The Church St. Catherine of Alexandria in the town of Leon was planned to become the largest temple in Panay Island. It is a three nave church of Byzantine architecture which is built of limestones possibly quarried from the nearby mountains.
The facade of Leon church is decorated by doors and windows with multi layered arches, typical of a byzantine and Romanesque structure. Two angels guarding an Augustinian symbol of the transfixed heart, possibly inspired by the Spanish Coat of Arms, is carved on the triangular pediment.
The church was never finished and some parts remained in Ruins. The apse, with few 'retablos' left unfinished have neoclassic elements with intricate Corinthian carvings. Though unfinished, the essence of its massiveness can still be seen through the facade and its capacious interior.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

A Mansion in Calle Mabini

A tour of Iloilo will definitely showcase a calvacade of majestic churches and grandiose mansions. But what makes these houses more than the usual? Why are they priced so much even if they look aged and worn out? Well, for an old world province like Iloilo, antiques are considered priceless.
A number of mansions possibly built before or in the early 1900's are scattered all over the city and the province. these are remnants of a colonial past, of a city that is loyal to the Spanish Crown.There is a hidden treasure along Mabini Street in the city. There lies a medieval inspired mansion that has a 'castle-like' appearance. The Classical wholeness of the mansion is reimposed by the renaissance arch windows and the lofty terrace of Neoclassic artistry. Like a medieval castle, battlements are used to crown the walls of the house, thus, giving it a more massive appearance. A closer look and one can see the fine details like tiny rosettes and carved faces used to decorate the window frame. Though worn by time, the mansion still exudes a life in monochrome. Indeed, it is vintage and being one makes it very special.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Dinagyang "can you hear the drums?"

It is January and it means that after a few more naps, it'll be DINAGYANG! The very festival which is noted to be the Best Tourism Event in the country. Dinagyang aims to strengthen it's renowned reputation and make more people caught in amazement.
The opening salvo, a 'teaser' or perhaps an 'appetizer' of the real event, will be witnessed on January 18. The 'Ati contest' is scheduled on January 27 which is followed by the awarding ceremony.
Before the 'Ati Contest', a tribal battle of dance and music will be experienced at the Kasadyahan, a similar competition of tribes from the different parts of Panay Island. The entire event will then be finalized by a thanksgiving ceremony at the San Jose Parish Church.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Lambunao Church

The town of Lambunao is said to be Iloilo's little Bagiuo since it is located in the highlands approaching the mountainous north. It is known as the haven of majestic waterfalls and the mysterious lake "Tinagong Dagat". However, the town is also known for a beautiful 18th century Spanish Colonial Era Church that looks more like it was built of chocolate and caramel rather than limestones. With ornate decorations such as intricate finials, balusters, and massive ionic columns, a light baroque essence grows out of the Neoclassic wholeness of the structure. It was completely finished in 1890 and appeared just like a colonial church in Latin America. In the 1900's the church suffered heavily from the second world war and the 1948 earthquake.
With belfries towering in front of the town plaza, St. Nicholas de Tolentino church is a beautiful structure that can make onlookers appreciate the beauty of classical architecture. It is a priceless heritage that must be preserved and restored.