Squeezing in one more church into our Iloilo side trip proved fatal.
The blue hour greeted us as we alighted at the sleepy town of Guimbal in Iloilo to shoot another of the province’s iconic stone edifice, the 400-year old San Nicholas of Tolentino Church. The church however was closed, due probably to the relative lateness of the hour. It was almost seven in the evening and the streets were almost deserted and the shops almost ready to close. I guess the practice of going to bed early in small towns still hold true at Guimbal.
We contented ourselves in shooting the church façade. Guimbal Church’s yellow-tinted stone walls perfectly contrasted with the electric hues of the early evening. And as I was contemplating on shooting the cemetery right beside the church, the rain fell.
Regrouping at a waiting shed, we decided to call it a day and gingerly waited for a jeepney ride back to downtown Iloilo. The clock turned and no jeep arrived. The only comfort we had was that there were also some locals waiting along the shed for a ride back to the bright lights of the city.
A few minutes before the clock struck eight, they dispersed one at a time. My confidence dissolved with the people. I was having a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that we were gonna be stranded at Guimbal. C’s horrific urban legends about the town weren’t helping either.
After what seemed like an eternity of listening in to a conversation between a couple of old cigarette vendors that for the life of me, I cannot understand, a jeep finally arrived and saved us from sleeping on the shed.
The jeep however did not save us from sleeping on the cold metal benches of Iloilo City’s port. The ever unreliable info we got off the net proved more unreliable, the last ferry trip to Bacolod City was not at midnight but was at five in the afternoon. Effing flying effing eff! With limited budget, we were forced to make the port our hotel for the night. I wrapped myself on my bags and prayed my shoes would still be below my bench-cum-bed when the sun shines tomorrow.
It was a long night but the sun eventually did shine. And after a quick cup of cheap coffee, we boarded a pedicab and bought an expensive fastcraft ticket to Bacolod City.
I don’t like fastcrafts. Besides being expensive, the whole thing is so wrapped in glass and metal, you can hardly see outside. I like looking at the sea when riding ships. I like to feel the wind and the occasional sea spray. I’ll trade in the air-conditioning and the halved time of a fastcraft to a RORO ship anytime.
And we reached Bacolod City in no time. I remember Bredco Port, I love this dirty pier with its shell-covered basketball-sized stones and murky waters. I photographed the setting sun here twice years before and got beautiful images on both occasions.
But sunsets was the furthest thing from our mind, what we were hankering for was breakfast. And I know just the place, Bacolod’s famous Manokan Country. We’re gonna have Chicken Inasal, a genuine one!
And it was gone faster than we can say hello to Bacolod. We were soon moving again, crossing the north and south terminal of the city before locating our bus to Dumaguete City.
The ride was longer than the previous day’s Aklan to Iloilo butt-cruncher. We were plastered to our seat for six hours. I started listing down the municipalities and cities we passed to bide the time. Villadolid, San Enrique, Pontevedra, Hinigaran, Binalbagan, Himamaylan, Kabankalan, Oringao, Mabimay, Bais, Tanjay, Amlan, Sibulan and finally Dumaguete. I may have missed a couple since I was constantly dozing off.
My butt was seriously numbed.
Since we were so hardcore, we decided to reward ourselves again before pushing for the final leg of our trip. We simply cannot resist dropping by at Sans Rival for a taste of their infamously sinfully sweet concoctions. We ordered a couple and paired it with coffee.
No time to relax though, as soon as everything’s vanished from the table—well at least mine did, C was ready to fall straight down to the pavement due to severe exhaustion, he felt so sick he wasn’t able to eat—we were running again to catch our ferry. We certainly didn’t want to do a part 2 of the Iloilo City Port.
The last ferry ride was smooth and uneventful. The waves were trying to lull me to sleep but I fought it off for the setting sun. But there was no setting sun, all there were were clouds. Dark, threatening, fat clouds spread over the horizon. It was gloomy but still beautiful. I snapped one photo and went back inside. This time I let the boat rock me to sleep.
After three long bus rides, three equally lengthy RORO trips, a horrendous journey by van, two short boat jaunts, four cramped tricycle rides, two slow pedicabs trips, eight colorful jeepneys roars and a water-glide through a single boring fastcraft, Dipolog City is almost finally within reach.
Transfer Routes, Fares & Timetables:
45 minutes - Guimbal, Iloilo to Downtown, Iloilo City via Jeepney: Php40.00
15 minutes - Downtown to Fort San Pedro, Iloilo Port via Jeepney: Php8.00
10 minutes - Iloilo Port to Iloilo Wharf via Tricycle: Php35.00 (Rip-off!)
1 hour - Iloilo City Whaft to Bredco Port, Bacolod City via Weesam Fastcraft: Php310.00
15 minutes - Lacson Street to Bacolod Southbound Terminal via Jeepney: Php8.00
6 hours - Bacolod City to Dumaguete City via Bus: Php308.00
3.5 hours - Dumaguete City to Dapitan City via Ferry: Php385.00
20 minutes - Dapitan Port to Dipolog City via Tricycle: Php50.00