Backpacking to these 3 provinces is a very popular travel route in the Philippines. Especially that Iloilo, Guimaras and Bacolod are 3 different provinces and city that are just a few bus or boat ride away from each other.
Tourists who usually book their flights on either Bacolod airport or Iloilo airport end up doing this itinerary. Iloilo, Guimaras and Bacolod has a lot of stunning beaches, historical structures, exhilarating adventures and signature food to offer. If you are planning to do this soon, continue reading this travel guide I have completed for you!
About Iloilo, Guimaras and Bacolod
Like I have mentioned earlier, these 3 places are famous to backpackers since they are easiest to backpack plus the proximity is average.
The best time to go to these places are the direst months in the Philippines. Hence, best time to come here is during March – June which are relatively hot season. Take note that these months are the most touristy season as well. If you are looking to visit it with less tourist, the months will be from July – August. But you have to expect rain and monsoon.
The main language spoken in these 3 places is Hiligaynon. Note that there are more locals who can speak in English here compared to tagalog.
When it comes to phone reception, anywhere in Iloilo and Bacolod are a good place for phone signals. Guimaras, on the other hand, some places are poor in phone reception. You might want to plan your itinerary and search everything you need before traveling to different parts of the island province.
ATM machines are not a problem either. You will see lots of these in Iloilo and Bacolod. But for Guimaras Province, you will only spot a few ATM machines in the its main city or near the port. Best to withdraw enough cash for your Guimaras trip.
Special Events in Iloilo, Guimaras and Bacolod
These 3 places has its own special event celebrated annually. One of the most celebrated festivals in the country is Iloilo’s very own Dinagyang Festival.
Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo
The Dinagyang Festival is a religious and cultural festival in Iloilo City, Philippines held on the 4th Sunday of January, or right after the Sinulog in Cebu and the Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo, Aklan.
Manggahan Festival in Guimaras
Guimaras is home to the sweetest mangoes in the Philippines! They have the best mangoes, hence, the Manggahan Festival celebrated every month of May. The month of May is the month where mangoes in the country are mostly riped. This is also the reason why the festival is celebrated in the month of May.
MassKara Festival in Bacolod
Dubbed as the Philippines most colorful festival – The MassKara Festival is an annual festival with highlights held every fourth Sunday of October in Bacolod, Philippines.
Before traveling to these places, let’s first try to dissect the list of things you need to prepare or book in advance for your Iloilo, Guimaras and Bacolod escapade.
How to get there?
There are 3 ways to get here, and that is either by place, land or ferry. Of course depending on the place you are coming from. If you are coming from Manila, the best option will always be booking a flight to Iloilo or Bacolod.
Option 1: Via Air
The fastest way to get here is through booking a plane ticket. You can choose either Iloilo or Bacolod airport. To scan the cheapest flights available from the destination you are coming from, best to book through Skyscanner.
Option 2: Via Land Transportation
CATICLAN/AKLAN TO ILOILO – From Caticlan, ride a yellow Ceres bus from the bus terminal heading to Iloilo. Alternatively, the yellow Ceres bus heading to Iloilo passes by Antique, so you can wait for the buses passing by the main road if you are coming from Antique.
SIPALAY/DUMAGUETE TO BACOLOD – The same company or bus-line offers this route from Dumaguete to Bacolod. Just ride a yellow Ceres bus from the bus terminal in Dumaguete, they have multiple daily bus trips for this route. Alternatively, if you are coming from Sipalay, just go to the bus terminal and ride a bus going to Bacolod.
Option 3: Via Ferry
MANILA TO BACOLOD BY FERRY- For ferry trips from Manila going to Bacolod, you can book a reservation online with 12GO. Take note that this route is only available every TUE/THU/FRI of the week.
MANILA TO ILOILO BY FERRY – The same with Manila to Iloilo, they only have trips every TUE/THU/FRI of the week. Book with 12GO below.
Where to eat? Iloilo, Bacolod and Guimaras
Iloilo, Guimaras and Bacolod has made quite a name when it comes to their best dishes and food delicacies. In our next paragraphs, we will talk about the best food to look out for when traveling to these places!
Where to eat in Iloilo?
The best recommended food to taste in Iloilo is lapaz batchoy! This is definitely Iloilo’s most relevant contribution to the culinary world. For authentic taste of batchoy, head to Lapaz Public Market and check out their batchoy noodles there.
Another must-try food in Iloilo is tsokolate batirol and pancit molo that can be found in a 150-year old ancestral house Camina Balay nga Bato.
For other recommended list of food to try in Iloilo, check out OurAwesomePlanet’s review here: ILOILO FOOD GUIDE.
Where to eat in Guimaras?
The only place to go in Guimaras is of course The Pitstop. Guimaras’ famous mango pizza can be found in The Pitstop. Most of their dishes here has a mix of mango flavor. Hence, some of the dishes you’ll find here are very unique. In my case, I was shocked to see a dinuguan dish with mango on the menu!
Where to eat in Bacolod?
Bacolod boasts off their very own and truly juicy recipe of inasal chicken! When you go to Bacolod and ask locals where to eat, they will always point you to Manokan Counry just beside SM Bacolod. The inasal chicken in Bacolod taste like that of Mang Inasal chicken, the only difference is that the inasal chicken in Bacolod are much cheaper of course!
Where to stay? Iloilo, Bacolod and Guimaras
There are a number of budget hostels around these places. For budget travelers, you might want to check out the places where I stayed.
Where to stay in Iloilo?
In Iloilo, we stayed in Ong Bun Pension House. The budget here is pretty cheap. You can score PHP600.00 for 2 person in an air-conditioned room with private bathroom. It’s located in the city center so you won’t have a problem going to the tourist destinations. Book it through Agoda below:
Where to stay in Guimaras?
Given that Guimaras is a small island province, you can actually stay here for a day or two. If you are not traveling in a time-sensitive manner, you may want to check out Nature’s Eye Resort. This is a place where you can truly relax and chill. This is literally away from the main city and it will guarantee you a very relaxing vacation while connecting with nature.
Check out my full travel guide to Nature’s Eye Resort: TRAVEL GUIDE TO NATURE’S EYE RESORT IN GUIMARAS.
Where to stay in Bacolod?
Tip for budget travelers! If you are looking for a cheap place to stay but exceeds more than what you paid? Check out RedDoorz Hotels in Bacolod. We stayed in a very spacious air-conditioned room with 2 single beds, complete with all the bathroom amenities, hot shower, flat screen TV, compliment bottled water for only PHP 600.00 per night. The exact branch we booked is RedDoorz near New Government Center.
BOOK WITH REDDOORZ HERE
Tip: Use NEW20 for 20% discount. Valid only for first time booking.
Important Contacts in Iloilo, Guimaras and Bacolod
Important Contacts in Iloilo and Guimaras:
- Isla Gigantes Tour/Iloilo tour/Bacolod tour – Book with Las Islas Travel & Tours
Important Contacts in Guimaras:
- Guimaras Tour Packages – Book with AVA Travel and Tours
- Nature’s Eye Resort – Book Rooms with Nature’s Eye Resort
Suggested Itinerary, Places to visit and Expenses
Ideal days of stay: 4 Days & 3 Nights
Day 1: DIY Iloilo City Tour + Garin Farm
Places to Visit:
- Museo Iloilo
- Molo Church
- Camina Balay Nga Bato
- Jaro Cathedral/Bell Tower
- La Paz Market
- Garin Farm
- Miagao Church
|Places to visit||Entrance Fee|
|7:00 AM||Molo Church|
|8:00 AM||Camina Balay nga Bato||PHP 150.00/3USD|
|9:30 AM||Jaro Cathedral|
|10:30 AM||Museo Iloilo||PHP 50.00/1USD|
|12:00 NN||Lunch at La Paz Market|
Try Iloilo’s famous batchoy
Useful Tip: These places are just 1 jeepney ride from each other and usually takes 5-10 minutes only. You can walk towards Museo Iloilo if you are coming from Ong Bun Pension House.
|Places to visit||Entrance Fee:|
|1:00 – 3:00 PM||Garin Farm||PHP 150.00/3USD|
|3:00 PM||Miagao Church|
How to go to Garin Farm from Iloilo City? Ride a jeepney/van from Molo Terminal bound to San Joaquin. Tell the driver you are going to Garin Farm. The estimated travel time is 1 hour and fare is PHP 60.00.
Day 2: Guimaras Land Tour
Question: How to go to Guimaras from Iloilo? Ride a ferry from Iloilo Wharf to Jordan Wharf in Guimaras. The fere is PHP 15.00 and the travel time is 15 minutes only.
Places to visit:
- Smallest Plaza
- San Lorenzo Wind Farm
- Man-made Forest
- Guimaras Signage
- Guimaras Mango Research
- Trappist Monastery
- Guisi Light House
- Alubihod Beach Areas
- Lawi View Deck
Where to book your tour? Want to rent SUV, tricycle, car? Say hi to Sir Vinsoy of AVA Travel and Tours for me!
Where to check-in after Guimaras land day tour? Nature’s Eye Resort.
Day 3: Guimaras Island Hopping + Nature’s Eye Resort
Places to visit:
- Turtle Island
- Crocodile Island
- Mangroves Plantation
- Floating Cottage
- The PitStop
|Places to visit||Fees|
|7:00 AM||Breakfast at Bird’s Eye Restaurant @|
Nature’s Eye Resort
|Estimated PHP 200.00|
|8:00 – 11:00AM||Island Hopping|
|Free 2 hours island hopping|
For guests in Nature’s Eye Resort
|1:00 PM||Lunch at The PitStop||Estimated PHP300.00|
How to go to Bacolod from Guimaras? From Jordan Wharf, ride a ferry back to Iloilo Wharf for PHP 15.00 and travel time 15 minutes. From Iloilo Wharf, charter a tricycle to Iloilo City Port. Buy ticket from Fastcat ferry going to Bacolod for approximately PHP 180.00 and travel time is 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Where to check-in in Bacolod? Reddoorz Near New Government Center. Rate is PHP600.00 per room and good for 2 person.
Day 4: Bacolod Island Hopping Tour
Places to visit:
- Lakawon Island
- Mambukal Resort
- Campuetohan Highland Resort
Where to book your tour? Check out Las Islas Travel and Tours.
How to go to Lakawon DIY way? Head to the North Bus Station and take the bus going to Cadiz and alight in Martessan. The travel time is 1 hour and the fare is PHP 100.00. From Martessan, ride a tric to Brgy. Cadiz Viejo Port and register for a day tour in Lakawon island. The day tour from 8AM – 5PM cost PHP 340.00 each and it covers the resort’s entrance and boat fees.
Day 5: DIY Bacolod City Tour
Places to visit:
- The Ruins
- Merzci Pasalubong
- Manokan Country
- San Sebastian Cathedral
- Bacolod Provincial Capitol
|Places to visit||Entrance Fees|
|8:00 AM||The Ruins||PHP 100.00|
|10:00AM||San Sebastia Cathedral|
|11:00 AM||Lunch at Manokan Country||Estimated PHP 100.00|
|12:00 AM||Bacolod Provincial Capitol|
|1:00 PM||Buy pasalubong in Merzci Pasalubong|
How to go to The Ruins the DIY way? From Bacolod City, ride a jeepney (PHP9.00) going to Bata and alight at Pepsi Plant. You may advise the driver that you are going to The Ruins so they will drop you at the Pepsi Plant where you are going to ride a tricycle going to The Ruins. The fare for the tricycle is PHP 50.00 per person and the travel time is about 25 minutes.
SIDE-TRIP IN ANTIQUE:
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