I recently arrived from the land of original La Paz batchoy, – Iloilo. Mind you, the place itself is as modernized and even have wider roads compared to Cebu.
It was my first time to travel by my lonesome and I had apprehensions about the whole thing. But I was thinking if I’m not going to this now and wait for the others, I may not have the chance to do this again. I would consider this as a dry run of my series of adventures for this year, programmed and directed by yours truly.
Iloilo-I was lucky enough to get the roundtrip of the whole thing for 114.00 Php. Yup, part of the piso fare promo by Cebupac but of course some good things never last.. At the last minute, they decided to change my original schedule of 8am to 2 pm. Lovely, see a hint of sarcasm there? hehehe anyway I have no choice but to say yes, unless wings would sprout at my back magically.
At 2:45, we arrived in Iloilo and I got kinda excited to chronicle my steps in the city :) (Armageddon sound track blaring in my mind)
Mistakes that I made as a neophyte in traveling solo.
1. I did not research well enough about the place- I assumed that Iloilo is like my beloved Cebu and mistress Manila. I thought its easy to navigate since we are in the Philippines and its way easier to find my way. I checked the net on places that I need to go thru and boy, reality was way out on the skimpy information that I have on my trusty notebook. Armed with courage and determination to reach my intended destination, I was shameless in asking directions even though I may have looked like an “eng2x” tourist.. good thing,
He was directing my steps and I never did encounter crazy people on the way. Still, possibilities are big that I may be taken and sold in white slavery ( mind largely influenced by the movie Taken :))
2. I did not call and reconfirmed reservation made days before- I almost got into a heated discussion with someone from Ongbun Pension house because the receptionist thought I canceled. My blood pressure did rise up at that point because it was late and I did not make any alternate reservation on other area and the worst thing, it was only their pension house that I know in Iloilo. It was also Feb 14, the worst possible time to be in an unfamiliar city since almost all of the lodgings were taken. Good thing, Ongbun acknowledged their mistake and booked me in a different place but has more expensive rates. Anyway, they do have cable television so I’m ok.
I couldn’t think of anything to add, so we would just leave it as is but I would be adding on it once I have my eureka moments again.
So lets get down to business- Sampaguita Gardens
I have been fascinated with this resort ever since I saw it featured on a show but alas, I forgot the place and also the name but the images I saw on TV burned in my mind. Especially the collections of those toys with teardrop eyes from the world famous Precious Moments.
I turned to Google and I was able to get the name of that magical place..Sampaguita Gardens which is in Kalibo..I read info about the area on the net and was able to get mixed reviews of different people on the subject but the desire to see the “christmasy resort” won me over and I gave in to wanderlust but I’m also dependent on the mercy of the sale fare of different airlines. No sale for Cebu to Kalibo but there was one for Cebu to Iloilo and of course rational being that I am, I grabbed it.
Going to the Ceres terminal was not as straightforward as I thought it would be. Iloilo has 3 SM malls, Jaro SM, SM Delgado and SM City. I just made the assumption that Iloilo would only have one or the driver of the airport shuttle would know what I’m talking about. Apparently, he did not because I was dropped off in the wrong SM (SM Jaro). Good thing, manong guard from jollibee was really helpful and told me I could take a ride in jeeps with signages Jaro ikot or Leganese and told me to ask the driver to drop me off at Tagbak Terminal.
I had written it down as a reference. I remembered I had anxiety semi attacks when I saw terminals because the manong might drop me off on the wrong one (residual effect from airport shuttle experience)
Thing is, I hate traveling if involves long stretches of bus rides but I was on on a bus bound for Kalibo and I need to travel for 5 hours to reach the city, yaicks! By the way, the fare is 184.00 php
I felt like a piece of my baggage when I reached Kalibo at 9 pm. Seeing no jeeps, only very insistent tricycle drivers, I know this would cost me. (Thank you again Cebupac for the wonderful change of sched) I haggled with the driver and got the initial asking price of 160 to 120 from Ceres terminal to New Washington where Sampaguita Gardens is. At least I don’t have to resort to taxis because it was far..imagine the meter ( I know I’m a cheapskate)
I was crossing fingers that the reservation I made days ago would hold since I haven’t called them again. The front staff was uite wonderful and they did hold my reservation. I’m amazed by my room.
Goody! It even had a bathtub :)! Which I was dying to test when my insatiable appetite for capturing everything on camera was satisfied.
I personally would like to thank all the staff in Sampaguita Gardens. They were really helpful and even concede that I can do a late checkout which is really great :). They waited for me to have my breakfast even it was past the buffet time because I woke up late. They were camera shy, so no pics.
I got somewhat saddened because some of their attractions were already closed to the public like the gallery, ferris wheel, train ride and the mansion. I assume due to the cost upkeep in making all of these operational. Still, you couldn’t deny the magic of the place.
I personally recommend that you visit Sampaguita Gardens. If you like to awaken the kid in you and feel its Christmas everyday, then add it as one of your must do.