Tag Archives: places

Tonight the Street is Ours


What is this post about, you may ask. Well, it is about things that happen on the streets of Iloilo City when the sun tucks itself over a thick blanket and wearily says good night.

So yeah, only the sun sleeps. There is enough reason why this blog got its title.

I work in an international company and adjusts with clients timezone from time to time. For three months I have been working from 9pm till 6am. However, this week I’m scheduled to come in, 1pm till 10pm. Alright, you don’t need to know about my life, I’ve said pretty much A LOT about it on this blog.

With that being said when I went out of the office, this welcomed me.

Yes, crappy phone photo. Also, you’re not allowed to pause and get a better angle. It is basically saying “hey snatchers take my phone”.

For those who dont know where Iloilo City is, it’s one of the Philippines premiere cities, where all the laid back people are. It is Philippines very own “City of Love” all because the people here speak in a loving manner. (Call me, it’s about the accent actually). My city is more like California-ish and Seattle-ish altogether.

At ten o’clock, traffic stops, and the traffic rules stops along with it. You can have all the streets all you want and sometimes to some extent. No really, it is safe walking on the street than off the street. I’m not dropping some bad comment about my city but the state of a sidewalks safety is pretty much the same on all cities all over the world.

You can pretend that pedestrian lane does not exist. No “I’m like The Beatles on The Abbey Road” feeling here, it’s more of “Long live anarchy” thing. You feel like a punk raping the rules.

The angle should give you a perspective of where I was standing. Yes on the middle of the street. And clearly I am safe. During mornings/rush hours, you can get stuck for 20 minutes on this street.

If you are feeling a little bit like a guerrilla artist, all Banksy and stuff, you can paint a big peace and love sign on the traffic sign without someone bothering your artistic and rebellious frenzy. In fact there has been over-dosage of graffitis all over the city as of late. And yes, by the way it is still illegal over here.

If you want to take a walk at night time, you risk being mugged not by humans (mostly) but by stray dogs. The city does have like an impound station where these poor things are being taken to but the owners are a little bit irresponsible, you can barely call them owners anymore.

And if ever nature calls you, this will help.

I don’t know how this little rest room works. But yes, you can take a leak inside it if your bladder is being a bummer.

The beauty of the night street whether its in a sleepy or a bustling city is the odd liberating feeling it gives people. During my above eighteen year old years, I have walked a lot of streets at night time and I can’t recall feeling sad and stressed. It even stimulates creativity. Creepy as it sounds I sometimes make up ink blot images from the shadows that posts and buildings cast.

All fun happens at night, it seems. Next time I’ll take a walk , I’ll bring a better camera to capture them.

PS: Downside of night time shift, you lose precious two minutes searching for your keys inside your bag.

I needed a treasure map and a flashlight to find my keys.

Five Coolest Hang Outs in Iloilo City


Well it depends on how you define your kind of cool.

Iloilo City is the most laid back city in the Philippines. It’s a fairly developed city that didn’t lose its old traditions. If you want to experience a regular Ilonggo afternoon, you might want to enter the doors of these places.

For clarification, I didn’t spend my whole youth sitting on these havens.

Lumpiga

The word ‘lumpiga’ means “to sit, specifically on the floor”. Needless to say, there are no chairs inside, only huge throw pillows and really low tables. Think Japanese restaurant with a Rastafarian twist. Though the bands don’t necessarily sing Bob Marley songs, they sing more acoustic songs. The food and drinks also complements the ambience. Just order rice and buttered chicken and you’d be good, anyway people go there for beer.

Sit with the band so you can dictate their setlist.

Knocked out. If you feel like sleeping, feel fee.

JAQ’S

It’s “where every hour is a happy hour”. If you’re a fan of mainstream rock and wants to hear Iloilo talents then definitely this is the place to sit down, have a drink, and smoke (or inhale other people’s smoke). It’s not really a place where you can effectively converse with people but the beer and the bands will satisfy your empty Thursday evenings. They’re open every night but I choose to go there on Thursdays.

This place will go down in history as the home of Ilonggo music.

See you on a Thursday evening.

Crammer’s

If you want a reminiscence of your student life, take a seat at this little piece of coolness. It’s relatively small for a bar, but it’s not really a bar. It’s a small resto that reminds you of everything scholarly including alcohol shots. There’s a shelf of books from The Little Prince to Illusions: The Adventures of A Reluctant Messiah. You can choose to sit on a bean bag on a corner and read or weep. Check out the menu and smile at how witty they name their food and mixes. The place just wants to take you back to that night you went somewhere peaceful hoping to digest your lessons only to end up chucking alcohol at someone’s place. That by the way isn’t based on personal experience.

I haven't took a photo during one of the times I was there. So here their logo instead.

Freddy’s

If you’re wondering how to waste your money, then its worthwhile to go to Freddy’s. It’s pretty swanky since it’s inside Sarabia Manor Hotel. What is nicest about the place is it is smoke free. It’s a cross of a cowboy salon, sports bar and a classy resto. The food would sweep a meatlover off his feet. If you want to impress your friends with a dinner or if you just want to share a pizza and a bucket of beer with them, it is the perfect place.

She just wants me to take a photo of her under her name.

The place is a perfect setting for thought provoking conversations.

Mellow Mangrove
Want to spend a romantic evening with someone? Mellow mangrove is the perfect place. The name might have originated from the feeling you get when you’re inside the place. It sits along the banks of Iloilo River where the sun sets behind the mangroves on the other side of the river. The lighting is minimal, thus creating a very mellow yet calming atmosphere. They serve typical drinks and food but for someone who cares a lot about how the place makes you feel, definitely its a nice place to sit down, drink a few bottle and contemplate about life. Also when you go there, bring a jacket but if you’re with a date just nevermind.

Red Horse is the traditional beer. It does kicks hard.

The Camerawalls made the walls of mellow Mangrove sway to The Smiths songs. It is good venue for indie music.

Escape to Philippines’ Hidden Island of Paradise


Sometimes you have to escape the demands of living in an atrophy inducing environment. Immobility of one’s life is a tragedy. You have to get out of that spinning quicksand that is called responsibility, even just for twelve hours. Spare yourself from being sucked in by the world’s limitations. And what would be a better getaway than sand, shore and salt water? Joined by my adventure starved friends and our impulses we indulged ourselves in an unplanned trip to the hidden gorgeousness of Guimaras islands.

Destination Nowhere. When we got off of the boat at about six thirty, the cold morning island breeze greeted us along with the port people asking where we were going. We enthusiastically answer we don’t know yet. It’s customary for every place’s port of entry to at least have a map so the debate of what resort to choose begun with the Guimaras tourism map posted at the pier’s entrance. And the locals’ didn’t help by adding side comments about each place that we mentioned.

Destination Guisi, Nueva Valencia. First impression really lasts and sometimes a lovely place can be damaged by ugly memories. Most of the time when you look back you must look again. And it won’t be a crime if I take a second look at this tempting place. The magnificent white sand, the lucid blue water and the charming lighthouse is too much inviting to resist. If people deserve second chances places too, especially a naturally beautiful one.

The Road. A destination’s impact is mostly amplified by how you get there. We decided to take a forty five minute tricycle ride to the northern edge of the island. The tour will guarantee to blow the negative city vibes off of your mind. Mango trees shade the seaside mountain road while the cool gentle wind kisses your face. By the moment you get off the vehicle you’ll close your eyes to what stress means.

Shore and Salt Water Splendour. Guisi might appear as the dead end of civilization but veiled below the coconut confined cliff is a little piece of heaven. The sea cliff is a mineral rock growing to outline a freewheeling sculpture that would cast a shadow to the coast. The thin shoreline is a five hundred meters of coral smithereens washed away by the sea to add a captivating charm. The crystal clear blue water is alluring. It’s more like a lagoons beach where it’s perfectly harmless for non swimmers like me. The place is nature’s work of architecture at it’s best, it’s almost mystical.

The Story of the Lighthouse. On top of the point of what appears a miniature gulf, situated on a cliff is a fascinating century old lighthouse. Folks said that it was built in 1894 by a rich family to designate their land ownership which as far as where the light could reach. The ruins surrounding the lighthouse used to be a house. It might give the impression of a romantic scene from afar, but it feels eerie closing in. Something tells me that the owners don’t want their property to be disturbed. Anyhow it is still a photo shoot perfect place.

Riding the Waves. For a decent price you can enjoy a boat ride that would take you as far as you want to go. The sea looks welcoming and friendly it erased my fear of open water. When you look down, it’s as if you’re staring at a postcard, the corals burst alive with sea grasses and starfishes and other sea beings. The little islands of stones that sprouted in the sea hide each their own secret. Some have rest houses on them, one has a cemetery but each of them endured the everyday crashing of the waves.

An Unnamed Cave. If somebody tells you you’re going to a cave beside the sea, it’s fairly interesting but when they tell you there’s a waterfall inside, it’s relatively exciting. It doesn’t look more of a cave but just a huge crack in a seaside mineral rock, so the waterfall is technically mineral water being filtered by the rock. The water seem to glisten tempting you to have drink, it might just be the fountain of youth. According to our guide, during summer the locals actually fetch drinking water from there. Anyhow, I’m still not brave enough for amoeba to taste it. The cave is still unnamed but people who came there left their names on its walls, maybe hoping that when they name the cave they’ll just pick a name on the wall.

Stars Amongst Starfishes. Our guide dropped us on an island that appeared so isolated that being there means being nowhere. We swam with small and colorful fishes on the knee deep chilly seawater. But the highlight of it all is lying on the sand surrounded by the starfishes. Those beings are not only full of spikes but also with cuteness. I figured it might be difficult living as a starfish; it would take all your energy to go ashore only for a curious tourist to pick you up and bring you home and most especially there’s no contact during procreation.

How To Get There. Guimaras is an island province, west of Iloilo City.   It would take a fifteen minute boat ride to access the island from Iloilo City.  If you have fear of riding a small boat, you dont have much choice because it seems that its the only way to get there.  But thats just perfect, right?  You travel, you conquer your fear and get to get a glimpse of a paradise.

The shore of Nueva Valencia is definitely a paradise lurking behind a developing province. Hopefully the government and the locals would protect it from fatal commercialism.  The place itself have endured a lot, including a disastrous oil spill back in 2008, still they we’re able to revive its beauty and bounty so I’m trusting that when I go back it would still be the same lovely and almost untouched as it is the first time I came.

It is the closest to the Caribbean you can get if you’re in the Philippines. It’s so beautiful; I fear a lot of tourist would one day swarm it.

Photos:  Jan Michael Yap