iloilo city

Posted in iloilo, philippines by moonwire on September 30, 2009

Because of the bad weather, and the forecast for more rain, even in the Visayas, I decided to skip the beaches in the Philippines in favour of another city. After reading a bit, I decided on Iloilo City as it was easy to get to from Manila, and easy to get onto Cebu City. I left Manila on Monday afternoon. Luckily, the weather (it was still raining) didn’t delay my flight too much and after about an hour on the plane, we landed in Iloilo. I checked into a hotel on General Luna street, which seemed to be one of the bigger streets. The hotel looked really swanky from the outside, however, my room was a shithole. Old A/C, a barely working shower and an overall shoddy room. Okay, I could live with that for a few days. However, at night I decided to go for a walk and there was barely anything around there. I did have a San Mig at a bar across the street, and some really excellent pizza at Luna but I felt weird being there. I got to talk to a German guy who was working in Iloilo and staying at the same hotel. We had a nice talk and he told me Iloilo was ‘interesting’. I had no idea how ‘interesting’ it would be…

In the morning I decided to walk around a little more and see if I could find a hotel more in the city centre. I checked out a few and the situation was pretty dire. I did find a semi decent one in the old part of town but I already knew I didn’t want to stay in this town. It’s filthy here , with really bad air quality, and this whole town smells like urine. And this is not even a big city. The worst of all is the continuous begging. Sure, I’ve seen it all around me in the past couple of months. However, the beggars here are really persistent. They don’t just beg, they actually grab you and latch onto you. You can laugh at me, but I’ve been pretty afraid of getting my camera out. Afraid of someone just grabbing it. I don’t even walk around with a bag anymore.. I think I also grab the people’s attention because other than the German guy, I have not seen a single foreigner here. And I’m not surprised at all.

People repairing shoes at the Central Market.

I have not felt unsafe anywhere during my travels, but I’m not feeling really safe here. Mainly because of the continuous begging. Another thing is the food. The majority of restaurants are fast food chains and it’s really hard to find a meal that doesn’t contain meat. Then there’s the street food, which I simply won’t touch here. I’ve resorted to buying food at the grocery store. Mainly fruit and nuts. Luckily, the fruit here is excellent and really cheap. Mangos, papayas, pomelos, watermelon. Really tasty.

After spending so much time in Buddhist countries, it’s weird to be in a place where Jesus rules. And he’s everywhere.

So Iloilo has been one of my least favourite places during my travels. I barely took any photographs at all. I’m not in the right mind frame to do so. I’m sure there’s some cool alleys but as I said, I just don’t feel comfortable here. Also, after my fantastic experience in Cambodia, I just feel like I can’t live up to that. That’s okay, though. I’m sure I’ll feel like shooting again when I’m in a place where I’m happier. I’m glad I was able to book a flight out tomorrow morning. I will be off to Cebu City and if the weather cooperates, I’m hoping to spend a few days on a beach there, too. Kitakits!


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