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20 minutes ago, hk blues said:

Yes, agreed.  I guess one of the reasons it's not an ex-pat haven is it doesn't offer much in terms of nature compared to other parts of the country.  Not an issue for me but can be for others.  

If you travel on the coast to the west from Iloilo, your start running into beach resorts. I stayed at 3 close by over the years. Further down is  Racso's Woodland Resort (and huge zoo) and across the road the Bantayan Beach Resort. I have been to both places 2 or 3 times in years past. Garin Farm, the new one further down the coast near San Juaquin is one of my favorite places when I am down that way.  Its also another short bus ride over the pass into Antique Province which is a narrow coastal shelf between the mountains and sea, with plenty to offer.

Traveling north out of the city, there are resorts further up the Province coast where the Islas Gigantes area and the Carles penninusla has a large number of beach resorts and islands for tourists. Mostly Pinoy, since the foreigners prefer Boracay. We stayed at a new one before the shut down and are returning next week for a 3 day vacation.

Since we have quasi-family connections in Estancia, we usually go to our favorite beach resort w/pool there once a year, as do many of my expat friends here in neighboring Capiz since it is a picturesque fishing port with many amenities. You can catch boats there to the northern tip towns of Negros and Cebu, etc. and reach plenty of places off the well beaten tourist paths.

The point of the aforementioned is that although Iloilo City has easy access to Guimaras Island and Negros, once you get out of the city, there is plenty to see and do that most expats never will get to see since they prefer the more well known places to squat at when they first come here.... or are tied down to where ever their wife or GF is from. 

When we go to these places, we almost NEVER see other expats. If you feel more comfortable with many other expats around I guess you will have to settle in the more popular expat areas, but I doubt that it is "nature" or interesting things to do or see that keep them there. 

IMHO

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I geuss that makes Mindanao the Philippines Mexico... interesting place with some big cities but not everywhere is safe for westeners 

Not trying to sound negative here, but... If someone prefers to live in a place that is like the US, then why not just settle in some place in the US?  Why come to the Philippines at all? Just my

Actually...family proximity was one of our high level geography factors...on top of the others regarding things like medical and airports, etc.  There's an old saying: marry a Filipina, and you marry

1 hour ago, manofthecoldland said:

If you travel on the coast to the west from Iloilo, your start running into beach resorts. I stayed at 3 close by over the years. Further down is  Racso's Woodland Resort (and huge zoo) and across the road the Bantayan Beach Resort. I have been to both places 2 or 3 times in years past. Garin Farm, the new one further down the coast near San Juaquin is one of my favorite places when I am down that way.  Its also another short bus ride over the pass into Antique Province which is a narrow coastal shelf between the mountains and sea, with plenty to offer.

Traveling north out of the city, there are resorts further up the Province coast where the Islas Gigantes area and the Carles penninusla has a large number of beach resorts and islands for tourists. Mostly Pinoy, since the foreigners prefer Boracay. We stayed at a new one before the shut down and are returning next week for a 3 day vacation.

Since we have quasi-family connections in Estancia, we usually go to our favorite beach resort w/pool there once a year, as do many of my expat friends here in neighboring Capiz since it is a picturesque fishing port with many amenities. You can catch boats there to the northern tip towns of Negros and Cebu, etc. and reach plenty of places off the well beaten tourist paths.

The point of the aforementioned is that although Iloilo City has easy access to Guimaras Island and Negros, once you get out of the city, there is plenty to see and do that most expats never will get to see since they prefer the more well known places to squat at when they first come here.... or are tied down to where ever their wife or GF is from. 

When we go to these places, we almost NEVER see other expats. If you feel more comfortable with many other expats around I guess you will have to settle in the more popular expat areas, but I doubt that it is "nature" or interesting things to do or see that keep them there. 

IMHO

We go to a couple of the beach resorts on that coast a couple of times a year - nice enough but I feel lacking in facilities outside of the resorts i.e. no cafes/bars/restaurants other than those inside the resorts.  We've also visited Garin Farm - again, nice enough but not a place I'd visit frequently.  We also went to Carles and stayed at a resort there but It was a disappointment - nothing was as it looked in the pics and they didn't offer a lunch menu or snacks.  OK for a couple of days but not for any longer.  

There are places to stay but I feel kinda underwhelmed in general about the tourist attractions.  Like you, I'm not a huge fan of ex-pat communities and there are few here in Iloilo.  I'm not sure what "nature" people want, or are looking for but I can see why Iloilo maybe doesn't rank that highly.  It's a solid 6/10 in that respect for me.  

I'm probably being unfair and looking for more than an reasonably be expected for such an area where there are not so many inbound tourists.  

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44 minutes ago, hk blues said:

We go to a couple of the beach resorts on that coast a couple of times a year - nice enough but I feel lacking in facilities outside of the resorts i.e. no cafes/bars/restaurants other than those inside the resorts.  We've also visited Garin Farm - again, nice enough but not a place I'd visit frequently.  We also went to Carles and stayed at a resort there but It was a disappointment - nothing was as it looked in the pics and they didn't offer a lunch menu or snacks.  OK for a couple of days but not for any longer.  

There are places to stay but I feel kinda underwhelmed in general about the tourist attractions.  Like you, I'm not a huge fan of ex-pat communities and there are few here in Iloilo.  I'm not sure what "nature" people want, or are looking for but I can see why Iloilo maybe doesn't rank that highly.  It's a solid 6/10 in that respect for me.  

I'm probably being unfair and looking for more than an reasonably be expected for such an area where there are not so many inbound tourists.  

No argument from me. I agree with your assessment. 

To be fair, if you have never been outside of the PI, I can see how the acclaimed tourist sites might be very interesting and well worth the  visit. But for someone well traveled in other countries, "underwhelmed" would be putting it mildly in many cases.

I have seen some videos and vblogs of places that are a bit unusual and worth the time and trouble to visit if you are already in the area, but more often than not most places require either flights, boat trips or very long bus rides along with much intermediate use of trikes, vans, cabs..... most of which I no longer consider 'adventurous' or of particular and highly noteworthy interest.

In-country travel while enroute does provide oddities and unexpected things that you come across and catch a glimpse of though. I used to photograph things like road side signs advertising cigarettes by the 'stick',  bizarre menus, signage, people popping corn for sale in huge cauldrons alongside the road over a wood fire, and the like. All the strange ( for me at the time) little things like that, as well as the people and unexpected situations really were more memorable to me than the endpoint tourist destinations it often seemed. So every trip I ever took was worth it, since it was filled with the novelties and many small surprises.

Most tourist sites/sights are one-shot deals. I doubt if I will ever go back to Palawan's Underground River, back up to  Baguio, Romblon, and many of the places we once visited since we're getting to old, and are fairly well satisfied and settled in. But I'm glad we did it when we were younger. 

There's a ton of beach and mountain (of no interest to me) resorts in the Western Visayas where we live that you can visit to break the monotony. They range from the ultra expensive to "they ought to be arrested and jailed for even charging us any money." to "they should be paying us to stay here".

I don't regret having taken any of the quirky little trips and travel adventures we've had over the last two decades.... and general standards seem to be improving in many places due to internet reviews and video blogs, but things still have that 'unique' (shall we say) Philippine twist to them re global tourist norms. Some people call it "charm". Others call it......well, other things not so favorably polite.

If you're from British Columbia, Alaska, or anyplace that has actual mountains with any elevation, don't bother going out of your way to see any tourist 'waterfalls' here because you will either sadly laugh or get PO'd for having taken the time and trouble. 

IMHO

 

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6 minutes ago, manofthecoldland said:

No argument from me. I agree with your assessment. 

To be fair, if you have never been outside of the PI, I can see how the acclaimed tourist sites might be very interesting and well worth the  visit. But for someone well traveled in other countries, "underwhelmed" would be putting it mildly in many cases.

I have seen some videos and vblogs of places that are a bit unusual and worth the time and trouble to visit if you are already in the area, but more often than not most places require either flights, boat trips or very long bus rides along with much intermediate use of trikes, vans, cabs..... most of which I no longer consider 'adventurous' or of particular and highly noteworthy interest.

In-country travel while enroute does provide oddities and unexpected things that you come across and catch a glimpse of though. I used to photograph things like road side signs advertising cigarettes by the 'stick',  bizarre menus, signage, people popping corn for sale in huge cauldrons alongside the road over a wood fire, and the like. All the strange ( for me at the time) little things like that, as well as the people and unexpected situations really were more memorable to me than the endpoint tourist destinations it often seemed. So every trip I ever took was worth it, since it was filled with the novelties and many small surprises.

Most tourist sites/sights are one-shot deals. I doubt if I will ever go back to Palawan's Underground River, back up to  Baguio, Romblon, and many of the places we once visited since we're getting to old, and are fairly well satisfied and settled in. But I'm glad we did it when we were younger. 

There's a ton of beach and mountain (of no interest to me) resorts in the Western Visayas where we live that you can visit to break the monotony. They range from the ultra expensive to "they ought to be arrested and jailed for even charging us any money." to "they should be paying us to stay here".

I don't regret having taken any of the quirky little trips and travel adventures we've had over the last two decades.... and general standards seem to be improving in many places due to internet reviews and video blogs, but things still have that 'unique' (shall we say) Philippine twist to them re global tourist norms. Some people call it "charm". Others call it......well, other things not so favorably polite.

If you're from British Columbia, Alaska, or anyplace that has actual mountains with any elevation, don't bother going out of your way to see any tourist 'waterfalls' here because you will either sadly laugh or get PO'd for having taken the time and trouble. 

IMHO

 

Yes...depending on your baseline you will rank the Philippines accordingly.  I'm from the east coast of Scotland and we can access truly excellent spots in an hour or less driving time, mostly natural and not particularly promoted.  Throw in the man-made amenities and we are probably spoilt hence my feeling of being underwhelmed.  That said, on the coastal road to San Juaquin there are some breathtaking mountain views.  I'm just used to being in places where there is an over abundance of cafes/bars/restaurants around the resort hotels.  That being said, maybe that's the beauty of life here.  

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It's the damned garbage strewn everywhere that ruins everything 'natural' here !  :sad:

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12 hours ago, Tommy T. said:

What about the meat pies? None here that I have found yet

Depends where you live. On Monday I had 6 Aussie meat pies, 4 sausage rolls and I think 4 pasties delivered. Made by the aussie baker.

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21 hours ago, manofthecoldland said:

The point of the aforementioned is that although Iloilo City has easy access to Guimaras Island and Negros, once you get out of the city, there is plenty to see and do that most expats

Would love to say that Guimaras is worth visiting but to be honest I found there to be very little of interest. Im happy wandering around islands here, and Bantayan, Siquijor, Camuigin and Camotes are probably the current favourites..but Guimaras...has a week staying in an airbnb in Barangay  Igdarapdap and was fine to leave after 6 days. Others may obviously have a different view of it. I accept that.

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42 minutes ago, Freebie said:

Would love to say that Guimaras is worth visiting but to be honest I found there to be very little of interest. Im happy wandering around islands here, and Bantayan, Siquijor, Camuigin and Camotes are probably the current favourites..but Guimaras...has a week staying in an airbnb in Barangay  Igdarapdap and was fine to leave after 6 days. Others may obviously have a different view of it. I accept that.

Yup.  When we went there in the 2000's the notable sights were mango orchards,  the Trappist monastery, and hard to get to  beach  resorts.  We picked out the Valle Verde Mountain Spring resort, and it was a strange but memorable stay. It was a ridge line resort and to get to the spring fed pool down in the ravine, you had to go down a couple of hundred concrete steps. One of the two middle aged sisters at that time, who own and run the place, guided us down, which I thought was pretty strenuous for her. She and her sister catered to us with typical Filipino extreme kindness. Since we were the only guests, at you could see back up to the ridgetop, we took the opportunity to skinny dip after she left...heh-heh.

We were the only guests at the time. They didn't keep much stock for the resto, so they asked us to look at the menu and order our meals in advance.... so they could go to down and buy the needed items. 

We stayed in one of the nipa huts that had a concrete blocked base for toilet and shower, since it was cheap and away from the lodge/resto. The women brought us a stand fan and mosq. net.

At the time, the pool must have been new, since the area around it was barren. I just checked out their FB page and now it has a huge profusion of tll greenery. But I think they missed the  boat on proper pool maintenance since the warm water in it was murky and I had no intent to use it since it seemed a bacteria breeding colong. I see from a posting 10 years ago, that it was still that way.

The only activity they could suggest was the jungle trail that they had brushed out and marked with high flying pennants up the opposing ridge on the other side of the ravine. Plenty of hiking poles, actually just sticks others had used  before us to aid in the rough climb, and had discarded at the trailhead near the spring pool. I tried swapping my one for a piece of bamboo slash half way up.... and soon discovered that the ants had beaten me to it. Ouch ! Jungle trail lesson learned. At the top of the ridge the trail petered out into someone's goat pasture. Nice view however.

So when we got back, the two sisters brought out our lunch.... a plate containing 15 or so Phillipine hot dogs. I had no idea how they expected us to eat them all. I ate till stuffed but we never could eat all the food they would serve us. I don't know how long they had been in business at the time, but everything seemed weird to me and more like visiting maiden aunts who really want to take care of you and go overboard.

That's what I remember about Guimaras.  

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Delete!  Delete!

@manofthecoldland  I can't get the picture out of my head!  Skinny dipping with a couple of wrinkly old nuns!

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2 minutes ago, OnMyWay said:

Delete!  Delete!

@manofthecoldland  I can't get the picture out of my head!  Skinny dipping with a couple of wrinkly old nuns!

You seem to have misunderstood.  Only and I and my GF at the time, indulged in a bit of freedom. The older woman left us there and climbed the 300 or so steep steps  back up to the distant main building., and only the 2 of us were left to ourselves for the afternoon. Sorry for the inadvertent misery you have suffered. 

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