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I was slowly making my way south from the famous Boracay Island to Guimaras Island.
Iloilo City was my next and last stop on the way.
HOTEL TO ROXAS BUS TERMINAL:
As with almost all Philippines cities, the bus terminal is on the outskirts of town. The Iloilo City Bus Terminal is about 5 kms from city centre.
I already knew from my trip from Boracay to Roxas City that the Tribike fare from the Bus Terminal to my Hotel was PHP50.
I did not ask my hotel to book me a Tribike; when you do, you always pay a premium (no doubt there are ‘kick-backs’ involved).
I walked out of my hotel to the street at 9:00am and flagged down a passing Tribike. I offered him PHP50; he accepted immediately.
The ride to the Bus Terminal took about 15 minutes and he dropped me off next to the buses heading for Iloilo.
AIRCON BUS TO ILOILO CITY:
I was approached immediately by a steward who asked me where I was going.
He asked if I wanted ‘standard’ or ‘aircon’. I said aircon, and he led me to a waiting bus and loaded my bags into storage. It was 9:20am.
BUS TO ILOILO CITY BUS TERMINAL:
The bus was a reasonable but not to ‘western’ standard. The seats were basic and did not recline. But, the aircon worked and they had piped music.
The conductor collects fares on the bus and hands out your ticket. The ticket to Iloilo City was PHP165.
As we left Roxas I got an SMS from Globe, my mobile service provider: my 1 month plan had run out and I had no data connection. Oops … I was going to have to get to my Iloilo Hotel ‘blind’ … Talk about bad timing!
My journey took 3 hours (it can take 3.5-4.0 depending on conditions); there are no ‘comfort stops’ on the way. At some stops, locals board the bus and sell snacks (like peanuts and water) if you need them.
The Iloilo City Bus Terminal is about 5 kms south of city centre.
ILOILO CITY BUS TERMINAL TO MY HOTEL:
As you disembark the bus, there are Jeepneys waiting.
You will also be approached by Tribike drivers; the Tribike to my hotel was quoted at PHP200. My hotel was 5 to 6 kms away. My rule of thumb would put this Tribike at a maximum of PHP70. I am sure that I could have negotiated him down (perhaps to PHP100) but I decided to take the Jeepney.
I jumped on the next Jeepney and stayed at the back near the exit with my luggage; It would have been difficult getting off otherwise.
I asked the Filipino next to me what the fare was to the city; he said PHP12. On a Jeepney you just ask people to pass your money down to the driver. I sent down PHP15 and flagged away the change with a smile when he looked at me.
Few people seem to know that, on Android Smartphones (I don’t know about Apple), you can use Google Maps without having a data plan. Did you?
I had no idea where the Jeepney was going, so I turned on my GPS and opened Google Maps. The map detail wouldn’t update (no data connection), but I had enough detail to track my progress into town.
My hotel was the Riverside Inn and I, sort-of, remembered where it was … I waited and tracked the Jeepney on GPS. When we crossed a river that looked near to my hotel, I got off.
I popped into the Mall across the road, loaded PHP1000 onto my smartphone, and re-signed up to my data plan.
A quick re-boot and back into Google Maps revealed that I was 400m from my hotel. An easy walk. I was checked in to my hotel by 2pm; a door-to-door journey of 5 hours.
MY HOTEL – RIVERSIDE INN:
I was only staying for a total of 3 nights, so I booked all 3 nights in advance.
There was no point in ‘mucking around’.
I found the best priced hotel (the RIVERSIDE INN) on AGODA.
I chose the Riverside because it is close to the Old Town part of Iloilo where I hoped to find the most interesting things.
I paid a ‘discounted’ rate of PHP728 / night for a Single Room excluding breakfast.
I had no intention of writing up Iloilo City as a GRANDPAcking Destination – so, there was no point in paying the extra for a Double.
The room, itself, was adequate and came with aircon, desk, cable TV and a small wardrobe.
The ensuite was also reasonable and clean with a hot water shower that had plenty of water pressure (which made a pleasant change).
However, the in-room wi-fi was poor and I struggled to get a decent connection.
It just goes to show what a good price I got at the Blue Pirates Budget Resort in Boracay.
The trip from Roxas City to Iloilo City is an easy one.
If you leave Roxas at 9:00am, you should get to your Iloilo City hotel by 2:00pm for immediate check-in.
I have nothing good to say about Iloilo. I stayed there 3 nights and didn’t enjoy one minute. It’s a boring, grubby place.
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