Text and photos by: Bombette G. Marin
The province of Iloilo is home to some of the most beautiful mountain scenery for hiking, historic towns to explore, beaches to walk upon and local delicacies to taste. It also boasts of many jaw-dropping mountain landscapes that are popular to travelers and visitors of Iloilo.
What more can you ask for? Lace-up your hiking boots and head to the country roads. If you are interested in hiking around the province, consider travelling to these destinations.
It is an old town in the southern portion of the province that is famous for hand-loom weaving. The town has a rich history and plenty of scenic landscapes that makes it a must-visit destination when in the province.
Situated in the southern portion of the province, it is 40.5 kilometers away or an hour drive from the city. The town has extraordinary natural attractions; you will see terraced rice farms growing up the mountainsides, lush greenery, and picturesque villages.
Ongyod, a highland barangay characterized by hills with open meadows, offers hikers a dramatic experience on trekking routes with occasional climbing. It has a pine tree reserve that offers wide shades of thick pine trees where visitors can take a rest before proceeding to the next attraction that includes Gi-ub ni Tidoy, a dome-like coral rock formation situated in the middle of a rice field. This rock formation is as big as a 3-storey building where visitors can climb to the top and enjoy the scenic view around the area.
The Sinuhotan Cave situated further in Unop is another attraction not to be missed.
If you want a unique nature experience, then this town is a must-see. Situated in the southwestern portion of the province, it is less than an hours drive from the city. 21 kilometers from the town center is Bucari, dubbed the Summer Capital of Iloilo.
Bucari, with terrains ranging from hilly to mountainous covers 500 hectares of the towns forestlands. It is made up of three barangays namely, Bucari, Camandag and Danao. The Bucari Campsite, which is elevated 773 meters above sea level, has appealing scenery with an explosion of greens saturated by Benguet pine trees that covers the entire area. Bucari offers a plethora of activities for its visitors that include a trek to Mansiga Viewing Deck situated 863 meters above sea level, swimming in Imoy Falls, ATV rides, Horseback riding, rock climbing, camping, marketing organic fruits and vegetables and tasting its local cuisine, Linagpang nga Manok. It has cottages for overnight stay as well.
The town has one of the best long-distance hiking trails in the province. Situated in the southwestern portion of the province, the town is 40 kilometers away or an hour drive from the city. It is characterized by trails crisscrossing all over its upland barangays with adventurous routes for hikers seeking something different.
Located 14 kilometers away from the poblacion and accessed by motorcycle, a downhill trek is needed from the visitor center in the area to Igaabugao Falls, the smallest in Igbaras with rock formations enveloping the cool and clear waters coming from Igbolo Creek. Not far is the Igcabugao Cave, a favorite of spelunkers, where they will surely enjoy the vastness and richness of its underground basins that houses a number of cave creatures, splendid formation of stalagmites and stalactites that sparkle like crystals. The cave is a downhill walk on a rocky track where tremendous rock formations frame its way.
Igcabugao is also a popular campground for local tourists because it has some of Iloilos richest series of exceptionally beautiful forested mountains, from lowlands to highlands, large enough to preserve the integrity of the towns ecosystem. It is home to the worlds largest individual flower, the Rafflesia. There is plenty still left to discover in Igcabugao, especially if you are willing to go off the beaten track on two feet.
The trails are breathtaking, unforgettable, one of the most beautiful hikes in Iloilo. Trekking here presents a spectacular setting of verdant hills and luxuriant vegetation in all shades of green that produces high yielding crops such as cauliflower, carrots, broccoli and even strawberries. The town is situated in the south-central portion of the province, 24.6 kilometers away or a forty-minute drive from the city.
Reaching the Seven Cities on steep hills is a cinch because of the cool weather. It has a surprisingly diverse and inspiring terrain getting to the seven barangays or villages located in its upland barangays are linked to the Bucari mountain range of Leon. The area has thick rainforest, diverse wildlife and plants with attractions like caves, steep cliffs, waterfalls, various rock formations and rice terraces. It is a great place to get lost and enjoy some of the local culture.
An isolated agricultural town with a mountainous location and offers a taste of pre-tourist-boom life, connecting itself with the rest of the towns in the First District of the Province. It is situated in the southwestern portion of the province, 41.1 kilometers away from the city.
Charming sceneries dominated by verdant mountains where locals and visitors can spend the day wandering on elevated trails. Approximately 11.1 kilometers away from the town center, passing through seven barangays is the scenic and peaceful upland barangay of Igtuble, a boundary barangay of the towns of Igbaras, Tubungan and Leon. The area takes pride of their rich organic produce such as corn, banana, coconut, sweet potato, carrots, peanuts and papaya.
But the real charm of this barangay is its cave, rock formations and waterfalls. Most visited is the Bato-Sumpit Falls, a 45-minute medium hike trail is required to get there.
For Iloilo, respect for nature is a priority and we offer travelers an unforgettable experience. Discover exceptional landscapes and untouched nature and treat yourself to unforgettable moments.
For more information, please contact the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism at (033) 3384910.