Let’s open our hearts to new and exciting possibilities such as exploring and knowing our very own places this 2013.
For me, 2012 has been a great year for the City of Iloilo – “my City, my Pride” as the line goes. Ilonggos have seen and have been enjoying developments and progress that go along with peaceful living. Every great city in this world has its own share of history and cultures to promote, but one thing is for sure here in Iloilo and in Western Visayas, “It’s more fun!”
The first photo (above) was taken at Fort San Pedro, one of my personal favorite destinations. This year, it never crossed my mind that it will be rehabilitated. Most of us have been used to seeing it break down through the years. Today, the view of Guimaras Island from this part of Iloilo with the statue of Jesus Christ is just spectacular! The Iloilo River has undergone a drastic improvement too. With the clearing of vessels accumulated over the years on its side, the grandeur of this river can be more appreciated nowadays most especially when watching down below from the rooftop of the New Iloilo City Hall.
The Iloilo River Esplanade is one of Senator Drilon’s major project for Iloilo last year. For 2013, more and more developments & other Govevernment-buildings and roads-widening projects are on the go and some are also on their way to Iloilo and Region Six.
With numerous Heritage buildings being restored within Calle Real or the original Business district of the city, we can’t just take off our eyes on how beautifully these buildings were refurnished most especially the Villanueva building. There is still a great number of buildings in the area that is older than 50 years. For decades, these have been slowly deteriorating and some like the Cacho building were already demolished. The challenge now is for the Iloilo City Cultural Heritage Conservation Council and the City Government plus the private sector to continue working hand-in hand to save and preserve more heritage building and structures in Iloilo City.
With the groundbreaking of the world-class Paraw Regatta Festival-inspired Iloilo Convention Center, all eyes are on Megaworld’s Iloilo Business Park constructions. With the Richmonde Hotel emerging on Mandurriao district’s skyline, we’ll just later see the other projects of Megaworld Corporation and other investors sprout one-by-one within the complex adding more glamour to the city and province’s new lifestyle and business destination. More developments are also on their way to the nearby Diversion road, with Gaisano and Ayala investing in, we’ll see more destinations like SM City Iloilo, Plazuela de Iloilo and Smallville complex in this area.
Away from the hustle and bustle of city life, trips around the charming and captivating provinces within the region can be the best long-term stress reliever you can have. So this year, I really wish to finally visit Mt. Igcabugao at Igbaras, the waterfalls of Lambunao, Sicogon island, Isla de Higantes, other beaches in Antique, Olotayan island in Capiz and other parts of Aklan, Guimaras and Negros Occidental. I’m really grateful to have visited numerous places around the region last year and in one of my dream cities ever- Dumaguete. Spending time alone or with friends and family can just be worthwhile if you enjoy these trips.
Based on some of my experiences and common sense, here are some tips that might actually help you in travelling in Western Visayas or elsewhere: Never expect too much from what you have never seen yet and learn to appreciate even the small things when you get there. Don’t be a visitor but instead, be with them, learn and discover the ways of life of the locals there. Ask when you don’t know. Never ever despise their practice of culture but observe it also. Learn more about their products and try to promote them also when you come home. Say Thank you and really value the efforts of others for you.
To wrap this up 2012 may have ups and downs for me or perhaps all of us. But these travels near or far teach us lessons, gives us more space and time to think over on what’s going on in our lives. A great opportunity to simply unwind and relax with loved ones. I’m very grateful to everyone whom I have meet along the road. People and places do really help shape us to be better persons.
May we all have a wonderful time in our own cities and home and wherever we may go, stay safe always and Have a happy and adventurous New Year to all. God bless the Philippines!