Saturday, December 24, 2005


December 2005:

Panay island in Western Visayas region (region 6) is composed of 4 provinces: Aklan to the north, Capiz to the east, Iloilo to the south, and Antique to the west. Aklan is famous for Boracay island, known worldwide for its very fine, long white sand beach. The provincial capital is Kalibo, famous for the Ati-Atihan festival held during 3rd or 4th weekend of January every year.

I visited Kalibo with my wife Ella and other friends from Manila and Iloilo City who came to our wedding last Dec. 17. We did not have much time to move around the town, we were able to visit only 2 resorts, Sampaguita and Agzam. Sampaguita resort is is another municipality adjacent to Kalibo, along the coastline. It has a number of entertainment centers, from a big swimming pool to aquarium to children's playground to restaurants and cottages. Entrance fee is P50 per head, consumable.

Next place we visited is Agzam resort, really cool place. Coming from Iloilo-Capiz, this is before you reach Kalibo town proper. It has a big swimming pool; bamboo cottages are P500 each, consumable, with neat pillows and curtain. The place attracts lots of foreign tourists.

The road condition in Aklan is generally good. When you reach an arch announcing that you are now in Capiz province, the road suddenly becomes ugly with plenty of potholes. One can easily compare the quality of governance between the two provinces, at least in maintaining a highway. In some parts of Capiz's highway, the road is so bumpy that when it rains, piglets can possibly squeeze in the small pool right in the middle of the road!

After reaching an arch again announcing that you have left Capiz and entered the province of Iloilo, you will notice an improvement in the road condition. Iloilo province is generally flat, unlike Aklan and Capiz, so the roads are straight. You will also notice tall and fully-grown mahogany trees lining the highway, they really help beautify the highway.

Iloilo City, the provincial capital, is a cosmopolitan city. Its sub-districts are huge enough to be equivalent to one municipality in terms of population in the rest of the province. These sub-districts (Lapaz, Jaro, Molo, Manduriao, city proper, etc.) usually have their own public plaza and public market. What makes the city less traffic prone is the 5 bridges that connect the city proper to its sub-districts. Hence, vehicles are dispersed in all 5 bridges in moving to different directions.

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