MOROCCO ROAD TRIP

Morocco is a diverse country to discover, explore and a must place to visit. From its cobbled narrow streets. medieval medina, enchanting places, great architectures, souks line with spicy scents, colorful Moroccan decor, beautiful beaches, glorious Sahara Desert will really leave a lasting memory of your trip

https://travelistajournal.blog/2016/12/20/morocco-three-weeks-itinerary-2/

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UNPLANNED ROAD TRIP – GUIMARAS ISLAND OFF WE GO…

“Go Ahead You Never Know What Could Be On The Other Side”

We did not have a plan to cross the sea and go to Guimaras. Our plan was to go back to Bacolod the following day after our long and tiring trip to GarinFarm and Iloilo City. But an unplanned road trip sometimes is the most thrilling part of adventures right? You don’t know exactly where are you going, just packed your clothes, go and get lost. It doesn’t matter where you go, it’s the experience not the destination that counts.

The last thing we knew, we already boarded a ferry heading to Guimaras Island after our breakfast in the hotel. Guimaras Island is one of the top destinations in the Philippines both by foreign and domestic tourists, especially for nature lovers and adventure seekers like me. The island of Guimaras always stands out as one of the travel destination in the Philippines because of its white sandy beaches, quaint little towns, bike trails, and off shore islets. Guimaras Island is  known as the home of the sweetest mangoes. Just a short trivia. Did you know that Guimaras mangoes earned its reputation as the sweetest mangoes in the world after being served at the White House and Buckingham Palace?

Guimaras is an island province of the Philippines located in the Western Visayas region. It’s capital is Jordan which is the gateway to Guimaras. The island is located in the Panay Gulf, between the islands of Panay and Negros.

Iloilo is the primary gateway to Guimaras. The island province is 15 minutes by motorboat or ferry ( Php14.00 per head) from Parola and Ortiz Wharf in Downtown Iloilo City.

Once we boarded and settled on the boat we took some selfie pictures. 🙂 It was a lovely smooth sailing boat ride. The views are very scenic, at a distance, I saw a large cross on top of one of the islets of Guimaras. I asked the guy setting behind me what it was. He answered “it is a church and you need to climb the steps going up to the top of the mountain and it would take you two hours to go up and another two hours to  come down.” OH MY GOODNESS! I can’t imagine myself taking a trek like that.

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Smile 🙂

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One of the islets  in Guimaras that caught  my attention is the big cross on top of the mountain.
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Inviting blue waters of Guimaras.

After 15 minutes of sailing, we finally arrived at our destination. Upon disembarking, I saw the sign “Welcome to Jordan the gateway to Guimaras”.

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Jordan Wharf the gateway to Guimaras.

At the port entrance there are tricycle drivers, jeepneys and multi-cab operators waiting for passengers. We were  approached by a local  as we disembarked from the boat and were told  we needed to go to their Tourist Information Office to register. Inside there are maps of places you can choose to go and explore. After finalising where we would like to go, I asked one of the drivers  if he could bring us to places where we wanted to see. You need to haggle the price for the transportation.

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A ride for the day to see the island of Guimaras would cost you about PHP1,500.00,  just try to haggle the price. If you do not rent the tricycle for the day, the  fare would be PHP50.00 per head one way.  Renting a tricycle one way may lead to no  tricycles available when it is time to return to the wharf.  The advantage of renting a tricycle as a group the driver would wait for you on your own convenience. I haggle the price for PHP1,000.00 and we both agreed on the price.

The adventure begins…we are on our road trip…yey!!!The road trip going to our destination is very scenic, beautiful dense trees  with some opening in the trees along the road  that provides lovely views of the surrounding landscapes.

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Beautiful scenery on the road
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Lush green forests

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Our first stop is their little plaza or the smallest plaza ever recorded in Guinness Book of World Records. Their little plaza is just a few minutes from the port. The modest statue of Doctor Jose Rizal, our national hero is standing at the center of their plaza surrounded by circular porches.

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Photo not mine. Taken from the internet. We just stopped bye here.
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Photo not mine. Taken from the internet.

Our second stop is the  San Lorenzo Guimaras WindMills. The trip going to the WindMills was quite long, passing lush green towering trees and large mango plantations. The scenery is quite impressive and the road is well maintained. I was impressed at how progressive the little towns of Guimaras is in maintaining their roads.

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The San Lorenzo WindMills, measuring at 80 meters tall and 40 meters wide on the other hand, rise like a skyscraper towering over everything. Each wind turbine blade is capable of generating 2 megawatts of electricity giving a total of 54 megawatts, more than enough to cater 13-megawatts power supply needed for the province. The remaining energy is used to power the neighbouring provinces – Iloilo and Negros Oriental.

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Approaching San Lorenzo WindMills

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After taking pictures in San Lorenzo WindMills we headed to Our Lady of the Philippines Trappist Monastery. This is a peaceful and sacred enclave in Guimaras run by the monks of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance. These monks follow the rule of St. Benedict and are best known for extreme austerity or strictness that characterises their discipline.

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On our way to Our Lady of the Philippines Trappist Monastery
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Water Buffalo cooling of in the river.
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Cow under the tree.

The Trappist Monastery in Guimaras was founded in 1972 and is the only men’s monastery in the Philippines.

The monks earn a living by selling souvenir items and food  such as jellies, jams, candies and playa (is a muscovado-filled unleavened flatbread from the Philippines especially common in Negros Occidental where it originated. It is made by filling dough with a mixture of muscovado and glucose syrup) and more which are sold in their small shop within the monastery grounds. When buying their products you are helping them earn and sustain their living.

It was already noon and our hungry tummies started singing, our driver brought us to the Raymen Beach Resort where we had our lunch. Entrance Fee is Php20.00 per head. As soon as we paid  the entrance fee we headed to their restaurant. It took us so long to call the attention of the waiters before we can order our food. The place was packed of people. The food is good enough to satisfy our angry belly he he.

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Raymen Beach Resort, located in Alubihod Beach, is one of the popular resorts in Guimaras  both for locals and tourists. It has a short white sandy beach surrounded by the inviting blue waters, pristine off-shore islets of Nueva Valencia, Guimaras. This is an excellent jump-off point for Guimaras island hopping tours.

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Our last stop is their  Guimaras Provincial  Capitol before heading back to the wharf in Jordan Guimaras where we posed on their iconic GUIMARAS  touristy spot. I guess you really have to stop here for a picture.

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A souvenir photo with our nice, friendly,, entertaining and smiley  tricycle driver as we bid goodbye to him.

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at the Jordan Wharf before heading back to Iloilo City.
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On our way back to Iloilo City.
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Goodbye Guimaras!

Till the next trip…we will see you again!!!

OUR JOURNEY TO HEAVEN – GARIN FARM

” My home is in heaven. I’m just passing through this world.”

Billy Graham

It was almost noon time when we arrived in GarinFarm, our journey to heaven. Garin Farm is a slice of heaven on earth. I’ve heard a lot of comments and read lots of reviews about this place, so that I wanted to see it with my own eyes.

GarinFarm is a 14 hectare inland resort located in the town of San Joaquin Iloilo. There are no buses in the town of San Joaquin. Buses passing daily in this area are those coming from and going to the province of Antique and of Iloilo. A number of tricycles operate within the municipality. The most common mode of transportation in the poblacion is trisikad ( The cycle rickshaw is a small-scale local means of transport; it is also known by a variety of other names such as bike, pedicabs, cyclo or trishaw).

GarinFarm is a perfect place for family, friends or people who love nature, outdoor activities and educational travel in matters like farming and agriculture. This is a great place to relax, retreat and meditate as well while bringing yourself closer to nature and to our almighty creator.
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Upon entering the gates, you can smell the smells of the farm life. Along the way you can see ducks, chickens, goats, rabbits and water buffalos as you walk through the pavement of their hanging gardens. The uphill walk inside GarinFarm leading to the heart of the place where the pavilion is located was a bit tiring but fun. Walk, smile, and think of happy thoughts as we continue our journey to heaven. As we all know, entering the gate of heaven will not be easy. 🙂

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Hanging Gardens

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After the long walk, your eyes will be in awe by the breathtaking view of the place. There is a wide swimming pool for adults and children and a large artificial lagoon for kayaking, fishing, horse-back riding, all terrain bikes, ziplines and a lot more.

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Photo not mine. Taken from the internet.

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One of the main attraction of the GarinFarm is their Pilgrimage site located at the heart of the farm. It has a huge stone façade leading to the 456 steps towards the Divine Mercy Cross. Going up to the Divine Mercy Cross would be a great way to lose some calories and fats.  As I climb the steps my legs are a bit shaky but keep on telling myself go Tess go..You can do it. It was hot and the angry sun started to cause my skin to feel hot as if it was burning. I almost wanted to give up. But there’s no reason to give up. Our hardest time often lead to the greatest moments of our life. I should try to take the most of it. As we reached the top I was sweating but with a big smile on my face. Hurray! Finally we made it! I made it!

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A breathtaking view at the top

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As you climb take time to stop and meditate on different scenes of  Christ’s life.

Reaching the top was a very satisfying moment for us, as we finally reached the inspiring Divine Mercy Cross and seeing  the big image of the Divine Mercy was a great relief.

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From here you need to enter the meditation tunnel leading to the gate of heaven.

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As we step inside the meditation tunnel you have this feeling of being drawn into darkness. It was total darkness. We can not hardly see each other, I need to grab the hand of my friend as she leads me towards the end of the tunnel until reaching a realm of radiant white light.

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Towards the end of the tunnel.

As the light appears and the tunnel takes you toward the light and into heaven. HEAVEN ON EARTH! The place is so bright that we could hardly open our eyes. I had to shield my eyes from it until my eyes adjusted to the brightness. The light filled me with rapture of love, peace and joy, it was so intense and so beautiful.

There are angels blowing their trumpets who stand beyond the gate of heaven as you can see the Throne of Light and Glory. The heaven is so beautiful, my heart felt very peaceful.

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Our trip to GarinFarm was truly a memorable one. A beautiful, idyllic slice of HEAVEN!

Direction:

From Iloilo International Airport:

  • Take the Shuttle Bus going to SM City, Iloilo
  • From SM City, Iloilo, take the SM Manduriao jeepney and take a stop at the nearby intersection under the overpass and ride the Oton bound jeep going to the jeepney terminal located in Mohon, Oton.
  • In Mohon Oton Terminal, there will be several San Joaquin jeepneys ready to take you to GarinFarm for PHP60.00.

From Iloilo City Proper:

  • Take the San Joaquin bound jeepney from Super terminal, Iloilo City.
  • You  can also take buses going to Anini-y or Dao Antique in Molo Terminal. Tell the bus driver conductor to drop you off in San Joaquin

From San Joaquin Town Proper:

  • Take a tricycle ride and tell the driver to take you to GarinFarm, Brgy. Huna. Brgy. Huna is a 2-minute ride from San Joaquin town proper.

For Private Transportation:

  • San Joaquin is the last town in the southern part of Iloilo
  • Driving  along Iloilo-Antique National Road would get you in San Joaquin in about an hour
  • There will be signage and billboards directions along the highway going to GarinFarm to guide you.

TIPS IN VISITING GARIN FARM SAN JOAQUIN:

  • Bring umbrellas, hats,  sunblock, shades and other protection you can against the sun. However, I suggest better to go there as early as possible before noon time. Noon time would be so hot. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated while climbing the stairs going to the Divine Mercy Cross.
  • Bring extra budget if you plan to try their leisure activities. The entrance fee is not consumable.
  • Enjoy the scenery

ENTRANCE FEE:

  • PHP150.00 per person excluding children 1-year-old
  • Senior citizen discount; applicable to cardholders only. Strictly no outside food and drinks allowed.) Food and drinks available in the pavilion.

From the entrance you can walk going up to the pavilion and explore the agricultural products along the way ( just bring your umbrella). For those who can’t afford to walk under the heat of the sun, you can take a ride in the Golf Cart (3 pax/ride): Entrance to Pavilion is PHP60.00; Pavilion to Cross: PHP90.00.

ACTIVITIES AND AMENITIES:

  • Executive Conference Room (15-20 pax): PHP2,500.00
  • Hilltop Swimming Pool – PHP80.00
  • Hilltop Horseback Riding – PHP60.00
  • Biplane (300 meters -2 rounds): Sitting -PHP250.00 and Superman PHP350.00
  • Hilltop Boating: (Single Kayak -PHP40.00; Double Kayak – PHP90.00; Pedal Boat-PHP90.00; Rubber Boat – PHP120.00)
  • Hilltop Fishing: PHP30.00/kilo
  • Billiard: PHP60.00/hour
  • Restaurant
  • Canteen
  • WiFi Access
  • Laundry Service
  • 24-Hour Security
  • 24-Hour Electricity

ROOM RATES:

  • Hilltop Family Room: PHP3,500.00
  • Hilltop Twin Room: PHP2,500.00
  • Hilltop Single Room: PHP 1,500.00

***Extra Bed: PHP350.00 with breakfast; PHP250.00 without breakfast. Available for Family and Twin Rooms only and limited to 2 extra beds.

*** Check-in guests have complementary breakfast and a free use of the hilltop pool.

For inquiries and reservations please contact Garin Farm San Joaquin

  • Telephone Number: + 63 033 314 75 55
  • Mobile Number: + 63 916 667 6851

or visit their Facebook Page: Facebook.com/GarinFarmInlandResort

Website: http://www.garinfarm.com