Iloilo & Guimaras Day 3 (PM) 

Iloilo Day 2

Upon returning from Guimaras (around 2:30 p.m.), we decided we still had time and energy to go site seeing. Our first stop was Jaro Cathedral and Plaza. A picture of the Jaro Tower was prominently displayed at Chika.An and my mother-in-law was very interested in seeing it (since we had already crossed off Molo Church off our list). We weren’t permitted to enter the church as we were wearing shorts and showing excessive skin was prohibited. So we took a few pictures outside and visited the Jaro Plaza market area. We didn’t stay long and actually briskedly walked straight through it. The market mostly consisted of ukay-ukays (used clothes) shops and food. But we were on a mission to hit as many stops as possible.

We then took a taxi to the River Esplanade. This was actually my number one destinaion as I wanted to go somewhere iconic, non-commercial, and family friendly. We were supposed to go on the first day, but due to drizzling we postponed the trip. We arrived at the esplanade around 4:30 p.m., right before sunset. It was still hot and the sun was in our eyes as we were walking down the path, but I still enjoyed it immensely. The place was clean and the river didn’t smell of anything fowl. There was a nice breeze and several people were taking advantage of the path. We saw several joggers and high schoolers practicing their dance routine. Overall, I enjoyed the River Esplanade. Fortunately for me, my experience wasn’t spoiled because I nearly got in trouble for nibbling on my daughter’s biscuit. I was gently told that eating inside the premises was not permitted, so I quickly threw away the remainder of the biscuits.

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At the end of our walk, we decided to head to SM City for dinner. We grabbed a taxi and headed north. My wife had googled places to eat and she suggested we go to Plazuela, which is right next to SM City, as there were restaurants that served seafood. Plazuela itself is quite nice. They have a courtyard in the back that they converted into a small market place. They had statues of Pikachu and the Minions that we could take photographs with. It’s a family friendly place and was more attractive compared to SM, which seemed nearly identical to the other SMs.

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We decided on a restaurant called Ponsyon by Breakthrough. Their menu is very Ilocano, so we were able to try some local dishes. But our favorite thing about the place was their cheap baked oysters. We got 11 oysters for 135 pesos. And they were really good. We were tempted to buy more. We also ordered sizzling crab (sisig style), sinigang hipon (shrimp), and puso ng saging dish (no direct translation — literal translation is heart of a banana). We also ordered fruit shakes. But if you ever go there, order the baked oysters.

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