✈ Cagayan de Oro → Iloilo 2018 — via AirAsia + 2-Day Itinerary

I've been travelling and blogging for many years now and both are realized because of my own earnings and efforts. I'm proud of this fact. Then again, I have always dreamt to go on a sponsored flight and who knew - I most certainly didn't - that it will come true sooner than I expected!


AirAsia is now back in Cagayan de Oro with 4 destinations: Manila, Cebu, Clark and Iloilo. Together with my CDO Bloggers family, I flew to the latter city on their inaugural flight on October 30, 2018.


It was originally not my first flight with AirAsia; I had one booked for November but well, look how things work, huh~ And here's another blessing: yours truly just won a ROUNDTRIP ticket to any local destination from CDO! Clark was my choice (backed up by the cheering of my co-bloggers) since "Hot air balloon!" came to mind 💡

I am sooo NOT lucky when it comes to raffles and the like. But it was a speed thing and I was apparently the fastest, plus I got the answer right. Thank you, PIA WURTZBACH-nim! 😘 (Srsly, it is when I don't expect that significant stuff happen to me. Ugh, reverse psychology? What happened to law of attraction? * rolls eyes* Okay, segue. Let's go back.) Imma show you how happily awkward I was:

Was onboard the inaugural flight of AirAsia from Cagayan de Oro to Iloilo and what are the odds, I won their game and...
Posted by Happy Heights: Blog by Pearly on Tuesday, October 30, 2018

As of now, I haven't heard from AirAsia yet. Boohoo. They asked for my contact information then though... Anyways, I can't wait to hear from them soon! I gotta see them hot air balloons, after all. *winks*


Now on to my trip in Iloilo... This was already my 2nd time. See below blog posts for more:
This time around, I envisioned NOT going to Gigantes again because duh, I've been there. But I honestly needed a stint at the beach. When did I not need it?? So between a city food trip vs the beach albeit a repeat one, I picked the latter. Trust me though, I was torn. Ses Angel also wanted Isla de Gigantes and t'was a big factor. This was our 1st major travel together, in case you didn't know~

Here are the spots we were able to go to in such a short time and thankfully, there were new ones I got to cover.


• Molo Church
• Molo Plaza
• Molo Mansion
• Iloilo Esplanade
• Casa de Emperador
• Tatoy's Manokan and Seafoods

A number of us were settled at Arthur Suites at General Luna St. Our room was as you see below and that's for 5 of us. There are 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, living room and a comfort room. It's basically a house. Not to mention the location is superb; it's by the main road and there are restaurants, convenience stores, ATMs nearby.


After check in and lunch, we were supposed to go to Garin Farm. I was so hyped to visit the place since my work barkada and I weren't able to squeeze it in last time. And alas, it happened again. Does Iloilo want me to keep coming back?? As much as my / our plan didn't materialize, we just made do by exploring what was nearby and accessible. Garin was a good 2 hours; basically, we'd get there when it could be nighttime and the experience wouldn't be the same if it's bright and all.

 Molo Church 

This is the most visually appealing church I've seen in my life. I'm not even kidding. So far, that is, because of course if I've seen the churches in Rome, I would stand corrected (blah blah). I know church-hopping is a thing in Iloilo but this is the only one we got to see and this alone leaves me in awe. Well, I will church-hop next time for sure.


 Molo Plaza 

Just across is the plaza. It's said to be recently renovated and now with a gazebo adorned with six statues of Greek goddesses: Aphrodite (love and beauty), Athena (war), Artemis (wilderness, hunt and fertility), Demeter (agriculture), Hera (marriage), and Hestia (domesticity).

I noticed a lot of students hanging out here; maybe there's a school nearby?

 Molo Mansion 

In front of the plaza is the Molo Mansion. Just cross the street and you'll get there.


The Molo Mansion Cafe serves Blue Ternate flower ice cream, authentic Pancit Molo and old-fashion Dinuguan. We were supposed to eat some ice cream, but it was sold out!! Huhuhu

 Iloilo Esplanade 

It was already dark at this time so we just took some shots and then off we went to eat. Nothing better to signify my being in Iloilo, right?

 Casa De Emperador 

Oh, one stopover before dinner! I initially thought this was a mall just with a stunning archaic design but Casa De Emperador is actually a building that houses the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art (ILOMOCA).

 Tatoy's Manokan and Seafoods 

My co-bloggers have done their research (this was an 'I'll just-follow-everyone' trip, so unlike me) and brought us to Tatoy's. We got us some crab meat - sisig style. It was my first time trying it out. But I think the whole experience of eating crab from its body / shell is better~ Their serving, by the way, is generous and it's for 350+ PHP.


Looking back, we didn't get to taste their chicken. Let me correct: we only visited Tatoy's Seafoods? Lels


Early start at 3 or 4AM? This was a hella long road trip that I was not excited about... 

Before arrival in Bancal port in Carles, this was a sunrise to behold. Manong Driver was conscious enough to stop and let us take some proper shots~ He's sure seen us keep shoving our cameras to the windows to document.

With ses after breakfast~
Personal expense was spent at the port for breakfast and by 8AM, off we went in the following order:

• Isla Pulupandan
• Cabugao Gamay
• Bantigue Sandbar
• Antonia Beach
• Little Boracay
• Isla Gigantes

I've been to 4 of the above (Cabugao, Bantigue, Antonia, Gigantes) so it's nice there were other islands new for this repeat performance. Lels

This was a day tour with an agency and it cost us 999 PHP per head. This didn't include the transpo from our accommodation to Carles, which cost us 500+ for roundtrip. Not bad but we were srsly strapped for time. The island hopping was almost a literal hop~ Oh, and the other big reason I was convinced to go back to Isla de Gigantes? It was the Tangke Lagoon. Unfortunately (and I say this with immense disappointment), it was closed for rehabilitation until that day of our visit. The lagoon was to open the next day, November 1, 2018. My timing sucks, eh!?

 Isla Pulupandan 

If you see this lone coconut tree, Pulupandan Islet is your destination. Mind you, this tree was the only survivor from Typhoon Yolanda. It's really a small island and with not much shade, as you can see.

The above picture was such a hit on my Facebook wall when I posted it with the caption, "Madam, nabili na po namin ang isla." I srsly thought this was blurred but guess not~ I like them candid stuff.

Rock formations were scattered around. There was a spot we wanted to mowdel on but time just wasn't enough. Thirty minutes went by so fast!

 Cabugao Gamay Island 

Oh, hello again! I expected this to be our last stop because it would've been nice to end the day's itinerary with THE icon but oh, well... Anyhoo, this was already my 2nd time. *shrugs*

In all fairness, the stairway up the view deck has improved! Steps are cemented already and barriers / handles are made of bamboo

Thanks, sir Clement of Best Spots PH, for this snap! And also these here:


With the CDO Bloggers team! It's such a commotion (of course, the good kind) having your photo taken here. You have to have your poses ready because yall, you don't have all day - well, unless you have the luxury to do so like you're staying overnight~

 Bantigue Sandbar 

The sandbar can be seen from Cabugao Gamay Island. You can sneak a peak while you're waiting for your turn on the pose deck!?

Just enjoyed a dip there~ A vendor sold ice candy too and thank God, the heat was just unbearable!

 Antonia Beach 

As I've mentioned, I've been here before, so there wasn't anything fresh to my eyes. This time though, we didn't go far from the boat. Some went on the jet ski! I was sooo envious

 Little Boracay 

How do you define little? This part was srsly little - I don't know if I should feel overwhelmed or underwhelmed. Lels swam some more since this was our last stop before lunch at the mainland.


 Isla Gigantes 

Short but sweet, right? I think this was already past noon so we were definitely hangry~ (Okay, I remember I made a post and used 'hangry' then someone commented and *corrected* me that it's supposed to be 'hungry'. OMG, can I laugh???? Hahahahaha hangry = hungry + angry. FYI)


Unli seafoods were served for lunch. They were delicious but it would've been more sumptious if there were crabs and prawns, personally~ I think this was one of the differences of the package I got before for my dzais and dzongs (also the 2 new islands). Overall, for a day tour, it was a pleasant and convenient experience!

I think we got back to mainland by 8PM? As it was our last day in Iloilo, we had to get some batchoy into our stomachs! I don't know why and how but we walked to a branch of TED's near SM~ Well, not before stopping by a food stall for some fishball! Street food made up for all the walking.

And at TED's, here's our batchoy!


Disclaimer (again and again), I am not a foodie so there's no real judgment on food. I don't eat (much) batchoy back home and as much as this was authentic, I just can't tell. Anyhoo, it surely warmed my stomach especially that I was feeling a bit queasy from the long road trip.


The plan was to wake up REALLY early but the activities the day before just had me knocked out. I woke up around 5AM though, decided it was still too early and succumbed to getting more shut-eye. "I'm not into pasalubong shopping anyway," my subconscious reasoned.

Waking up again by 7AM got me all panicky though (we decided 6 and flight's at 12NN). Good thing I packed everything last night because I just knew sleep will win over me by morning. Genius. I self-proclaimed it, yall. Still, we were able to catch up with the others and what have you, this girl bought some pasalubong. I just betrayed my subconscious.

• The Original Biscocho Haus
• Roberto's Siopao

Credits to Miki of The Gourmand Geek~ He was the one who navigated us to these iconic food places! 👏


The siopao served us my breakfast and it is very much enough for this not-so-big eater. It's definitely different; aside from its size, it's just fully loaded with meat and other ingredients. It's a hearty meal! If only all siopaos are like this... Well, this just means this siopao in Roberto's is one to stop by and devour. Even for Bring Home! winks (Ugh, I wish I did.)

Yo, this wouldn't be an experience to share without AirAsia! You've got a direct flight to the City of Love now so it can be easily ticked off the bucket list. Once more, thank youuu, AirAsia!

Have you been to Iloilo? How was your trip? Any more remarkable sites to visit? Garin Farm and Tangke Lagoon still haunt me to this day. Lels see you when I see you, Iloilo!


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