Sharing all things about pet-friendly travels and full-time work from home setup

Changed my domain to mariaronabeltran dot com!

This will be the most “emotional” post I have had so far. I feel like a part of me died. I am like a kid who is crying nonstop because her favorite toy was taken away from her. My blog domain that I’ve been using for years now belongs to somebody else. My traffic is back to zero. My blog posts that are ranking one and two in google are not visible anymore. These posts are priceless to me because these are reasons that give life to my blog. I mean what is the use of a blog without readers? One of the posts also fueled me to start offering a local tour package after receiving a growing number of email inquiries. I have already attended a one day seminar on how to set- up this kind of business even in the early stages of having this registered legally. My visit to Vigan this Nov 6 – 9 will also be meeting with my partner tour guide to get to make all things clear professional-wise aside from attending an international conference on cultural tourism. I have so much, so much more plans for this blog and now I feel like all things freeze for a while!

Iloilo Tourist Spots: Where to go, what to do and what to eat

If you only have a whole day to explore Iloilo like me when I went there, then this post is for you. Start by tasting Iloilo’s cuisine through a breakfast of an authentic La Paz Batchoy (noodle soup, garnished with pork innards, crushed pork cracklings, vegetables, shrimp, chicken breast or beef loin, shrimp broth, chicken stock and round noodles or miki) either at Ted’s or Deco’s. These restaurants have been around early as in the 19th century and can be found all over the city. The management may not even care about their stiff competition that in front of SM Iloilo, they are next to each other! So clueless which is better I stepped inside Deco’s and yes one big bowl of this soup plus a small complimentary bowl of the same soup in case you want more is enough to strengthen you for any physical activity until you reach lunch.

For Bacolod tour, Iloilo and Guimaras tour inquiries, please email 
1. Let us know how many people are joining
2. Your complete flight details: TIME and DATE of arrival and departure 

la paz batchoy in iloilo

la paz batchoy in iloilo
After taking a heavy breakfast I am sure you’re now ready to get lost in Iloilo! First, head to the Provincial Capitol’s Tourism Office for information because Iloilo has lots to see so take some time to reflect which ones are worth your time and interest. What is your Iloilo visit if you won’t see the Saint Thomas Villanueva parish or the Miag-ao Church? It is said to be the only church in the Philippines that is showcasing a painting of a biological façade of 4 local plants in its upper front part. The Miag-ao Church is also one of the five Baroque Churches of the Philippines that is a Philippine World Heritage Site accredited by UNESCO. Like most of our heritage churches it is also a restored version and is situated in the town’s proper, not from where it’s originally located.

Miag-ao Church iloilo

Miag-ao Church iloiloYour next stop will be two old houses along the way back to the town’s centro : Bahay na Bato and Mamay’s Sinamay. Just tell the driver of the jeep or bus you are in he surely knows these places because they are located next to each other. Bahay na Bato in English literally translated as Stone House is another ancestral house that opens its door to anyone. If you go there in a group of more than 5 if I am not mistaken, they can cook tsokolate (hot chocolate from cacao) and home-made bread for P150 each and with pancit molo for P200 each.

Mamay’s Sinamay iloilo

old house in iloiloJust a few cartwheels away is the Mamay’s Sinamay that sells local hand-woven stuffs like shawls, shirts, skirts, & handkerchiefs etc that are only done by senior citizens in the area. According to the Tourism Officer I spoke with, the management preferred hiring the elders to do this work because they tend to do it more superb than the young ones. If you wish so you can tell the one in charge in there and take you to their place where the elders do their stuff. One laminated letter caught my attention that is hanging in the walls of this old house is a letter from Princess Diana acknowledging that she received and she liked one of the stuff that was given to her from Mamay’s Sinamay! What is so beautiful about this old house is it still a home to the owners of the house so not all of the parts can be visited there are off-limits to the public.

Love n Kisses Pizza iloilo
There is also a local pizza store that caught my stomach when I was in Iloilo that in my two days I was buying their pizza from morning snack then I go back before I go to sleep after I am done with my dinner! There is nothing super duper unique with their pizza just that it is filled with grated cheese. The name is Love n Kisses Pizza. The clerk that I think I made friends in two days said that they don’t have website yet and just have 4 stores in Iloilo yet.

Check these spots I want you to see and find out 

Nuestra Señora dela Candelaria National Shrine
It is said the only church in the Philippines where the bell tower is located the farthest in the other side of the street! The reasons is its strategic location for watching any incoming enemies say the Morros that time from on top of the tower.

Nuestra Señora dela Candelaria National Shrine

Iloilo Museum
Just two blocks away from the Provincial Capitol's Tourism Office. If you want to have a few minute glance of Iloilo's history you may drop by here.

Iloilo Museum

Javellana Old House or Casa Mariqui
This is a home to two paintings which costs P17M and P13M respectively. One of it was painted by the National Artist Fernando Amorsolo.

Molo or the "Athens of Iloilo"
You’re correct! This place has a few resemblance of the Athens in Greece that is why it is nicknamed this way. There is a church here that the statues are ALL female saints only. Feminist church eh? And yes I read your mind as well. There is also a church that features ALL male saints but this is not located here, it is near the Ledesma Old house and Lopez Jaena museum.

Nelly’s Garden
A very old classic and romantic mansion that can be rented privately but need to notify the management three days prior so if you got an extra money to impress your loved one or your love ones this is a perfect place.

Biscocho Haus
This house is a one-stop shop. They offer affordable and great tasting breads for pasalubong and in the other side they also offer authentic Iloilo meals and snacks. At the back, gatherings and events can be held. In the second floor, rooms for as low as P600 are available. Take note: you will be staying in a Filipino ancestral-style home now that experience is one of a kind.

Biscocho Haus iloilo

One cannot talk about Iloilo without adding its own streaks of festivals. It is only in Iloilo that festivals are celebrated back to back all year round. They have Kasag Festival, Carabao Carroza Festival, Tinuom Festival, Kahilwayan Festival, Pintados de Pasi Festival and the most popular is the Dinagyang Festival.

Iloilo is also very rich in eco-tourism adventure because it is graced with abundance of natural resources. You may check Sambrano Cave in Barutac Nuevo, Imoy Falls in Leon and Marbuena Resort in Ajuy. When it comes to beaches well Iloilo won’t be behind. See the Bulubadiangan Island, Pan de Azucar and Tambaliza Island in Concepcion, Betita beach in Carles and Gigantes Island.

How to go to Iloilo
From Manila to Iloilo via airplane is approximately an hour. The New Iloilo Airport is in Cabatuan about 18 km from the city proper and accessible to jeepneys, busses and taxis. Iloilo City is where the port of entry for sea transport is located and five minutes away from the city’s main commercial district. Iloilo City is 20 hours from Manila sailing 12 times a weeks and 14 hours twice a week from Zamboanga or Cagayan. Cebu is only 12 hours with daily trips. Fastcrafts from Bacolod City takes only an hour at most.

Travel Massive Manila 1st Meetup Review

The Travel Massive Manila meetup was filled with familiar faces that I have met from joining previous events (blogging, entrepreneurship, travel, internet marketing etc) and I know I will keep on bumping shoulders with them in coming events . What made me more excited that night is listening to Ian Cummings, co-founder of Travel Massive. I listened carefully even went nearer in front as he tells us how he started this event and how it became a worldwide gathering of the whole travel industry for sharing of experiences and ideas. He is the founder of GetFlight, an Australian-based airfare search site that uses the Google Maps API to help users discover cheap airfare to global destinations. One thing that I admired about it is the entire site is built, operated, and maintained by Ian alone!  My  visit to Colab Manila – a coworking space that is into entrepreneurship and collaboration early this year has left me a big question mark when I got home that day up to now and this is… “What do I want? Have my own business or work under someone else for the rest of my life?”

Travel Massive in Manila, 1st Meetup Oct 16th 6PM - 9PM

"Established in 2009 by travel enthusiasts Ian Cummings and Alicia Smith, Travel Massive has become a leading global movement , which aims to bring stakeholders in the travel industry-airlines, hotels, online websites, start-ups, writers and travel aficionados , in one venue to discuss possible synergy and partnershipopportunities." Lois of

A millisecond after reading this, my heartbeat beat faster. Boy, this is the kinds of events I want to be part of. I have always been on the lookup for events "getting into fun projects to bring people together for collaboration,networking... " as she continues giving hints of what is going to happen at Travel Massive Manila.

ICOMOS ICTC International Conference on Cultural Tourism - Nov 7-8, 2012

ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) is an international non-governmental organization of professionals, dedicated to the conservation of the world's historic monuments and sites. According to its website, ICOMOS works for the conservation and protection of cultural heritage places. It is the only global non-government organisation of this kind, which is dedicated to promoting the application of theory, methodology, and scientific techniques to the conservation of the architectural and archaeological heritage. Its members are mostly architects, historians, archaeologists, art historians, geographers, anthropologists, engineers and town planners etc to improve the preservation of heritage, the standards and the techniques for each type of cultural heritage property : buildings, historic cities, cultural landscapes and archaeological sites.

What Have I Been Up To Lately?

 Since my return from Iloilo, Bacolod and Guimaras Island I have been quite occupied for so many reasons that sometimes I ask "ganito na lang ba iikot ang buhay ko... bahay, trabaho, online at pag weekends ay punta ng mall, magliwaliw kung saan at mag online uli? or in English "Will my life be as redundant as... on weekdays house, office, online and on weekends go to mall, wander anywhere and online again?" I have tons of photos but I have not completed my blog posts from my recent travel because I am losing out of concentration whenever I am online. I tend to socialize and socialize and stalk etc.

So what have I been up to lately? The Digital IM really inspired me to be more passionately active online in my advocacy and to build relationships and get connected to key people online I look forward to in terms of what I want to accomplish.

Guide and Itinerary to Guimaras Island Tour Package

Guimaras Island is really blessed with virgin beaches and world-class mangoes. I have heard before that these mangoes are even shipped to the White House in the US because of its very sweet taste.  It is located in Southeast of Panay and Northwest of Negros Island in Western Visayas.  Iloilo is the gateway to   via pump boats.

What else could be the best to do in Guimaras Island is to do island hopping and beach adventure? You may chose Costa Aguada Island Resort, Isla Naburot, Nagarao Island,  Baras Beach Resort etc.  The one featured above is the Alubihod Beach with almost white powdery sand where you will see lots of coves, islets and the sea turtle sanctuary.  There is no problem whether you are budget conscious or has an extra budget because the resorts at these beaches have variations you can choose. When you go to Guimaras Island, don't forget to drop by to Iloilo or add Bacolod to your itinerary because these places are a superb trio travel experience!

We offer an Iloilo and Guimaras Tour Package, for inquiries, please email or thru mobile 09198937136

Bacolod, Iloilo, Guimaras Island Itinerary and Tour Package

If you are looking for Bacolod Tour,  Iloilo Tour and/or Guimaras Tour Package you may email or call/text  0998-989-3921

To view the itinerary for Iloilo, Bacolod and Guimaras Island you may click here

Bacolod, Iloilo and Guimaras Island are three places in the Western Visayas that any traveler should visit when exploring Philippines. 

Bacolod and its nearby cities Silay and Talisay in Negros Occidental are truly a threshold of our country's heritage and culture because of so many ancestral homes showcasing Filipino, Spanish and American architecture.  

Iloilo is likewise that a day is not enough to visit all of the ancestral homes! Guimaras Island is blessed with so many blue-green colored beaches and world-class mangoes.        

Lessons from an Unplanned Trip

Travelling solo especially if it’s a woman can sound really cool. It means independence, liberation and courage. However going to Bacolod, Iloilo and Guimaras Island is the most unplanned of all my recent trips that I had a few regrets of being unprepared. I have no contacts, itinerary and I stayed in places suggested by the locals on the spot! The ephemeral friendships I get from people I meet along the way and the myriad of experiences are things that make my travel worthy.

On my Manila to Bacolod flight I was chatting with this police intelligence officer who is going there for a crime investigation as an undercover agent. I arrived late in the afternoon, checked in and woke up early morning to catch the first ferry trip to Iloilo. It was my first time to travel by sea and gosh it’s the worst thing I ever did! I have a very low tolerance in anything inside a slowly shaking or swaying thing like hammock etc. that I felt really, really dizzy and wanted to throw up.