I must admit, Philippines is not my “only” destination of travel. Like other travel bloggers and travel enthusiasts, I’d loooooove to travel the world if there’s a chance.
One time I was chilling at a beach in the south, enjoying my coffee and the view of the sea, when I realized there is much more here in the country that I never listed in my bucket list because I was “too jealous” of friends traveling abroad. Yes, foreign countries are such treasures, but “Pilipinas muna” (Philippines first) has been in my mind ever since.
My goal is to visit at least half of the Philippines ‘ long list of provinces. And finally, last year, I was able to visit Iloilo! It was a actually a 5-day trip around Iloilo City, Gigantes, Guimaras, and Bacolod. BUt for this post, I will focus discussing one of the spots in my bucket list: Garin Farm Inland Resort.
I knew Garin Farm from my dad. Once his friend’s family went to Iloilo for a short family vacation, and the resort was one of the items in their itinerary. Which makes me feel a little sad, as I wasn’t able to bring him with me when I visited there. My dad is already 78 as of writing, and he cannot go on trips already like what I am having (I knew it was going to be a loooong walk, coming from past blog reviews.)
When I learned Garin Farm offers transport services from the pavilion to top, I knew I really have to go back there with mom and dad (and Mnemo!)
Once you enter the farm, you will be welcomed by chickens, ducks, and other animals so expect a not-so-fresh air there. It goes along the looong stretch of a pathway to the jump-off of the pilgrimage, but if you’re too tired or lazy to have some little trek, you can hire a golf cart as mentioned above. Don’t worry too much because someone will drive you all the way up there!
It’s really nice to see fresh and rich tress and plants along the way. Some of the hilltop spots I’ve been to wasn’t that green already specially those that are accommodating too many people in a day. I mean, imagine the crowd on top of a poor mountain. Well.
Aside from the views I photographed, you will also be rewarded with the wonderful view of a 5000sqm man-made lagoon and on an elevated area, is the resort’s swimming pool.
In this area, you may enjoy activities such as kayaking, ziplines, paddle boats, and many more. You can also check and roam around the area for appreciation or if you are planning to stay for the night, you can drop by the reception nearby.
What I loved most is that Garin Farm is not just a walk-in-the-park destination. It is also best to have an adventure to enjoy the most of the experience.
This staircase, on the other hand, climbs hundreds of steps to the Divine Mercy Cross. I swear, it is going to be woooooorth it. On your way up, there are different life size statues of the different biblical scenes such as The Last Supper, The Agony in the Garden, The Crucifixion and Ascension of Jesus and a lot more. But since I was still having a hard time climbing (since I gave birth), I availed the transport service.
◘◘◘ Some say it is a 456-step staircase, while some say its 480. And as clarified by one staff I asked, it’s 480.
Every single climb and get to the top of a mountain is a breathtaking experience I will never get tired of. I just need to practice more and regain my strength for future hikes! But really, thanks to these kinds of places where one doesn’t have to do the hardships before witnessing a beautiful sunset.
At the hilltop, just before the Heaven On Earth experience, you have to go through the Divine Mercy Dark Meditation Tunnel. It’s literally dark, symbolizing the dark and down times we have in life. Reminding us to stand up with our chin up, and put in mind that at the end of the tunnel there is this gift of peace and happiness.
And finally, we’re here!
As its name suggests, The Pilgrimage encourages tourists to go on a pilgrimage to the 101-foot Divine Mercy Cross that sits atop a mountain. There are dioramas at the foot of the mountain, depicting scenes from the Old Testament like Noah’s Ark and the Garden of Eden. As you start your journey uphill to the cross, you will encounter more images as you go along such as the scenes from the life of Jesus Christ; from his birth until his death. – Travel Book Ph.
Upon reaching the top of the mountain, you will be welcomed by angels and to the “heaven on Earth”—Garin Farm’s interpretation of such— to join the saints and other biblical personas.
Read more of my BIGG adventure!
- My 5-day island hopping at the BIGG (Bacolod, Iloilo, Gigantes, Guimaras)
- Level up your Iloilo foodie experience at The Granary, Richmonde Hotel Iloilo
- Gigantes Islands experience and travel guide
- Luxury Experience at Richmonde Hotel Iloilo
- Garin Farm Inland Resort experience and travel guide
- Guimaras: more than mangoes and beaches
- Lakwatsa in a day: The Ruins + Compuestuhan Highland Resort
- Are you a hobbit? Well, I am.
- The Ruins: at least something lasts longer than relationships (pun intended)
- Guisi Lighthouse and Ruins: one reason why looking back to our past is still wonderful
|◘◘◘ PRE-TRAVEL GUIDE|
How to get there?
◘◘ From Ong Bun/Iloilo Proper. Ong Bun is one of the most-booked hotels for tourists mostly because you can have a decent room for the most affordable price. If you are staying at Ong Bun or nearby hostels in Mandurriao, head to Iloilo City Terminal Market at the back of Robinson’s Place few blocks away from the pension house. San Joaquin is more or less 1 hour and 30 minute away from Iloilo Proper. Take a San Joaquin-bound jeepney, and tell the driver to drop you off at the terminal going to Garin Farm.
◘◘ From San Joaquin Town Proper. Take a tricycle bound to Garin Farm, Brgy. Huna, 5 minutes away from San Joaquin Town Proper.
◘◘◘ You can always hire a cab/taxi around Iloilo, but I am not sure if all of them are okay to travel outside the city proper since the travel distance is too far.
Anyhoo, Grab is now available in Iloilo City. However, for the outskirts of the city, Grab will be having additional booking charge
When is the best time to visit?
It’s always best to roam around a farm or resort during summer, since most of the area is open. Plus, you can only enjoy the boating, and kayak and all the water activities when the sun is up. And honestly, it is good to visit at any time of the day. Go experience the Heaven On Earth in the morning, and enjoy the rest of the resort in the afternoon. Also, they’re open at any day of the week!
How much would I spend?Getting around Iloilo with public transport is almost the same as we have here in Manila. Ranges from 10-100+Php/max of 2USD* depending on travel distance. From Iloilo Proper to Garin, I spent 60Php* (one way, per head) taking the usual jeepney.
Click for inland resort amenities with rates
◘◘ Entrance Fee: Php 150 per person
– Excluding children below 1 year old
– Senior Citizen discount is applicable to cardholders only
– Strictly no outside food and drinks allowed
◘◘ Hilltop Swimming Pool – Php 80.00
◘◘ Hilltop Fishing: Php 30.00/kilo
◘◘ Billiards: Php 60.00/hour
◘◘ Hilltop Horseback Riding: Php 60.00
◘◘ Zipline (300 meters X 2)
– Sitting: Php 250.00
– Superman: Php 350.00
◘◘ Golf Cart (3 Pax ride)
– Entrance to Pavilion: Php 60.00
– Pavilion to Cross: Php 90.00
◘◘ Hilltop Boating:
– Single Kayak: Php 40.00
– Double Kayak: Php 90.00
– Pedal Boat: Php 90.00 for 2 pax
– Rubber Boat: Php 120.00 for 4 pax; Php 240 for 8 pax
– All-Terrain Vehicle (20 minutes): Php 200.00
– WiFi Access
– Laundry Service
– 24-Hour Security
– 24-Hour Electricity
◘◘ Room rates:
– Hilltop Family Room: Php 3,500.00
– Hilltop Twin Room: Php 2,500.00
– Hilltop Single Room: Php 1,500.00
– Executive Conference Room (15-20 Pax): Php 2,500
All rooms are fully air-conditioned. Additional charges applies for extra bed (Php 350 with breakfast; Php 200 without breakfast). Available for Family & Twin Rooms only and limited to 2 extra beds. Check-in guests have complementary breakfast and free use of the hill top pool.
*rates are as of November 2018
◘◘ Since I suggested summer is the best time to experience Garin Farm, expect that it could get really reaaaallly hot. An umbrella would be nice, plus a great sunblock or sunscreen to protect your skin!
◘◘ If you choose to visit during the rainy season, wear close and comfortable shoes as it could get really muddy.
◘◘ If you still have time to roam around the area, there are nearby heritage churches worth visiting. (i.e. Miag-ao Church, Guimbal Church, Camposanto De San Joaquin, and the San Joaquin Church .)
◘◘ It’s always a safe decision to visit the local tourism office of Iloilo if you need more help. They also have brochures and leaflets that could guide you around Iloilo.
◘◘ Lastly, enjoy the experience and don’t forget to document it!
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