Had my first out of town business trip after being pregnant and giving birth to Maxine last year. There was so much apprehension before I left since I will now be leaving two young kids at home (it gets harder the more you have hahaha), but I needed to do this. Though I prioritize my kids over my work, there are times that sacrifices have to be made. After all, why do parents break their backs over work if not for their kids.
Anyway, so my destination this time is Antique, a quaint province in the island of Panay in the Visayas. I had to take a plane from Manila to Iloilo City where I caught a van with our partner agency in the area. I have been many times to Iloilo, and as soon as we entered the town of Hamtic, the first town of Antique, the difference between the provinces could not have been more stark. In general, Antique is as quiet as Iloilo is bustling.
I did not really like the way we traversed. Though the way was scenic, thanks to the mountain range that separates Antique from Iloilo, my stomach and tummy kept churning. As a kid, I had motion sickness, and I would almost always throw up everytime I travel by bus to my hometown of Cuenca, Batangas from Bacoor, Cavite, where my parents settled. I also got sick during my kindergarten days as it was a 1-hour travel to school. Eventually, because of my frequent travels, I have almost overcome this. But when the roads are steep, rough or full of bends, my stomach goes crazy. So I was most glad when the van entered the town of San Jose de Buenavista, the capital, and I caught sight of buildings after those zigzag roads crisscrossing the Iloilo-Antique highway. I, unfortunately, was not able to take photos during the trip because, aside from fighting off nausea, the windows of both vans I was in were a little grimy.
I stayed a total of 2 days (arrived at 4:00 in the afternoon of Tuesday and left at dusk on Thursday) in the province for a migration and development capacity building project for local government units in the region. We were billeted at the Pinnacle Suites and Functions where the conference was also held. I was actually surprised because it was a well-appointed and tasteful hotel. For a sleepy town, this boasts of facilities that would surely attract possible business people. Tucked in a commercial building together with other business establishments, the Pinnacle had large, spacious rooms with comfortable beds. One minor downside, though, they still have box type television sets instead of LEDs or even LCDs. And the heater in the bathroom was busted so I had to endure cold water.
The food was also good, although not first-class hotel levels.
All in all, I was satisfied with my short stay there.
I was also glad I got to attend the Holy Mass here since my trip coincided with Ash Wednesday. I couldn’t understand a word during the celebration since it was said in the local dialect but it didn’t matter so much to me.
And I got to see an old friend. I was a little hesitant to contact him at first although I knew he was already settled in his hometown here in Antique. He did not have a very gracious exit at the office but I thought, what the heck, we did not have ill feelings towards each other. So I sent him a message, and he treated me to dinner, and I was glad I got in touch with him.
He had lots of stories to tell and I was happy that he looks settled. He told me sometimes he does miss the jungle life in Manila but he was content with his new life for the most part. He gamely “toured” me around in the few places to see, and I captured this beautiful sunset at the beach.
Thank you, Antique!