Thursday, June 21, 2018

Walking Around Iloilo City: The Scenic Route From My House To The University of San Agustin

I had a lot of free time this afternoon, so I decided to do a little bit of an experiment. I wanted to see how long it would take to walk over from my house to the University of San Agustin. My mother works as a teacher there and I come over to drive her home (It's not safe for her to drive at night because of her eyesight) in the afternoon. However, today was a bit of an exception because she wouldn't be off until 7:30 PM.

Now usually, I take public transport in order to reach San Agustin, which usually takes about 15-20 minutes depending on the traffic situation. According to Google Maps, my house is about 6.6 km away from San Agustin -- which I can probably run in about 45-60 minutes or less, but I digress.

Anyway, I decided to take a long, scenic walk to reach the place... but while stopping by a few places along the way. Basically, a leisure stroll.

The Walk

My House

I began my journey at 3:14 PM giving myself plenty of time to take it easy. It was drizzling a bit so I took a folding umbrella along... and when I opened it, I discovered that it was broken. Still usable, but definitely broken in its metallic skeleton in some areas, which made it look crooked. There were several spots that caught my attention along the way, which I took pictures of, of course. After about five minutes, I'd already gone by the place where I had some Nagi car decals done for our new car a bit earlier this year.
These guys did an awesome job!

At about 4:00 PM, I was already at Plaza Molo. It was really early, so I took a little detour and made a left turn to Iloilo City Esplannade. I took the original Esplannade 1 walkway. This place is really quite ideal for photos. I regret not taking my wide angle lens along. I'll do it next time. In any case, I still took plenty of pics for painting reference later on.

People Fishing at Iloilo River Esplannade
I'll definitely paint this... with Nagi in it somewhere.
At the middle of the walkway, there's actually a path to the right which takes you to another place -- The Boardwalk,which leads to Smallville and The Atria Park district. I think the entire place is owned by Ayala. Anyway, I turned there because I actually intended to walk all the way to the largest mall (for now) in Iloilo City: Sm City Iloilo. I bumped into my cousin and his girlfriend at Ayala Technohub (part of Boardwalk) and after some brief greetings, I was on my way again.
This road leads straight to Ayala  Technohub Iloilo. There are also some refreshment stands in the parking area.

At 4:30 PM, I was already at The Atria. I stopped by San Jose Cafe there and had for a nice light snack of chicken sandwich and vanilla frappe. At about 250 PHP, it was pretty reasonable for me... although a bit on the expensive side. I started sketching one of the pics from my phone while waiting for my order to be served.
Slightly expensive, but I like to splurge a bit when I'm taking a leisure stroll.
After that, I walked a little bit further along and reached another commercial complex called Plazuela De Iloilo. I decided to stop by there to see if they had anything of interest at the stalls in the middle that sold all kinds of novelty items from earrings to toys, clothes and cellphone accessories... but nope, nothing worthy of note.
Plazuela De Iloilo
So right next to Plazuela is SM City Iloilo. I took the Southpoint route to get inside the mall via the third floor. It was 5:40 PM.

SM City Iloilo... speaking of malls, Robinson's Place Pavia just opened. It's apparently the biggest Robinson's Mall here in Iloilo (there are two others).
Sm City Iloilo is a pretty big place, but my mother and I visit this place practically every other day, so I pretty much know my way around. I went straight to Miniso first (a Japanese novelty store that sells authentic items from Japan) where I bought an umbrella for 299 PHP.

After that, I stopped by National Bookstore because I saw someone from Iloilo post a boatload of new Sakura Koi products on my timeline in FB... I was disappointed to see that there weren't any.

Undeterred, I decided to try looking at the Stationery section of the SM City Department store because I actually did see some unique Sakura Koi products being sold there the last time I looked -- and lo behold, there they were, indeed! And I mean the boatload of Sakura Koi products that I saw on FaceBook.

After taking around 10-15 minutes to decide, I went with a Sakura Micron Pen, Sakura Brush Pen, and the 24 color palette Sakura Koi Watercolors to supplement my 12 palette set when I exhaust it... don't get me wrong though, It's still Gansai Tambi or nothing for me for serious watercolor paintings. Sakura Koi is my "taking it easy set."

After that, It was getting a bit late, so it was time to make the long walk to San Agustin. I actually added about 2 KM more to the trip by making this long detour to SM City... but fortunately, I knew a shortcut that I often took by car.
SM City Iloilo At Night
It was 6:32 PM when I ascended the Overpass to the other side of the road from Sm City Iloilo. It was already pretty dark at this point. Fortunately, there's a nice little walkway for people right by the road. I passed by a smaller newly-opened mall called Gaisano City ICC Mall along the way. I also stopped by a convenience store to grab a bottle of water for 14 pesos.

It took about 20 minutes to get to this shortcut to San Agustin that I was talking about earlier. The place isn't well-lighted though, but I always bring a tactical flashlight along for such a situation (as well as for some degree of self-defense... dun worry, I know enough martial arts to make some use of it barring someone holding me up at gunpoint.)

Anyway, I have to admit that taking the shortcut probably wasn't a very good idea. The road was pretty dark except for the constant two-way traffic from some fast moving vehicles. It probably saved me about 30 minutes of walking time however. I stayed to the side of the road wherein I was directly facing oncoming traffic. It's a pretty simple logic -- no one on a motorcycle or other vehicle can jump me from behind this way since the traffic is facing me.

I kept my flashlight on for the entire trip, which was fortunately uneventful. If you're scared of the dark or don't want to risk getting mugged in general, I'd suggest not taking this route at night on foot -- or even on a bike. It wasn't the best decision in my case, in hindsight. 

I was pretty relieved to arrive here safe and sound and with no random encounters :P 
Finally, I arrived at the Gates of San Agustin by around 7:00. I was already inside by 7:07.
Hey there, bruh! Glad to see ya too. Gimme five~
Over-all, it was a pretty enlightening and really enjoyable walk. Total transport cost = 0. It wasn't very tiring either. If you count the stuff I bought out of impulse along the way though, the entire trip cost about 1724.25 PHP or 32.33 USD.

These are obviously just vanities. The Sakura Brush pen is amazing though.
It just got me to thinking that if you're still young and able and you don't need to get to a lot of places in a hurry here, you really don't need a vehicle nor even use public transport if you live in Iloilo. If you plan it right, you can actually just walk to and from work everyday (assuming you don't get tired easily and you don't have other obligations/quality time to spend at home). Also, it'd probably be pretty easy to get along with just a bicycle or even go on roller blades if not for all the road construction projects and the general recklessness of drivers here. I'd actually contemplated going on roller blades all the way, but I decided not to risk it given just how incompetent and reckless our drivers are in general.

More importantly however, it really did open my eyes to just how much we rely on our personal vehicles and public transport so much in what is basically a one-strip city (a very developed one-strip city, but that doesn't change the fact that Iloilo is actually pretty small.) I wouldn't be surprised if the entire city is actually just within a 40 KM radius.

Anyway, do you live in a Iloilo City or some other small city? Have you ever considered walking to your usual destinations instead of taking your car/motorcycle or public transport? If not, why not give it a try? You might find it just as enjoyable as I did. This is lordcloudx and I'll see you in future travel posts to come.

Oil Pastels on Paper. Found time to do this while waiting for my mother.

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