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Iloilo's Hidden Gem: Concepcion

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On a recent company outing, our group wanted a nice, budget-friendly destination that would cater to both young and old alike. At around that time, Airphil Express featured a sale to domestic destinations so we quickly grabbed the opportunity to buy tickets to Iloilo.

We had originally planned to spend our vacation in Guimaras but after some research, we found a truly beautiful island that was isolated, not quite well known, and perfect for our budget. This hidden treasure was Concepcion.

It was quite far from  the main city proper of Iloilo so planning was essential because we were a huge group of twenty. Our flight was scheduled on Friday, 6pm and we would return on Sunday, at 5pm. The itinerary was simple: spend the whole Saturday on Concepcion then Sunday would be free time for everybody who wanted to do his or her own thing.

At 4pm, our hired van dropped by the Makati Stock Exchange to fetch us. And in case you're wondering, only 17 people fit in it. We were to meet the other two at the airport while one had an advanced flight. Fortunately, the flight was uneventful and we arrived at Iloilo on schedule.

Nes and Tats

We hired two vans for our group but before heading to Concepcion, we had a stopover in Nes and Tats for dinner. The place was near SM Iloilo and that night, a solo artist was singing. Food was okay, nothing really stood out for me. They serve seafood and chicken. One thing I could clearly remember was that nearly all of the faucets seem to be out of order and the flush in the toilets were all broken.

Dinner is served

Anyway, after dinner, we began the two hour journey to Concepcion. I fell asleep during most of the ride. We arrived  at midnight but we were still warmly welcomed by the hostess of Junbee Hotel, Bebe Garilva. The hotel isn't really a hotel. Rather, it's the large home of the owners, converted into a resort.

Junbee Resort

The moment you enter their home, the first thing you will see is the dining and buffet area which also doubles as a receiving room. Personal touches are all over the place because essentially, you are a guest in their house. The next thing you will notice is the huge swimming pool that is visible from nearly all angles in the house.

Dining and Receiving area at Junbee Resort

We were all tired from traveling, so Bebe led us to our rooms. I was surprised that one room could accommodate up to eight people and take note that these weren't double beds. Some of the guys went for a swim but I was tired and opted to sleep.

Our huge room, which could accommodate 8 people

The next day, breakfast was provided for us by the management and then we were off to explore the beautiful islands around Concepcion. The wharf was a short, 10-minute walk from the resort and our tour boat could accommodate thirty people.

The Junbee swimming pool
 Our first stop, and main destination was Sandbar Island. I'll let the pictures do all the talking. I think you'll agree that the name truly fits the place.

Sandbar Island, Concepcion, Iloilo

Mangroves are grown at the back of the island

Lots of trees to provide shade and some have hammocks

Sandbar Island

We stayed until lunch. Food was also provided by Junbee Resort and we had scallops na kinilaw, grilled fish, pork and squid.

Kinilaw na scallops

Our lunch, courtesy of Junbee management

Sadly, I couldn't swim because I just had an eye operation the previous week but it sure didn't stop me from enjoying the place.

The next island we visited was named Agho Island, still with white sand, clear blue waters and only a few people around.
Posing at Agho Island
Agho Island, Concepcion, Iloilo

The third and final island was Tambaliza island where a small barangay was situated. It had huge rock formations which made great backgrounds for photoshoots.

Tambaliza, Concepcion, Iloilo
 I'll make a separate post about our second day adventure in Iloilo which was spent in Guimaras and Miag-ao Church.


Ian said...

what is the mode of transportation going to Concepcion? Jeepney? Do you know the rates of island hopping and Junbee resort.. we're planning to visit the place but we're just a party of 4. Thanks

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