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Date Posted: 10/29/09

Iloilo Experience (October 11-12, 2009)

By: Arturo Valdez

I rendezvoused with the Balangay in Dumangas Port accompanied by Dumangas Mayor Golez together with LTFRB Region 6 Director Perry Clavel who provided us transport for the advance team in the entire Panay island travel.

The service boat Tiririt picked me at the port as I rejoined the Balangay and her crew near Siete Pecados Island at the mouth of the narrow channel between Guimaras and Iloilo. The favorable southwest monsoon helped in pushing the boat towards the mouth of the channel
but slowed down as we sailed headwind inside the narrow channel.

At 1pm, we were already at Siete Pecados but
took another 3 hours to finally reach Muelle Loney at the Holcim Cement wharf. Monti Tadina, Holcim’s marketing executive led the welcoming committee together with representatives from the LGU, local media, Holcim’s employees, and friends. There was an impromptu press-con at the wharf followed by dinner at the Holcim’s compound. We were then quartered at the dorm of Assumption Educational Center (ASEC) for the night.

Early morning Oct 12, we attended a morning program with the grade schoolers of ASEC. Then a visit at Iloilo City hall to meet officials of the city. Councilor Armand Parcon, the council’s tourism committee chairman met us in behalf of the mayor who was out of town. Again,
another impromptu press-con and photo ops with the city personnel.

We were treated with a very delicious seafood lunch at Tatoy’s beach restaurant hosted by the Paraw Foundation, organizer of the local Paraw regatta. The officials were very interested on Diwata and tried to make some comparison with their local Paraws. I also mentioned to the organizers that somehow I gave a helping hand to the late Jordan Mayor Toing Herrera during the first big regatta from Jordan to Villa Beach in 1980. Afterwards, we had symposium at the John B. Lacson Maritime University attended by hundreds of future seafarers. The day ended with the local hotel and
restaurant association hosting a dinner for the crew.

The next day, the Balangay was moved from the Holcim’s wharf to Aduana beside the fast crafts that plies between Iloilo and Bacolod to make it more accessible to those who wanted to view and take
pictures of the boat. Iloilo media extensively covered the visit in the city.





 



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