Today I flew to Iloilo for a one day round trip business presentation with my partner Jayjay, together with Ron, project manager/executive assistant for the company. We took the 8:20 AM early flight of Philippine Airlines so that we could be in time for a meeting with the department heads and mayor of the town Dumangas at 10:00 AM. We got to board the plane right on the dot, but still annoyingly, got delayed for another 30 minutes heating up the seats with our butts, just because we were waiting for 3 people to board the plane. After waiting for so long, they decided to just remove the baggages of these 3 inconsiderate passengers, which took more time. PAL (Plane Always Late) could have made the move to please the rest of the passengers rather than be considerate to the three tardy ones. Anyway, we've heard more horror stories with Cebu Pacific (You fly to Cebu,but end up in the Pacific), the rival airline, so we didn't make such a fuss out of it anymore. But still, we were late for our meeting.
Highlights of our trip:
Working on my Spiderman Macbook while waiting for boarding time (8:20AM).
Upon arrival at Iloilo Airport, we were met by some courteous men. The drive to our meeting place, Dumangas, gave us the opportunity to view the simple, rural landscape of Iloilo. Miles and miles of fields, agricultural land, trees, and basic houses - far from the city.
Our service vehicle delivered us straight to the Dumangas Municipal Hall where the presentation to the mayor and his heads were to take place.
Ron starts the presentation.
We presented our Constituent and Geographical Information System to the different department heads and the mayor of Dumangas, Iloilo. Ron was the one who took charge (or pretending to know what he's talking about). All department heads were there, including Treasury, Budget, HR, Tax/Assessment, and DSWD. We had a very good exchange of ideas with the group, and after about two hours, it seemed like it could be a promising project to implement. This already made the whole trip to Iloilo worthwhile.
A little photo op with the mayor, Hor. Ronaldo Golez outside the City Hall, who took us out for a great seafood lunch at around 1pm. Great, hospitable and funny guy. No wonder he was voted Mayor of this town.
We had fresh fat crabs straight from the pond...
Local oysters which I didn't try. You'll never know. Not too many clean toilets around the area.
Sweet small prawns dipped in spicy vinegar and soy sauce.
I liked the Sinigang the best, made with this fresh, firm fish meat called Managat, which they said, looks like the Tilapia. Delicious.
Behind me is the fish pond where they got all those seafoods.
Phinma Education Network and JOBSDB.COM MOA Signing @ University of Iloilo.
During our side trip to the University of Iloilo (UI) to witness a MOA signing of Phinma Education Network and JOBSDB.COM at 3pm, we encountered a monstrous siopao, which they claimed was famous in Iloilo City. It was called Roberto's "Queen". Couldn't eat it that time because we just ate all those seafoods, so we stuffed four pieces into Ron's laptop bag for later consumption. I found out later that it was really good (meat, bacon, eggs and a lot of chunky stuff inside). One siopao is equal to one whole meal.
After the university visit, we dropped by a community where disadvantaged people are being supported by NGO's - providing calamity assistance, information, education and other basic stuff.
Of course, a town-proper trip always brings us to an SM Mall. In this case, we dropped by SM City Iloilo, which was relatively near the airport. Our flight back was scheduled at 7:50 PM, so we still had a lot of time to have a quick chow. SM is probably already the most exciting thing you will see in a quiet, slow-paced, and rural province like Iloilo.
To formally end our food trip, we ate La Paz Batchoy (an Ilonggo specialty) at Ted's for dinner (non-stop eating so far). Ted's restaurant has restaurants in Manila, but it was my first time to eat there. The Batchoy was just ok - sweet, salty and a lot of innards. Maybe it was because I got the super extra special batchoy.
After the quick dinner, we decided to head straight for Iloilo Airport to wait for our boarding time which was at 7:20PM. Do you notice how modern and "international" looking the airport is? Yun pala, this airport did not make the standards as an International airport - but so far at least, it's one of the most decent provincial airports I've seen. I wonder how much they put into this thing.
Time to go home. PAL was on time for a change.
To round it up, it was a good and fruitful day trip, combining business and pleasure we could fit in a single day. Iloilo isn't exactly the place to go to party or for a wild vacation because of it's provincial, laid back lifestlye - so I guess the next time I go to Iloilo will be mostly for business.