Wednesday, January 19, 2005

ABOUT REGION 6

This for me is a vibrant region of half greats and half nots!

Region 6 (sometimes written with the Roman numeral as (REGION VI) or Western Visayas is an interesting mix of "wow" and "huh" places! I love roaming around here. This for me is the number 1 place in the Philippines that will demonstrate to everyone the true meaning of “if they have it, we’ll do too! (It’s just my view and am not open to debate this time. Okay?)

If you extensively read on Philippine history, you might actually start to get teary-eyed reflecting on the past and present of this area in the country. Yes, this is Ilonggo country – even if people from Bacolod want to be called Negrense! The Ilonggos had been through various cycles of the fabled “gulong ng palad” and they always emerge with chins high up ready to show that they won’t easily give to even the most trying of life’s challenges. I consider this region as home not only to the sing-song dialect but also home of the most social animals in the country. By that, I mean, the Ilonggo people are the most concerned about what other people will have to say at just about everything hehe!

Being very social people, I love the Ilonggo’s alertness on what is happening outside their locale and their being readily adaptive so that they too can have those! And they do it with such perseverance that they sometimes surpass what has been copied. You had Sinulog in Cebu, they then had Dinagyang, and Masskara, and Hinirugyaw and a host even hundreds of festivals more, sometimes overlapping in calendar dates! But hey, the Ati-atihan was most original of them all street festivals – which the Sinulog also copied. And mind you, Kalibo is in Region 6. Then again, in terms of liveliness, “colorfulness” and appeal to the common tourists, Sinulog started it all. For now, the Dinagyang is an attraction in itself that one would usually be confused whether to go Sinulog or Dinagyang! Iloilo’s version is one of the best in the country (yes there are many other Dinagyang-like festivals in and around Iloilo, the province!).

Ah the sugar is gone, but the sweetness still abounds! "So our sugar industry is flailing eh, and you are exporting fruits? Well, we studied and surpassed yours - we are now the primary exporters of the most sought after mangoes" (from Guimaras) so says a close friend. "You folks in Luzon keep harping that typhoons always batter your places, ayan nakinig si Lord and he gave us Uring, Nitang, Ruping, Undang, etc." adds in another friend. We all laugh about it, but Western Visayas is not so much of a calamity-prone place, such that when they do come, people and infrastructures are not very much ready as they're not used to it. So devastation is usually widespread.

For the tourist, this region has plenty! There are just so many attractions in this region that you can’t possibly be in all of them even if you allot weeks!

This is the mother region of the famed Boracay alright, but Region VI is definitely not just Boracay. Well, Western Visayas is not just also about Iloilo or Bacolod. This area of the country teems with history and industry. Remember the great Bornean Datus? They first made a noise here! Remember the Haciendas and the Sacadas? Those boomed to superstardom and died to oblivion also in this region! Well, as for culture… okay, they have their own unique culture hehe! Like what? Like "what will people say?". Its a very important maxim for them! Most Ilonggos "dress up" even to just go to a supermarket! Mind you, it will be another "change in costume" if they go to church after that hehe! Otherwise, abuela will scold you hahaha! I have lived on two parts of this region and given the chance I would do so again, with gusto!

When roaming around Region 6, do look out for the uncommon destinations and you’ll find how great a paradise this is. The northern most and southernmost parts of Negros Occidental can surprise you. The western and/or southern-most towns of Panay can entice you more than Boracay does. And we don’t have to talk a lot about seafood since this is just the capital of it! Churches, museums, specialty foods are musts when in Western Visayas. Before Boracay, did you know that one of the greatest paradises in the country was also in this region? Go forth and research about Sicogon… then feel sorry about what happened to it. As for me, I am happy Sicogon is back to its original “nothingness” sans the developments and urbanities – as a kid, I first sat foot on that island where we had to pitch tents for “accommodations”!

So, since I lived a brief part of my younger days in this region… let me be so forward to say… welcome to my paradise (one of many that is)! And welcome to the region with the most number of cities in the country outside of Metro Manila! Trivia: there are about as many cities in Western Visayas as in Metro Manila!

While there are a lot of references that can give you various information about this part of the country, my favorites are:

Wikepedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippines

Department of Trade and Industry
http://www.dti.gov.ph/

Wow Philippines' Explore Philippines pages
http://www.wowphilippines.com.ph/

Virtual Tourist
http://www.virtualtourist.com/ especially the VT Philippines Forums

If you have questions or want to tell me more information about this region, please do not hesitate to send me an email, comment on this page, like my facebook page or through my twitter account.

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