Off The Road: Garin Farm Tour

Mid-December of 2018, I had the privilege to visit one the tourist attractions in the province of Iloilo. Located in the town of San Joaquin, Iloilo, Garin Farm attracts numerous tourists from around the country, and even international tourists. It’s roughly a two-hour drive from the city proper passing through several towns along a scenic backdrop of mountains, tree-lined road and turquoise blue sea that sparkles like diamond under the afternoon sun. Whilst this was an unplanned visit, it was all worth the long trip.

After visiting the century-old Miag-ao Church (which according to our driver/tour guide, the church’s brick walls were made from egg shells), we stopped over a quaint seafood restaurant Doming’s Talabahan for lunch. A short drive from Miag-ao proper, Doming’s is situated by the beach and offers its patrons an unobstructed view of the sea. Feel the breeze caressing your skin whilst having your meal. They serve a variety of dishes such as pork, chicken and seafood on their menu. The ambiance is like that of your neighbourhood eatery. They don’t employ a large staff, so please be a little patient. But I would say they are pretty efficient.

Coming from lunch, we headed to San Joaquin. We purchased our entrance tickets, then passed through the turnstile and found ourselves walking under a canopy of vines, which were actually vegetables called kundol or winter melon. About a couple of hundred metres ahead, you’ll reach the pavilion where there’s a café (we haven’t checked their menu here). And this is where the challenge is. You have to take a little more than 400 steps in order to reach the cross in the summit. Though, for convenience, you have an option to go to the cross by riding a golf cart – for a fee, of course. In our case, we took the golf cart since it was just past midday and it was impossible to hide from the scorching heat of the sun. Early morning or late afternoon are the best times should you want to take the 400-step challenge.

Once at the summit, the feeling is just overwhelming. There’s a prayer room. Then you go through a dark tunnel leading to where the cross is. It felt like you have just gone to heaven. Whilst up there, you can offer a short prayer.

We had to wait for 15 minutes or so to get a ride going back to the pavilion. Then walked on our way to the gate.

Aside from the main attraction which is the pilgrimage cross, Garin Farm houses farm animals like rabbits, chickens and bulls. There’s also a Bahay Kubo (Nipa Hut), where you can find all the plants and vegetables mentioned in the song. There are other activities and attractions that Garin Farm offers such as zip line, horseback riding, ATV, and many more.

So, include Garin Farm in your itinerary when you come to Iloilo or Antique. It’s a good place to visit any time of the year together with your family and friends.


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