Searching for the Datu (1)

// October 20, 2015

It was another adventure for us – this time searching for the steps of the old Datus. Centuries ago, in this part of Panay Island (the town of San Joaquin), balangays of ten Datus from Borneo landed in these shores. Awed by the beauty of the island, the Datus bought the land from the Atis and settled in Panay. And the rest was history.

Now we’re retracing the steps of the datus, and searching for the place were the barter was made – the famous real estate purchase that ushered in the birth of an Ilonggo nation and eventually the life and vein of preHispanic Filipino civilization.

It was noon when we left Garin Farm at Barangay Huna and we’re looking for a place to take lunch. I have been to San Joaquin a couple of times, and I’ll never forget the place where my father used to take us. So we jumped in at the car and headed to Barangay Tiolas, a few kilometers southwest of the poblacion. Barangay Tiolas is famous for its eateries along the cliffs, giving the diners a spectacular view of the Sulu Sea while enjoying the beauty of the fire trees that grows on the rocky shores.

The sea breeze cools the restaurant we’re eating at. It was relaxing. It was splendid.  We climbed at the top of the restaurant and we’re amazed at the beauty of the scene. Not far is a private fishing port.

Before leaving the restaurant, we asked where the Imbidayan Rock is. We were told that it was in Barangay Sinugbuhan. As to how far the place is, I have no idea at that time. Such an adventure awaits us then.

Barangay Tiolas is where the road separates into two. We took the road by the beach – the San Joaquin-Anini-y Road where we traversed several barangays in search of Sinugbuhan. The other road leads to Dao (Tobias Fornier) via the mountains.

Along the way, we stopped at another eco-tourism landmark of San Joaquin – the Cataan Cove. This curve-like coast is rich in marine biodiversity. Kilometers of the beach are declared marine sanctuaries and few resorts are allowed to operate there. But the scene is breathtaking – pristine beaches and clear blue waters will definitely wash away your stresses. Even though the coast is rocky, several parts of the beach are open for swimming. An enticing view that definitely seduced the Datus into staying at this island.

After savoring the beauty of Cataan Cove, we hopped back in the car and moved on. We’re in a quest. (To be continued)

Getting There:

From Iloilo International Airport:

– You can take the Shuttle Bus going to SM City, Iloilo.

– From SM City, Iloilo, take the SM Mandurriao jeepney and take a stop at the nearby intersection under the overpass and ride the Oton bound jeep going to the jeepney terminal located in Mohon, Oton.

– In Mohon Oton Terminal, there will be several San Joaquin (Lawigan) jeepneys ready to take you at Cataan

From Iloilo City Proper

– Take the San Joaquin bound jeepney from Super Terminal, Iloilo City.

– You can also take buses going to Anini-y or Dao Antique in Molo Terminal. Tell the bus conductor to drop you off in Barangay Cataan

For Private Transportation:

– San Joaquin is the last town in the southern part of Iloilo.

– The 63 Km drive along Iloilo- Antique National Road then taking the San Joaquin-Anini-y Road would get you in Cataan in about 2 hours.