Iligan Diyandi Festival

“Wara-wara Sa Iligan! Tara Na!”

Come, Celebrate 29 Days Of Fun!

The Iligan Diyandi Festival is the official title for the city’s month long cultural celebration. It concludes with the feast day of Saint Michael the Archangel on September 29.

The festival was established to promote Iligan’s cultural identity. You see, Cebu has Sinulog, Davao has Kadayawan, and Iloilo has Dinagyang. Iligan has none. Of course, Iligan should have one.

So in 2004, the Iligan City Council passed and approved a resolution establishing Diyandi Festival as the tourism name of Iligan.

Today, the fiesta celebration developed into a much bigger and more culturally charged celebration.

What is in a name?

Remember it was not long ago the Iligan Fiesta was only known simply as “pista sa Iligan” (fiesta in Iligan). A simple celebration of its patron saint, Saint Michael the Archangel.

Also, keep in mind before naming the celebration, research was done by the world-renowned creative director of the Integrated Performing Arts Guild (IPAG), Professor Steven Patrick Fernandez on Diyandi dance.

The word Diyandi is not new to folks in Iligan. It was used to refer to the celebration of the patron saint, Saint Michael the Archangel. Diyandi simply means celebrate. Mag-diyandi means, to celebrate.

Diyandi Festival

Iligan Diyandi Festival

Thus, the word Diyandi gives the perfect trademark to Iligan’s extended celebration of traditions and culture. And, the Diyandi Festival was born!

Every year during September, Iligan tourism is at its peak. Tourists and Balikbayan (returning resident) folks flock to Iligan to get a taste of the much talked about Diyandi Festival. It is the busiest and most culturally gratifying experience second to Christmas in Iligan.

Diyandi Dance Iligan Diyandi Festival

Iligan Diyandi Dance

Today, the Diyandi dance – performed by an all-female group is the highlight of every novena, during the Pagpakanaug and Pagpasaka, and before the presentation of theKomedya.

Drum Up the Beat for a Culturally Significant Event!

While the feast day of Saint Michael is the most awaited event, September is filled with various activities to include:

      • dance contest
      • Trisikad racing contest
      • ballroom dancing
      • cooking contest
      • cultural shows
      • Miss Iligan Beauty contest

Trade fairs, sports competitions, concerts, street parties and clean-up drives also add to the festivities. And many more. Check out the scheduled events for the Diyandi Festival Sa Iligan 2010 right here!

You will begin to think that everyday is a party!

September 20 – The Pagpakanaug

Just before the novena, the Diyandi dance is performed. It officially marks the beginning of the 9-day novena. It is also followed by the Pagpakanaug (the descent) – the ritual transfer of Saint Michael’s image from its niche to a pedestal located on the side altar. This happens at exactly 8am and followed by a Holy Mass at the Saint Michael Cathedral.

Thousands of devotees gather to witness the ceremony. The Pagpakanaug also signals the start of the 9-day novena.

The early dawn parade by the city’s band is to rouse the residents for the dawn novenas, starts on September 20. It marks the first day of the novena ending on the feast day of Saint Michael. Every morning for nine days you are reminded of the daily novena offering. This is called the pamukaw.

September 27 – Kasadya Street Dancing

Kasadya street dancing, the merry-making event and is the main attraction.

Kasadya Street Dancing Iligan Diyandi Festival

Iligan Kasadya Street Dancing

The dancers gather at the parking lot near the port. This is where they start. And they end up at the Buhanginan Hill – Anahaw Amphitheater.

There are many varied groups, dressed in colorful costumes each performing a different well-rehearsed dance.

…thump your feet when the dancers dance in the streets!

Kasadya Dancers

Iligan Kasadya Dancing

Central to the Kasadya festival, is the re-enactment of the battle between good and evil – between Senor San Miguel and the devil. But, the most interesting and familiar performance is the Eskrima; it is a dance with a fighting style.

Eskrima – a unique method of Filipino martial arts. It is an expression of the older methods of Filipino fighting arts which uses the sticks and dagger. The movements are “smooth, circular, and fluid, there is no strain on the joints.”

Iligan Kasadya 2009Iligan Street Dancing 2009

The street dancing competition brings about the different styles and dance forms of local talents as well as other Mindanao tribal dance forms.

The festival also offers residents, young and old, and performing groups from other cities the opportunity to participate for prizes and bragging rights.

September 29 – Iligan Fiesta
“Viva Senor San Miguel, Viva!”

The celebration begins at 7am with a procession of Saint Michael the Archangel. During the procession, devotees dance to the beat of the drums while chanting “Viva Señor San Miguel, Viva.” Onlookers cannot help join and chant as they watch the procession go by.

After mass and as you walk around the city, you will see how the residents prepare for the Iligan fiesta. They go all out. Iliganons are fiesta loving people! And in all fiesta, every household celebrate it with the best delectable foods they can buy.

All these together, they make the Diyandi Festival a fusion of pre-Hispanic traditions and Catholic beliefs. Thus making Iligan a booming artistic community attracting national and international tourists.

“Wara-wara Sa Iligan! Tara Na!”

Jeepney In The Philippines

A Glimpse Into Filipino Culture!

Can you remember the time when you used to take the jeepney in the Philippines every day? I can.

Everyone knows the jeepney is the most practical and cheapest way to get around in the Philippines.

In Iligan today, you can take a jeepeny ride for about eight pesos depending on the distance traveled. Jeepney routes are painted on the side or on a signboard placed on the windshield in front of the driver.

With all the decorations of sorts, be aware that sometimes the name of the jeepney route is very hard to see.

Jeepney In The Philippines

Iligan Jeepney – Fiesta


At the end of World War II, the United States’ military began heading back home. They left behind surplus of US military jeeps – some old some new.

Filipinos stripped down what once a “drab green willy” and painted them with brilliant colors. And to accomodate for passengers, they added bench seating.

What used to be green, now brightly colored vehicles became an expression of the new owner’s personality.

The jeepney in the Philippines became the major mode of transportation. And today, the Philippine jeepney has become a symbol of Philippine culture.

Jeepney in Iligan

In Iligan, each jeepney runs a certain route known as “boundary”. They are usually painted on the side of the vehicle. See examples below, remember V.V. means vice versa.

City Proper – La Salle – Villa Verde, V.V.
City Proper – Tibanga – St. Mary, V.V.

Jeepney In The Philippines

Iligan Jeepney

In every instance, getting around Iligan is easy. Just stand alongside the road, raise your hand and voila! A jeepney is bound to stop in front of you.

You might have to catch a sikad , tricycle, or a habal-habal if you don’t live close to the major road.

Once you get on, hold on to the bars just in case the driver makes a sudden stop before you are seated. You would not want to end up on another passenger’s lap. Unless, he or she is your dream Romeo or Juliet. (Wink)

When Inside the Jeepney

Know that you can pay the driver anytime you want. If you are the farthest from the driver or conductor, you might have to ask the passenger closest to him for some help. You can expect your change to be return the same way.

So, next time you sit close to the driver, expect some passengers asking you for some assistance. This is the norm when you ride the jeepney in the Philippines.

Let’s face it, drivers rely heavily on passengers’ honesty to earn good money. So to encourage passengers to pay their fare, they post this sticker.

Jeepney In The Philippines

Iligan Jeepney

“God knows Judas not pay…”

“Basta driver sweet lover” means “Every driver is a sweet lover”
They hope that this would stir up passengers’ conscience.

It is amazing what you can learn on what’s going on around town just by riding a jeepney. And it is not from the jeepney’s radio either. It is through what locals call, “radyo baba” (baba meaning mouth).

It’s not uncommon for strangers to strike up a conversation with another passenger. And one can’t help listen as passengers seated facing each other shoulder-to-shoulder and sometimes even knee-to-knee.

Trust me! You have no idea the lessons and stories I have picked up from years of riding the jeepney. Some are happy, some sad, some appalling, some hilarious – it’s life’s drama unfolded.

Tips When Riding a Jeepney

You waive your hands to get in to a jeepney. What do you do to get off one?

Well, all you have to do is simply tap or knock on the roof and say, “pa daplin lang or para” simply means, stop.

That’s how you tell the driver to stop.

Simple, isn’t it? (Note: this would only work if your jeepney driver speaks Visaya).

If the driver doesn’t hear you, expect other passengers to yell to get his attention.

Don’t see any designated jeepney stops? I’ll let you in a little secret…there are none. Really, there are no designated jeepney stops. Drivers will just roll ever so slowly allowing his passenger to get off.

Before long you’ll be an expert getting on and off the jeepney in the Philippines.

Finally, this brings us to the last quote:

“Basta driver sweet lover”

You already notice that each jeepney in the Philippines is distinct from the other. The ornaments, ranging from plastic fruits hanging on the rear view mirror to a puppy with head bobbing up and down reflect the driver’s personality.

Jeepney in the Phillipines

So I leave you to guess the personality of the driver who sticks this sign, “basta driver sweet lover”. In translation, means “every driver is a sweet lover”.

Iligan Restaurants

The Food Trip!

Feeling hungry? Check out some of Iligan restaurants and bistros.

When you feel hungry but tired of the same processed food prepared by fastfood chains, let Iligan City’s finest restaurants and dining establishments break you free from all that.

Strolling around Iligan’s coolest destinations and enjoying its scenic views can also get someone’s tummy brewing with hunger.

Normally, that’s a bad thing, especially when there’s no easy access of food around.

Luckily, in Iligan, there’s always an antidote for that – food trip, anyone?

The setback of Iligan restaurants is relaxed and non-intimidating. They are quick and easy to find.

Almost all restaurants are located within the city proper. And getting there is not a problem, as public transport like jeepneys and taxis can easily reach them.

Iligan – fine city with fine dining

Yes, if you want fine dining, make your choice with Maria Christina Hotel and Restaurant, Tatay’s Grill ‘n Bar and Café Hermoso. Make sure you call for a reservation.

And sizzle with the sizzling foods served at Yom’s Grill and the tried and tested Camaron rebosado (fried shrimps) of Gazpacho’s Food House.

Try a variety of cooked chicken

Then try out Iligan’s sumptuous chicken houses. Don’t miss out on this one, visit Sunburst Fried Chicken.

Iligan Restaurant Sunburst Fried Chicken

They offer one of a kind fine dining, famous for their fried chicken and cozy ambience. And of course Chrisven Food Haus and Dear Manok are not left behind in terms of flavor.

And after a day shopping in Iligan, take a break and satisfy your sweet tooth on cool spots where you don’t need to be dressed up to wind down.

These easy and low-maintenance Iligan restaurants offer unique coffee blends, delicious cakes and pastries. Aruma Coffee Lounge has an indoor (air-conditioned) and outdoor seating, plus quick service while the unpretentious crowd amp the hip factor of this resto bar and gallery.

Take a bite of Iliganon’s pizzas and their Maranao delicacy beef randang – makes you want to come back for more.

Or try Michelle’s Cakes and Pastries’ sylvannas or Peek ‘n Berry Pastries’ baked macaroni and drink with Zoey’s refreshing shakes and Halo-Halo (mixture of fruits and sweetened beans topped with crushed ice and ice cream). Very refreshing and you’ll surely ask for more!

Take a lunch-out, break for a cheap fill

We scout the city for small food stops that tipped happy, thrifty eater’s lists. We’re pretty sure these joints will become your new found faves too. They serve Filipino foods like sinigang (meat stewed with mostly tamarind and other vegetables), pinakbet, paksiw and lechon baboy/manok (roasted pork/chicken) dipped in vinegar and garlic.

Your choices are the Big Dipper Restaurant, Quick-Cha Corner, Kuzina Iliganon or Epay’s Lechon Manok.

Chinese food anyone?

If you opt for Chinese foods, then why not get yourself served at Lai-lai Yeung Chow Restaurant and play poker afterwards in their outside setting or get a taste of JY Dimsum House delicacies. Their menus are fairly priced and their foods are full of taste. Pork and Shrimp Siomai, noodles, Dim Sum, Congee are just a few of the Chinese foods offered in these restaurants. I don’t know about you , but I’m getting hungry!

There! We’ve dished out the places where “yum” and “mmmmmm” are known to be made when it comes to dining in Iligan City.

Now, try any of Iligan restaurants for yourselves. They’re looking forward to serve you!

And when you ready to party ‘til dawn, check out one of the hottest night spots in town.

Just recently, Iligan City now has one less grooving nightspot – Club ZINC – they closed their doors for good not too long ago. Yes, you are going to miss sipping some of their one-of-a-kind-name drinks!

Not to worry though, there are still plenty of clubs that will sure fire up your nightlife in Iligan!

Iligan Nightlife

The party begins after dark…

When the sun goes down, Iligan nightlife comes ALIVE!

Get the most of your nights in Iligan… plenty of opportunities for excitement with the added bonus of it being cheap.

While nightlife in the Philippines is known to be a unique experience, Iligan nightlife is no different. You will find everything you need to enjoy yourself.

Whether your joy comes from sitting on the street with an outdoor cafe watching the locals stroll by, or satisfy your mood to dine at one of Iligan’s finest restaurants, or you like to dance…

…ultimately your night will wind up to be one unforgettable experience you will be talking about with family and friends for years.

Eat, drink and have FUN!

Dining and drinking are probably the first things that come to mind. Fear not, the food in Iligan is delicious and amazingly low.

Iligan restaurants serve the best Philippine foods and can satisfy the most discerning tastes. See our choices here.

Most bars and clubs cater to young locals. The city’s younger generation is a hardworking bunch, and knows very well the importance of cooling down after a day’s work.

More and more bars and nightspots are popping into the picture, eager to reward the hardworking Iliganons and entertain its visitors.

Many bars are open late, and clubs are open even later.

Before you go for the night out, the question you need to ask is how will you get to back to your house or hotel without a car? If you don’t have private transportation, a taxi is your best bet. I highly recommend it!

Nightlife in Iligan…is alive and kicking!

Numerous dance clubs dot the city. Those looking for places to party in Iligan will enjoy spending a little time here where there is plenty of partying going on.

Your first nightspot to try should be the Iliganon Bar – tucked away in a quiet location in Pala-o, this charming bar is one of the more easygoing bars in town.

There are still great places to meet friends and share a pitcher of beer. Most of these places have open bar with live music played on the stage. Will have them posted soon!

Looking for more places to party in Iligan? Why not spend some time with friends at Darren’s.

Iligan nightlife offers a little something for everyone!

Whatever you’re looking for in terms of Iligan nightlife, you are sure to find it here.

With the speed at which the city is developing, it’s only a matter of time before newer, hipper bars make it to the scene – and when they do, you’ll hear about it here, first!

Iligan Bus

Ride the Iligan Bus – from Iligan to Cagayan and back.

If you want to travel by land from Iligan to Cagayan and vice-versa, take one of the Iligan bus.

What used to be Fortune & Diamond now to Rural Transit & Super Five…

Indeed, land travel has become more convenient these days. It has greatly evolved from the “Fortune” and “Diamond” bus eras of my younger days. Now…now please stop doing the math about my age. I am still young; I just happen to have a good memory for the days past.

Anyway, now are the days of Rural Transit and Super 5.

These are the two bus companies plying the Cagayan and Pagadian routes from Iligan. I must say that competition between the two has made land travel more convenient for the riding public.

Please note however, that unlike in the past when buses would traverse the city’s main road, you now have to go to the bus terminal to get a ride.

For northbound buses, the terminal is in Tambo and in Camague for southbound buses.

But don’t worry, the terminals are accessible by jeepney or taxi or even by “sikad”.

Ride In Comfort, Ride the Bus!

It used to be that air-conditioned buses were non-existent. Now, the Iligan buses are not just air-conditioned, the seats can even be reclined!

It is even equipped with a TV & DVD player so you can watch a movie while on the road. That is if you prefer not to sleep. And the fare? Just P120 or USD2.50 to Cagayan! Not expensive I may say.

But for those who still prefer to travel al fresco, despair not. non-aircon buses are still very much around. I even have friends who prefer to travel this way. They feel that the open air makes them feel less motion sick.

You see my friends took the aircon bus to Cagayan once. At first they were excited about taking the Iligan bus but when the wheels started turning the excitement soon turned to agony. They felt sick that they keep peeping at the window curtains to check where they are. Later on, they told me it was the longest bus ride of their lives. When they reached Cagayan, they were as white as a writing paper! The trip really took its toll on them.

And before I forget, they told me to remind anyone who is taking the non-aircon bus ride to make sure you take a hairbrush or a comb. They arrived Cagayan with a new do!

On the other side, it is good thing that bus companies didn’t completely phase out the non-aircon buses. Everyone can still enjoy the roadside scenery of the beach, of coconut trees, of the sea dotted with bathers, fishing boats on the shore, schools and the scenery of everyday life.

And traveling to Cagayan (which am familiar with) the scenery is made even more enjoyable with: – the bibingka (native rice cake) peddlers in Manticao, the fruit vendors at Midway, the fish markets and seaside restaurants at Opol.

Now riding an Iligan bus really makes traveling a real pleasure!

…dali na! Biyahe na ta!

Iligan Beaches

Family fun in the sand!

Whatever the occasion, you can enjoy Iligan beaches with family and friends. Enjoy the day or stay the night away…

When you say Iligan beaches, what comes to mind? As for me – sandy shores, calm seas, clear waters and coconut trees…

Last but not least, Iligan lechon. Yes. You just can’t go to the beach without lechon.

Hanging rice anyone?

More about that later. Go ahead, bask in the sun, swim in the waters and watch the sunsets…

See Top Iligan Beaches Here!

Regs Beach Resort — Sta. Filomena – a small beach resort tucked away among the residences.

It has a restaurant, a conference hall, open cottages and rooms for the night stay.

What is a party without music playing and videoke? Not a problem here!

Another pride of Sta. Filomena, Chelina Beach Resort.

Resort amenities to include room service and a swimming pool. Book this resort for your next family reunion or for that special wedding.

With a restuarant on site, they can cater delicious meals for your next business meeting, conference or family reunion.

Bucana Beach is your best choice if you want to take a dip in a mixture of river water and ocean water. The beach is near the Agus River not far away from Maria Cristina Falls.

Sabac and Halibas Beach. They’re smaller beaches but within them, you can find just that perfect spot for swimming. Or, if you just want to be away from it all.

Warm ocean water to cold spring water of Timoga. Ever tried going from warm ocean water to cold spring water? It’s exhilarating!

You can do both when you visit Iligan’s best pool resort, Timoga Resort. You choose…pool resort or beach in Timoga. Or, why choose at all when you can easily go to both.

Take a plunge in the cold pools, cross the street and dip in warm ocean water.

Be Here By Sunset

Are you looking for that perfect spot to watch the sunset?

One of the many great spots – Centennial Park.

It’s located along the coastline near the National Highway in Dalipuga. And why not go for a swim.

Bring the entire family. Have a picnic under the ‘talisay’ trees, feel the breeze, take a dip in the ocean…and make lots of memories.

And before you head home, just a few strides away, is the Hoyohoy restaurant. Try one of their local delicacies and take in the fresh smell of the ocean.

Go ahead swim, dine, and have lots of fun. But whatever you do, don’t miss the many things to do in Iligan, Iligan waterfalls, and if your the outdoorsy type, check out sporting in Iligan.

Come, join the many Iliganons celebrate Iligan fiesta in September!

When was the last time you went home? Isn’t it about time to rediscover the natural wonders Iligan City has to offer?

Iligan Anahaw Amphitheater

The Largest of its class in Mindanao.

The Iligan Anahaw Amphitheater is the largest ‘open’ amphitheater in Mindanao.

Remember, the key word here is “open”. Why?

Because, the Freedom Ring Giant Amphitheater in Pampanga is touted to be the “largest” amphitheater in the Philippines.

Anahaw Amphitheater can hold as many as 5,000 people at a single event. And it’s home to many concerts and festivals.

Called the ‘ Jewel of Iligan’, the Anahaw amphitheater is green and looks like a cut emerald when one views it from the top.

Iligan Anahaw Amphitheater

Do you ever wonder why it’s called the Anahaw Amphitheater? I do.

The idea for the amphitheater was conceived by the late Mayor Camilo P. Cabili. It was built in the late 70’s on the southeastern side of city hall. The plan was to build a stage and it’s backdrop would be the Anahaw leaves. Rightly, the project was named “Design of Anahaw Stage”. However, the stage was never built but the project name remained. So now everyone refers to it as the Anahaw Amphitheater.

A Stunning Venue

Every three years, this open-air venue becomes a silent witness to the proclamation of the newly elected officials –city mayor, vice mayor and other city officials.

And every Monday morning, the flag raising ceremony is at the Iligan Anahaw amphitheater and attended by all city government workers.

Not only that, it has been a venue to many events and will continue to be the ideal place to hold concerts, festivals and other functions.

Talking about festivals, the biggest of them all is the Iligan’s annual Kasadya Street Dancing Showdown. Attended by many residents and visitors from neighboring towns, the amphitheater becomes alive.

Anahaw – Philippine National Leaf

Remember, Anahaw is the “Pambansang Dahon” or the Philippine National Leaf. Know also that the fan-shaped of Anahaw leaf is a common symbol use in awards and medals representing high achievement.

In Latin, Anahaw is a fan- shaped palm called Livistona Rotundifolia.

Usually, it’s peaceful and quiet. Other times, you find children romping and playing in the amphitheater. It becomes the largest playground in Iligan.

And for the romantics out there, it’s a quiet place for privacy when the children are not around.

Now, this area has become one of the many attractions and one of the things to do in Iligan.

Aside from the Iligan Anahaw Amphitheater, you can visit the Maria Cristina Falls, the city’s National Park and the cool Timoga Resort.

Christmas in Iligan

Celebrate next Christmas in Iligan.

What is Christmas in Iligan City like? It’s a celebration like no other.

Celebrating Christmas holidays in Iligan City as I remember it fondly, is a celebration of faith,thanksgiving, and LOTS of Fun!

It’s a perfect time to offer thanks and perfect time to reminisce about the good ole days!

Christmas in Iligan

Christmas lights here, there, and Christmas lights everywhere!

— houses are decorated and full of them. You might not see a Christmas tree flocked with natural snow in front of houses, but you’ll see and admire the beauty of many parols (lanterns) hanging in almost every window.

Christmas without a parol is like Christmas without a tree!

Christmas lights light up the plaza (now called Rizal Park). Red, green, and yellow lights strung from one corner to the next decorates the houses. The Buhanginan Hill staff shows off the government buildings with countless lights that become a symbol of peace and joy to all.

The warm feeling of Christmas is all around you.

It’s Christmas Time in Iligan!
You Feel It! You Love It!
You Share It!

To many families, hanging the parol outside is the sign kids look forward to. To them, it’s Christmas time — time to get their friends together and plan their caroling partnership.

This is like the weekend right after Thanksgiving in the US — it marks the beginning of the Christmas season — it’s the biggest sale ever where people line up early to get the better if not, the best shopping deals of the Christmas season. Yeah, that’s right. Some get up as early as 3:00 in the morning just to get in line for newest gadget in town.

So when the sun sets in Iligan, carolers young and old are out and about. Singing familiar Christmas songs that warms your heart. Memorable tunes from when I was growing up are still being sung. With a peso or two, you can make the kids’ faces glow.

Some mumbled the words and some don’t even know, but it’s okay, they’re just trying to pass their cheer to you. Their faces, their excitement, it’s all worth it! This is what Christmas is all about! It makes you want to be a kid again.

Now, let’s hear from the talented Iliganons!

The city is rife with talent – singers, dancers, photographers, costume makers, artists, and many others. When they sing and dance, the whole world listens! Festivities all year long is proof how the kids are trained to sing and dance at home and in school.

Christmas in Iligan includes attending neighborhood or community events that will showcase the talents of the young and the old. The song and dance presentations of the neighborhood kids is a big part that make up the Christmas traditions in Iligan City.

Are You Homesick Yet?

It’s Christmas in Iligan and it’s BONUS Time!

It is the season of giving. Most businesses in Iligan City, regardless of religious beliefs, give their employees bonuses at this time of the year. And they give quite generously.

Filipinos work hard throughout the year and look forward to Christmas when their hard work is being recognize by a sizable bonus. Many Iliganons work for local start up import-export businesses and factories nearby.

Bountiful is the word that best describes Christmas in Iligan, followed by festive and fun. Like any other group of people in the Philippines, Iliganons celebrate the season with gusto brought about by hard work during the whole year.

Wait ‘til you hear about the early morning masses – Misa de Gallo in Iligan.

The climate in December is a bit cold, a bit windy, and uniquely different. So you can get pleasure from a short walk to St. Michael Cathedral for the early mass. You do not have to huddle against the cold draft alone as many people are going to church with you, and pretty soon, the whole church warmed by the sheer density of the people attending mass.

And finally, Noche Buena in Iligan is where you want to be!

The Iliganons have a wonderful way of making guests feel right at home; and the best way to do this is through food: spaghetti, lumpia, biko, suman, cakes, cheeses, the famous Iligan lechon and …

The mention of all these delicacies makes my mouth water!

Yes, spending Christmas in Iligan will always be the best time to talk about life in Iligan and what it’s like being away from Iligan. The festivities bring to mind the familiar feeling of belonging to this town – a town that holds many fond memories of our childhood.

Just a few reasons why you should celebrate Christmas in Iligan!

Iligan Tartanilla

Iligan Tartanilla – the former King of the Road!

Listen! clikity clak…clickity clak…did you hear that?

Way before the jeepney, the Iligan tartanilla or “kalesa” (horse-drawn carriage) was the Philippines’ king of the road.

It was the country’s major mode of transportation.

It was then when life seemed simply easy and slow…

Drift back in time for a moment before World War II…back in the 18th century, the “kalesa” now tartanilla, was introduced during the Spanish occupation. And in those years, Spanish nobility and rich Filipinos called the “Illustrados” used the kalesa as their primary means of transportation: for personal travel as well as commercial.

So what happened?

Well, the need for tartanillas diminished after World War II when the jeepney came along. Read the story how jeepney became the king of the road.

Just between you and me, even when the jeepney came, the Iligan tartanilla was still going strong. I’m sure you will agree with me…you see them around town. You see them around schools, in the old market near the pier, basically you see them everywhere!

They were all over the city back then. Back when I was still in high school – when Iligan City National High School was still called Iligan City High School.

Iligan Tartanilla

Ride the Iligan Tartanilla Before They’re Gone For Good

Now allow yourself to imagine…

It was the month of May and the year was 1986… It was my family’s first visit to Iligan. My daughters and husband was just thrilled to see this horse-driven carriage. They were so excited! They have seen horses before in horse races, cowboy movies, and western horse-drawn wagon, but not like the tartanilla here in Iligan.

Obviously, we rented a very special Iligan tartanilla to see Iligan in that way. It was nice slow city tour (a full circle around town).

The kids were ecstatic! In fact, they wanted to ride again. On the other hand, my husband had just about enough after the first block. He whispered, “I feel bad for the horse. In fact, I should get out and walk.” I can’t really blame him; he stands over 6 feet tall, strong, and can walk faster than the horse. He felt guilty riding it. But for the kids, it was truly fun!

Today, many years past, I can still picture my daughters’ little faces with sheer joy and excitement on their first kalesa ride…that was in 1986. Loud and clear! I can hear them laughing and giggling. Memories like these are etched forever in my heart!

Are you beginning to see the simple pleasures in life?

Here’s a thought. Horse-drawn carriage rides are a wonderful way to experience the town.It would be a great tourist thing to do in Iligan. Like New York, they use horse-drawn carriages to tour Central Park. Why not use Iligan tartanillas to your Iligan? How about horse-drawn carriages for rent for a wedding?

STOP! listen to your own thoughts.

The reality is…times must have been hard for the Iligan tartanilla.

Recently, friends traveling to Iligan had such a tough time locating one to hire for a city tour. They eventually found one in Kabulihan but it couldn’t take them to the city proper anymore.
Iligan Tartanilla
…waiting for you

You probably know these horse-drawn carriages are no longer allowed in the main streets of Iligan. A City Ordinance must have banned them from the street routes as they used too.

You can catch one from the Pala-o Supermarket but they can only take you if you’re going to Saray or Tambacan. Also, they are only allowed to use Badelles St.

Clearly, modernization in the city has made Iligan tartanilla outdated. And in today’s fast world, being slow on the road can only mean chaotic traffic.

Horse Throwing a Tantrum

Nobody knows what triggers it. They just get wild and become uncontrollable, but leave it to Mr. Kutsero, the rig driver. He knows exactly what to do.
Iligan Tartanilla

When the horse refused to move, Mr. Kutsero cajoles the horse in hopes that he can move him to proceed to your destination. If the driver can’t control the horse, passengers leave and he is not paid. That is bad business for Mr. Kutsero.

Anyways, cruel it may seem, the driver has to use the whip to discipline the horse. So, when the horse goes crazy, Mr. Kutsero reminds you to keep calm and trust him to bring the horse back to its senses.
Iligan Tartanilla

I’ll be honest with you; I was scared of walking on the street beside one. I was scared the horse would suddenly turn in my direction and smack me! Or be kissed by a horse with a mouth full of frothy saliva.

So either you are kissed or are kicked; not pretty choices I must say. The only good thing that could come out of this if the horse turns into a prince. But, the last time I remember, only frogs turn into princes!

Time to Say Goodbye to Mr. Kutsero

But STOP! Not So Fast.

Saying goodbye to Mr. Kutsero may come soon enough but for now enjoy the Iligan tartanilla as they show off during the city’s Independence Day Parade, Alimyon Flower Festival, and Adlaw sa Iligan celebrations.

Alimyon Festival

Gradually you have seen these kalesas being restricted to roads less traveled. And eventually younger generation would only learn of the tartanilla from history books and stories told by their lola and lolo (grandmother and grandfather).

Imagine having the chance to return to Iligan — not a tartanilla in sight. I don’t know about you, but I could still hear that sound…clikity clak…clikity clak…clikity clak…


Iligan Sikad

Iligan Sikad – it’s pedal powered!

Your Iligan sikad is a non-motorized bicycle modified to seat up to two more people. That’s right, for two more people.

Sikad is a Visayan term meaning the action of the foot.

It could mean either kick or pedal. But the 90’s gave a new meaning of the word and the Philippines’ sikad is born.

A sikad is a bicycle (usually the BMX type) with a sidecar attached to it.
The sidecar has a thinly cushioned bench and a cover to protect the passengers, at most two, from the heat and the rain.

You guess it right. To set the bike in motion, one need only pedal.

They are very common and popular in many areas in the Philippines. They are available anytime of day. But in Iligan, they are banned from entering jeepney routes. Rightly so or otherwise there’d be endless traffic jams.

Usually, you will find the Iligan sikad near schools and residential areas. They dominate the narrow residential streets.

Places like Tibanga, San Miguel, Villaverde, Pala-o, Canaway and Tubod are popular hot spots for sikad drivers. These Barangay areas are mainly residential.

Jeepney passengers are just too happy to take the sikad. It saves them from walking under the heat of the sun or the drenching rain. It’s like a low-end taxi.

These bikes are queued with the drivers just nearby. The Iligan sikad fare is between three to five pesos per passenger.

On a good day, a sikad driver can make between one to two hundred pesos. If the driver own the bike, he gets to keep all the monies made. If not, he has to pay for rental of the bike.

Pedal power…crucial and exhausting

The speed at which the sikad moves purely depends on the pedal power of the driver. So if you’re in a rush, you might have to choose a young driver to get you to your destination in time.

And if I may add, make sure the driver’s weight would balance yours, too. It comes in handy especially when he has to negotiate a turn. Yes, it’s a bit of a balancing act too!

To take the sikad or not.

Seriously, I think if you have a chance to ride one, why not? Riding the Pinoy rickshaw gives you a chance to be one with the local folks. So when in the Iligan, ride the sikad!

As they say, when in Rome do as the Romans do.

Do you know the best thing about a sikad? It’s both economical and environmentally friendly.

You can actually get to several destinations without spending too much and without the toxic fumes.

Last, you can easily take the Iligan sikad if you’re planning to take pictures around the city. Iligan sikad drivers are eager to take you around so you can take those special kodak moments.

When you are ready to explore more of the city’s scenic wonders, hire a taxi or a jeepney. Visit Buhanginan Hill, swim at the cool pools of Timoga, and don’t miss the Iligan beaches.
What’s in a name

Sikad to Iliganons, tricycle to others. Yes, you can find tricycles in other parts of the world. They might not call it sikad, but they look and function the same way.

Just like in the Philippines and in many parts of South Asia and Southeast Asia, tricycles are mainly used as taxis for hire – transporting people and cargo commercially. It is a job for many locals in these parts of the world.

However, in Europe, United States and Canada, tricycles are limited to personal use. In United States and Canada alone, tricycles are used by elderly and families with children for recreational, shopping, and exercise.