|View from the church opposite|
|View from the belfry opposite|
|Irony like this is hard to come by. Shrine to female Greek Goddesses with a building used by the Spanish to conquer the Philippines right next to it. Aphrodite is the one you can see clearest. The contradiction is priceless.|
|Mango orchard on Guimaras Island|
The third day I traveled the Southern Coast of Panay stopping at all of the towns to visit their ancient Catholic Churches. Before I even left Iloilo, Bambi and I walked to a church near her house in a neighborhood called Villa. I also visited the old home of a family of weavers weaving fine pineapple strand and silk fabrics for barongs, table cloths, and women's leisure clothing. Amazingly, I found and played the very first passable piano I've found here. It's a Yamaha upright that was in tune and everything, and I even went back to play it the next day. From there I headed to my farthest destination of the day, San Joaquin, where I found the neighborhood and met a famous sculptor who uses rudimentary tools to carve sandstone figures. He even took me down to the river where he works on bigger projects and showed me his method. He sells many pieces for a pretty penny, but it mostly goes to his seven young boys. He's a poor, overworked, still young man with a beautiful soul and a beautiful baritone voice. San Joaquin has a gorgeous church and plaza, but it was nothing compared to the UNESCO World Heritage church in the next town of Miagao. Built in 1797, it was Spanish-commissioned and Filipino-built, of course. Walked around until I found my way back to the highway, more jeeps, more towns, and more old churches. In Oton, I was looking for something specific. Quip had told me of an artist community called Pugad near Oton, I went and visited with the owner/founder/teacher of this small coop of tree houses in the orchard he planted. Mangoes, figs, vegetables, rice, and other crops and trees grow there because he planted them, and he has spent the last year teaching the children of the community how to do all sorts of arts for free for ten years. He makes a meager living in architectural design for his family, and the proceeds of his own fantastic art goes to the arts community. Even the students land commissions and are able to earn and learn at the same time. His place is the manifestation of two separate dreams I've had of building a musician/artists coop and a self-sustainable farm/homestead near enough to a city to market the arts, but far enough away to find solitude, nature, and peace.
|UNESCO World Heritage Church built 1797|
|I swear it didn't look like ketchup in real life...|
The next day I took a jeep up to Dingle for an excursion into Bulabog Puti-an National Park.