Welcome to another Featured Post from the DLinkers team!
Summer just wouldn’t be complete without some sand and sea. So this year, your favorite SEO team decided to have a little fun under the hot sun – but not so far away from the city. Getaways can also be a lot of work (i.e. planning, pre-bookings, phone calls, etc.). But if you really want to take a break, there are plenty of ways to unwind without riding a plane. And that’s exactly what we did.
Last year, we amazed you with the wonders of nature from our Palawan adventure. Now, allow us to stir a bit of wanderlust in you with new stories from our Concepcion getaway!
DAY ONE: On the Road to Quintessential Concepcion
About an hour and a half to two hours (three, if you’re taking the bus) North from the busyness of Iloilo City, Concepcion is a quaint town embraced by the sea.
The mainland itself is in the island of Panay, but the town also constitutes 16 other islands, said to be highland masses or half-submerged mountains. As there is very little land for farming, the primary source of income for most residents is fishing. So if you’re after the freshest – and biggest – seafood, get up real early and head on over to the Concepcion fishing port for the tastiest catch at super affordable prices!
Although we’re not after the fish just yet, we wanted to get there early as the afternoon sun is particularly hot these days. At 6AM, the hardworking DLinkers team, still somewhat sleepy, assembled for the much-awaited trip.
Before 7AM, we’re already on the road. We were lucky enough to find a van that would accommodate us as a team so we wouldn’t have to take the extra hour going to the town. After all, we could use that hour to relax!
If you’re planning on visiting Concepcion but cannot take a private vehicle, the HPQ bus at Tagbak terminal in Jaro, Iloilo city accepts passengers as early as 7AM.
Concepcion: Garilva Recreation Center
As the old saying goes, “the early bird gets the early worm”. In the case of the DLinkers team, we’re the early birds who get to eat yummy breakfast first!
The Garilva Recreation Center would be our home for the weekend as we chill out and take in the beauty of this quintessential town. This hotel is an inexpensive DOT-accredited accommodation that can cater to you or your family for one-night stays or extended visits. They can also help arrange island-hopping tours (for an additional fee).
We have an entire day of fun so we filled up our tummies first and took a LOT of photos by the poolside.
When planning your stay at Concepcion, be sure to coordinate with someone you know OR directly from the Tourism officer. This is to ensure that your mini vacation goes smoothly and with less stress.
DLinkers Team @ Sandbar Island
With over 7,107 islands, the Philippines is home to an almost unlimited number of beaches – and Concepcion is no exception. If your budget doesn’t allow for expensive options like Boracay this Summer, consider less travelled places such as this little gem in the Northern part of Panay.
One of its attractions boast of clean, fine sand and shallow, clear blue waters ideal for swimming. Concepcion’s Sandbar Island Resort is known for its long winding sandbar, which is said to change based on the direction of the wind. Whether you’re a lone backpacker or a group of curious tourists, this isolated island is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing, picnics, or simply admiring the beauty of nature.
The DLinkers team certainly didn’t mind the 20 to 30-minute boat ride just to see this amazing location. Although it’s a popular destination, there are still not that much people. So if you want to experience some peace and quiet after a long, grinding week, this could be the escape you need.
So what’s on the agenda? Swimming, of course – and LOTS of it!
After that, a filling lunch of seafood awaited us. What’s better that cooking and eating next to the blue sea? Cooking and eating with your teammates!
After a few minutes of rest, the DLinkers team is up for some good, clean fun. Games dominated much of the afternoon, along with some quiet talks and lingering laughter. More swimming, anyone?
If you love the beauty of the beach, we recommend staying long enough for the remarkable Sandbar sunset. As the wind gets cooler, you’ll be spellbound by the orange and gold rays as they cast shadows on the waves.
There’s always that strange yearning to stay behind every time we leave a particularly splendid place. Just before we hopped on the boat, we take one last good look on the mesmerizing beauty of one of Concepcion’s most treasured islands.
Estancia: Dinner Under the Stars
Perhaps one of the best things about taking Summer trips is the FOOD.
Good thing the DLinkers team events coordinator planned something special for all of us. That night’s dinner would be at Punot Grill & Restaurant at Estancia. It’s a bit far from our hotel, but we just don’t want to miss out on luscious seafood with a modern twist. So off we go on a little night road trip while we look forward to a delicious feast at the end of the day.
Cool night time breeze, clear starry skies, plus casual talks with your colleagues after a long week of hard work? We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Although very late, the DLinkers team arrived safely back at Garilva Recreation Center for some well-deserved night’s sleep. But with our senses still tingling from all that excitement, WHO could sleep?
DAY TWO: the Great Dried Seafood Hide-and-Seek
As day broke at 6AM, we were already up and about. Morning of the second day meant shopping! As Concepcion and the surrounding towns were famous for seafood, the best pasalubong back to our loves ones in the city would be none other than delectable dried seafood delicacies. It was hard to leave, but if it meant bringing home tasty treats, we’re definitely game.
Concepcion fishing port was abuzz with activity by the time we got there. From fish, squid, crabs, to shrimps, it’s a seafood lovers’ paradise.
Pro tip: if you’re planning on getting great buys, be sure to come to the port as early as you can. Have a cooler handy (or you can buy from the nearby stalls) and the vendors will gladly pack these little guys for you. It’s best if you have ready transportation so the seafood stays fresh until you can cook them.
As most of the DLinkers team would be unable to buy the lovely fresh seafood, we opted instead for its salty dried variants. But they seemed elusive! Soon, we found ourselves on the road on the search for these delicious delicacies. This brought us to the tiny town of Sara where a local market was being held. Nothing like a little bit of exercise in the morning.
Once we’ve bought what we needed, it was time for some pool fun back at Garilva Recreation Center.
One Last Pool Hurrah
After our rendezvous with the sea the other day, the pool looked more inviting than ever. You don’t have to be a pro to swim either: armed with proper swimming attires and goggles, the DLinkers team jumped straight into the refreshing waters after a tiring game of hide-and-seek with salted treats.
Featuring a concrete slide for kids and adults, the Garilva water slide is a joy to ride. Splash around or swim away to your heart’s content! After all, who knows when we’ll have such a great time again, right?
DLinkers Team: On the Road Home
Filled with memories of sunsets, fish, blue waters, and laughter, the DLinkers team was finally ready to head home.
Iloilo city would be another hour or two away, but that’s enough to reminisce about all the fun we’ve had. Company trips are essential not only to build strong teams, but also to relax the mind from the daily grind of work.
What did we learn from two days out in the sun? Well, a LOT. We learned the value of a good night’s sleep, we discovered how time flies by quicker when in the company of good friends, and that food is ALWAYS worth the trip. But above all, it’s that a little reward every now and then is essential to the success of a team.
Where are we off to next?
Stay tuned and find out. Subscribe to our blog and get not only the latest in SEO updates, but also these travelogues. The world is big and so is our curiosity. So don’t forget to follow your favorite DLinkers SEO team for another grand adventure.