My Cycling Tour on Panay, Philippine Islands

Map of Philippine Islands with Panay Island highlighted

Click on Day Link:

IloiloAug25-Sept 4, Sept 11-13Iloilo (non-cycling)
Day 0Sept 3Sunday Guimaras Island
Day 1Sept 5TuesayIloilo to San Jose
Day 2Sept 6Wednesday San Jose to Culasi
Day 3Sept 7ThursdayCulasi to Boracay
Day 4Sept 8FridayBoracay to Kalibo
Day 5Sept 9SaturdayKalibo to Passi
Day 6Sept 10SundayPassi to Iloilo

In the fall of 2000 I had the opportunity to spend three weeks on Panay Island in the Philippines. Of course, I brought my bike along and managed to do a 6-day solo self-supported tour while I was there. To understand why I went to the Philippines, I must first tell you a little history.

After 330 years of Spanish rule, the Philippine islands became an American colony in 1898 after the Spanish-American war. Filipino freedom fighters fought alongside American forces, whom they were assured came as liberators. However in December, the peace treaty between America and Spain ceded the Philippines to the US. A bloody civil war followed, which America put down ruthlessly.

America's less-than-honorable conduct in the war was followed by much more enlightened government of its new colony. One of the first things the military administration did was to set up schools throughout the islands. Soon the military-run schools were replaced by civilian ones, often set up under the auspices of church missionary groups from America.   My grandparents were part of that movement.

My grandmothers sitting with my infant mother on her lap
My grandmother and mother in their home in Iloilo, circa 1920
Dr. Harland Stuart, my grandfather They arrived with their two-year-old daughter (my Mother) in 1919 to teach and administer a Baptist missionary school in the city of Iloilo on the island of Panay, one of the central (Visayan) islands in the Philippine archipelago. Within a few years, my grandfather, Dr. Harland F. Stuart, (who was himself a cyclist!) became the first President of the new two-year college that was set up, which became a full-fledged four-year institution before they left in 1939. At that time there were about 400 students. Today Central Philippine University (CPU) has an enrollment of over 11,000.

My mother left in 1935 at age 17 to attend college in the States and never returned. My mission to the Philippines was to take Mom back to the land of her youth after an absence of 65 years. My uncle Dave had returned to CPU with his wife Hazel two years previously to be a consultant to their TV/video department and acted as our host while we were there. Mom and I stayed at a hotel just a couple blocks from the CPU back gate.

Some useful links about Panay Island:

Iloilo city web site
Iloilo Department of Tourism
Hiligaynon Reader, a book for learning Ilonggo
Bohol On-line Ilonggo dictionary

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Last updated November 22, 2021