Barotac Viejo is currently experiencing fantastic growth and interest as a tourist destination in the province of Iloilo. The town hopes to offer everything visitors could want in privacy, beauty and breathtaking views. If you are looking for moments of solitude in the fast bustling city life, what you need is a trip to the town which will bring you peace and closeness to nature. Come discover Barotac Viejo’s best kept secrets.
The Third-Class municipality of Barotac Viejo is situated in the northestern portion of the province. It is 52 kilometers away or an hour and forty-five minutes drive from Iloilo City. The town is bounded in the northwest by the Municipality of San Rafael; in the south by the Municipality of Banate and the Visayan Sea; in the east by the Municipality of Lemery and the Province of Capiz, and; in the west by the Municipality of Passi and San Enrique. It has a land area of 14, 230 hectares that is politically subdivided into 26 barangays.
Barotac Viejo is populated by 45, 808 (2015 Census on Population) Barotacnons. Market day is every Thursday. Iyt annually celebrates its Religious Festival every 29th of June in honour of St. Peter the Apostle.
To get to the town, one can take a bus or van at the new Ceres Terminal in Barangay Camalig, Jaro, Iloilo City.
Barotac Viejo was founded in 1754. The town started as a small settlement near San Juan Bay, surrounding the estuaries of Paywan and Barotac Viejo River. The first settlers were a clan of families from Cebu who escaped from Marauding Muslims or Moros. The settlement grew and was elevated to a barangay in 1765
In 1771, bonds of Moros swept through the Visayas, striking mortal fear among people living in coastal pueblos. The cabeza de barangay elders decided later to move the community from the seacoast to a safer haven inland. Transfering inland, out of danger from the Moro marauders, a small clearing by the bank of the river was chosen where a new community was established. This was called bagong banwa or new town.
The frequency of Moro attacks in the Visayas prompted the Spanish Governor Simon de Anda to put up a fleet of light gunboats for the defense of the coastal towns. After having to transfer sites several times, the latest site was established. Known as Bagong Banwa it was renamed “Baro-lutak” or “Barrotak.” The name was a combination of two words, one in Spanish and the other in Hiligaynon and both were synonymous, meaning “mud.”
When anther town was named Barotac some years later, the preceding town, which was the original, became known as Barotac Viejo, and the new town became Barotac Nuevo.
ULYSSES VALDEZ FARM is a tourist farm resort privately owned by Dr. Ulysses L. Valdez situated in the scenic Barangay of Rizal, 6 kilometers away from the poblacion of Barotac Viejo, Iloilo. It prides itself on being a family-friendly resort with many activities available for both parents and children. Spread over 14 hectares of land surrounded by varieties of fruit-bearing trees, coffee plantation, fish pens, flower gardens, plant nurseries and poultry and cattle areas, the resort presents a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere that is ideal for mediating, reading and writing. Visitors can also spend some time fishing or taking nature walks through the property.
BALBOA FARM situated at Barangay Vista Alegre, 7 kilometers from the poblacion offers activities and adventures to fulfill your every desire. Find yourself on a relaxing nature hike. Glide down mountain byways through their custom zipline measuring 37 feet in height with a length of 130 meters. Be as active as your heart desires by enjoying their firing range, horseback riding and fishing. Enjoy playing football and volleyball in their well-trimmed fields. It has areas for fruit bearing trees and coffee. It has a pavilion that can accommodate 50 persons for small group activities.
NAGPANA AETA COMMUNITY in Barangay Lipata, 12 kilometers from the poblacion of Barotac Viejo lies hidden from view to those visiting the area.
Everything about the Aeta community reflects sensitivity to the environment and respect for the area’s traditional Aboriginal owners. The sitio covers 938 hectares of verdant forest land where 200 hectares is identified as a “reserved area” for its watershed.
Framed by stunning mountain views, it is home to Nagpana Falls where guests can enjoy a host of activities revolving around it, while still having time to explore the spectacular scenery surrounding the community.
TALTAL, celebrated every Good Friday, is considered as one of Iloilo’s longest running Lenten traditions. The community take this event very seriously that it has been religiously observed for the last 39 years as the local government helps in providing logistical and technical support. It is a well-celebrated Lenten event although not as grand as the one in Guimaras is fast gaining in importance.
A huge crowd annually show up for this dramatized tribute performed in Hiligaynon by volunteer actors in the community. No professional actors are hired and the cast is drawn from all walks of life from within the municipality. Almost a hundred people participate in the production.
BAROTO SA LUTAC RACE is celebrated every last week of June. It is a boat racing festivity participated in by barangays competing in pairs. The boat race is of two categories, the de layag where the raceboat is propelled by saild and windpower. The second, the de bugsay is where contestants use paddles to head towards the finish line. The event is observed annually to honor the town’s history and industry.
PATUBAS is celebrated every 3rd week of December and was taken from the Hiligaynon word meaning “harvest.” It is a food festival that celebrates the bounty of the town and its blessings. It showcases an exciting range of culinary delights the town is known for.