There is so much to like about Alimodian, a small municipality in Iloilo Province. Although Alimodian is only about twenty-five kilometers from Iloilo City, Alimodian is really a world apart, a pretty, quiet town with an alpine feel. Alimodian is surrounded by hills and a bit further by mountains. Most everything is well maintained, the streets and plaza free from litter, showing that the residents have pride in their community. Alimodian’s old stone Spanish Church and plaza are the centerpieces. A rare Spanish era stone arch bridge is fighting for survival.
On February 16, 2008 four of us set off to explore two hill towns in Iloilo Province; Alimodian and Leon. Much of the immediate area around Iloilo City is quite flat so we were anxious to get up in to the hill country. We started out from our home in Molo and drove the National Highway west to the pretty town of Oton. At Oton we turned off the National Highway onto what is locally called the Oton-Sta. Clara Road. It begins at Barangay Buray and heads north through Sta. Rita, Sta Monica, Biaga and Sta. Rita. Not long after leaving Oton the countryside becomes very “bundok”, a countryside of nipa houses and the road quite rough. Sta. Monica is a pretty little place. Not long after Biaga the terrain become hillier. Next we turned onto the road to Alimodian. That road climbs moderately to the town.
Alimodian’s altitude is only about 100 meters above sea level but it has the feel of a mountain town because of the hills that rise around it, particularly to the west. The weather on the day of our trip was comparatively cool and Alimodian seemed cooler than the city.
We live quite close to Molo Plaza, really just about the only park land available to tens of thousands of Molo residents. It is just loved and used to death, almost always filled with schoolkids, the terrain so used it’s scruffed to raw dirt. Nothing could withstand all the use that park gets. How lucky are the people of places like Alimodian who have inherited, preserved and maintained so nicely a pretty town park at the center of the community!
The town’s Spanish heritage has been preserved. It has a large Plaza dominated by has an old Spanish church, the municipal hall and other public buildings. While the massive old church was decimated, as other Panay building were by the huge earthquake of 1948 it was not torn down. The surviving parts were saved, treasured, restored and supplemented by new construction sympathetic with the original. The overall impression is of impassioned stewardship and pride. Let’s hope the same spirit saves the very beautiful and historic Eloisa bridge which is imperiled by proposal to replace rather than conserve this rare survivor.
During our visit to Alimodian we were so impressed with the actual functioning of the community. So many towns have the various equipages of municipal life (libraries, senior centers, day care centers and so forth) but which are not really operating. In Alimodian these all seemed to be alive with activity. Hence, Alimodian seemed to be a truly functioning small municipality, not just an Iloilo suburb which the life has gone out of.
In the same spirit which led the community to save and reconstruct the Alimodian Church, local residents are rallying to save a rare Spanish-era bridge.
For some great photos of the Alimodian back country see Raymond Deza’s site at http://raymonddeza.multiply.com/photos/album/198