Bucari is a mildly popular tourist destination nestled in the mountains of Leon, Iloilo. It is known as the province’s “little Baguio” for its cool climate and highland attractions. Bucari is an excellent place to visit during the dry season since it offers an escape from the summer heat. Getting there takes at least two hours from Iloilo City. The road section from the outskirts of Leon town proper to Bucari largely remains a bumpy dirt road, which has limited it to the more adventurous.

Further readings: All things to do in Iloilo, Iloilo Travel Guide.

Things to Do and Tourist Spots

Bucari is surrounded by verdant mountains and rolling hills interspaced by rice and vegetable terraces, small villages, and pristine rivers. Here, you can find refreshing waterfalls, cold springs, hiking trails, and a pine forest at Tabionan.

Visit Waterfalls and Cold Springs – A foot trail from Sitio Camandag follows the river to Imoy Falls. The short cascade drops into a small natural pool that is perfect for swimming. A taller waterfall can be found a short walk further upstream.

Go on a picnic at Bucari Pine Forest and Campsite – The pine forest and campsite in Bucari are located in Sitio Tabionan. Picnic sheds are set-up for day trippers who would like to enjoy the cool mountain air and the peaceful sight of pine trees that surround the village. At night, the temperatures drop further and fireflies can be seen dancing around.

See the fruit and vegetable Terraces – Because of its mountainous terrain, farmers grow their crops at the sides of hills and mountains in rice terraces their ancestors have cultivated centuries since. The climate in Bucari is suitable for growing rice and high-value crops such as fruits and vegetables. Don’t miss out on a taste of the town’s most prized crop, its mangoes, which holds the reputation of being the sweetest in the province and a staunch rival of Guimaras’ mangoes.

Get a taste of Bucari’s linagpang – A culinary attraction in Leon is their delicacy called “Linagpang.” Linagpang is made by grilling native chicken, which is then sautéed in garlic, onions, and mashed tomatoes. Once cooked, a special soup, eggs, and other ingredients are added to complete the delicious treat.

Take a hike – There are also a number of trails that lead to breathtaking mountain views and landscapes. A hike from the campsite in Tabionan leads to the Mansiga View Deck, which provides an overlooking vista of Bucari’s pine forest, vegetable terraces, and even a glimpse of Iloilo City on a clear day.

Places to Stay

Accommodations in Bucari are quite limited, but there are a few options available if you would like to stay for the night.

Pineridge Bucari Mountain Resort – This spa resort located in Brgy. Bacolod (near Tabionan) offers dorm-style accommodations, a beautiful view of Bucari from their terrace, and a restaurant featuring organic and gourmet menus. Online booking is available at Agoda. Read more about Pineridge Bucari Mountain Resort.

Tabionan Campsite – Campers can pitch a tent on the campsite at Tabionan for a minimal fee. The caretakers are very friendly and can arrange your meals if you arrive early or inform ahead of time. They have a working bathroom and offer tent rentals as well.

Getting There & Around

Travel time from Iloilo City to Bucari takes at least 2 hours. Most visitors go to Bucari on a local jeepney commute, which may take longer than two hours depending on the availability and schedule of the jeepneys.

From Jaro Big Market in Jaro District, Iloilo City, ride a Leon jeepney to Leon Town Plaza (up to 30 minutes). From there, flag a tricycle and tell the driver to take you to the jeepney stop for Bucari-bound jeeps (5 minutes approximately). Travel time from Leon Town Proper to Bucari takes around 45 minutes. There is usually one jeepney leaving every hour from 7am to 3pm. The last trip to Leon town proper leaves Bucari at around 2pm to 3pm. If you do not wish to spend the night in Bucari, it’s strongly advised to reach Leon Town Proper as early as 7am so that you can catch the last trip at 2 pm and reach the city in the late afternoon. Be sure to inform the tourism office in Leon before embarking on your trip to Bucari so that they can help you plan your trip well.