Iloilo: There is More To Explore

Me and my hubby enjoyed so much in our one day Guimaras tour, with Flor, Vic and Mat-mat. The minute the boat moved swiftly away from the island, I can’t help not to look back and be thankful that we explored another beautiful place.

I can’t to wait to explore more of Iloilo. My excitement in my second day in the city was still soaring high. While walking away from the wharf along Ortiz Street, Flor halted her steps when we were in front of a well-preserved and beautiful mansion. She told us it was owned by the Ledesmas. The structure’s design and color were compelling. The white eagles on every posts looked like guards protecting the entire house.  There were other mansions in the province owned by the Lopezes, Jalandonis, Coseteng and Montinolas. It’s good that we unexpectedly saw one.

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the Ledesma Mansion – one of the popular mansions in Iloilo

At night, we explored Valeria, Delgado and Solis streets in search of a restaurant or bar to eat. Suddenly I craved for Iloilo’s famous Batchoy so my hubby brought me to Ted’s Oldtimer Lapaz Batchoy near SM Delgado. Special Batchoy costs P75 to which I combined two big pandesal (P8/piece). The bowl was full of tasty soup and yummy noodles.  At last I’ve tasted the original Batchoy which I vowed to eat when I visit Iloilo.  And my craving was now satisfied. Namit gid!

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yummy bowl of batchoy

Other resto near SM Delgado were Shakey’s, Sbarro and Deco’s (to which Batchoy was so delicious too according to my hubby). Buto’t Balat Native Dishes & Seafood, Griller’s Oyster House are found on Solis Street.

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one of the popular restaurants along Solis Street

My hubby was so lucky that he tasted all Iloilo’s delicacies in twelve days. He promised to cook binakol (version of chicken tinola) if he goes back home. Binakol is a chicken dish to which its soup is based on sweet water of coconut. Sorry for me that I miss the opportunity to eat it all for I only have three days in the city. I need to go back to taste it all.hehehe.

There were three SM malls all over Iloilo. I chanced to visit SM Delgado and SM City Iloilo. There were other malls in the city like Gaisano Mall, Robinsons Place, Amigo Mall (in Amigo Hotel) and Atrium Mall.

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SM City Delgado – a view from our glass door

After a heavy breakfast the following morning, we headed to Bischoho Haus in Solis Street to buy pasalubong.  It has a large variety of  Ilonggo sweets to which biscocho, a yummy toasted bread with milk and sugar is their specialty. Other delicacies are piaya (mango or ube flavor), butterscotch, galletas, polvoron, otap, barquillos, macaroons, putomanapia, calamares and more.  They have boxes with different sizes to store assorted items which can be hand-carried on plane. Prices depend on its size. It opens at 8 am and closes at 6 pm.

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Biscocho Haus along Solis Street

After buying the food stuff, we boarded a jeepney (P7 fare) going to Central Market to buy souvenir items which is in a cheaper price compared to the mall.  We explored the market with various selections of dried and wet goods like fish, fruits, vegetables and meat. There were several stores selling souvenir items and handicraft products. We bought key-chain (P35), t-shirts (P200 to P300), magnetic fish (P50) and cellphone accessories (P10). We didn’t find a bag with Iloilo tag so we headed to Gaisano Mall. But unfortunately, there was no such bag to that store too.  In getting back to Amigo Hotel we rode a jeepney (P7) again with signboard Obrero.

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our souvenir of Iloilo

One thing I love here in Iloilo was the accessibility of transportation. Indeed the city could easily be navigated through foot. And there’s nothing to worry asking locals on directions for they were so kind to say the right way. But I was warned to be extra careful if we are on the main city for there were incidents on “snatching” of cell phone.

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the popular streets in Iloilo

I was wrong when I said that there’s nothing much to enjoy in Iloilo for there was no known white beach to swim. But I found out, three days are not enough to explore this city.

Thank you so much Flor for changing my idea about Iloilo. I had a wonderful experience and is willing to go back for another adventure. I want to eat the yummy native chicken at Tatoy’s restaurant again. I want to experience the gimmick flick in Smallville. I want to taste all Iloilo’s famous foods.

But for now let me end my story with saying these words again, ”Namit Gid!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iloilo: What to See and What to Eat

Iloilo is known for century-old churches, yummy bowl of Lapaz Batchoy and Pansit Molo, Dinagyang festival and their soft-sweet tone Ilonggo dialect.

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getting ready for landing at Iloilo International Airport

When my hubby and his team had a provincial project in Iloilo he enjoined me to go there for a week-end getaway. Perfect timing for I will be seeing again “our long time, no see friend” Atty. Flor who decided to pursue her career in her hometown. They already met in the city few days ago and our friend initially welcomed them with a delectable batchoy treat.

I was so excited in going to Iloilo, my fifth solo flight so far. My hubby instructed me to ride the affordable Light of Glory taxi at the airport in going to Amigo Hotel. But I took a cheaper ride. I boarded in a shuttle van in going to SM City Iloilo in Mandurriao for P50 as instructed by an old lady whom I chatted in the airport.

No sleeping time as I savor the moment watching a laid back scenery. The provincial appeal started as I saw vast plots of rice-fields. I was amused seeing old houses with balusters and some with cherubs on walls. It brought a nostalgic effect of childhood days to me. I was surprised seeing the signage Iloilo Gold and Country Club which was considered the oldest golf course in the Philippines. Travel time:  25 five minutes only.

I ate my lunch at SM City around two p.m. I explored a bit until I reached the mall’s main entrance.

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wondering alone at SM City Iloilo

There was a jeepney terminal in front of the mall. I asked the barker where to ride in going to my destination. He kindly pointed the jeep with SM City Town proper signage. I thanked him and I took a front sit. Fare-P7 (below the minimum fare in Manila) but I paid P15 for two persons in sitting comfortably and alone in front. Well, I had a cheap ride!

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jeepney terminal in front of SM City Iloilo

It was an exhilarating jeepney trip as I saw a well-developed city. When I saw familiar streets such as Juan Luna and Iznart, I told myself, indeed, I’m now in Iloilo!”

Flor was waiting in our waiting place at the lobby of Amigo Hotel when I got there. She was with her best-friend Vic and her son, Mat-mat. It was such a delightful feeling seeing a friend whom I didn’t see for more than a decade. My hubby was busy in his work so after a short conversation over our cellphones off I went to our escapade. Vic was so generous for bringing her car for our lakwatsa.

Our first stop was in Molo Church in the district of Molo. Its Gothic Renaissance style was so compelling. The sun was in its full glory and it gave a gleaming glow to the facade. What caught my attention most was the unique red color spires. All churches’ external structures I’ve seen were of same colors. But this church was an exemption. It was said that this was used as watch tower to warn people from attackers during World War II.

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we visited first Molo Church

Molo Plaza is facing Molo Church. Its classical effect brought me back to my Greek Mythology subject in college when I saw the gazebo, which is the main attraction in the plaza. It has six goddesses standing at the pedestal. So relaxing to see trees everywhere, some had gnarled branches and some were old. So good to walk or stroll in the smooth pathway. It wasn’t crowded that time, maybe because it was still stifling hot.  What I enjoyed most is seeing people and their culture. Though I didn’t understand their language, it’s a rewarding experience dealing with them.

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me and Flor near the gazebo of Molo Plaza

According to my friend, this is the most beautiful plaza in the city especially on Christmas season were trees are glistening with adorned Christmas lanterns.

We bought yummy crispy cookies in Mama’s Kitchen in Arevalo. It wasn’t a typical bakery or store that could be seen along the main road. It was a well-preserved two-story ancestral house where cookies and products from fiber of Sinamay which is known as abaca were found.

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different flavors to choose from

Inside, I was brought back in the past as I saw the blue vintage car and an old weaving machine. After a short tour, we bought four cookies with bits of pinipig, tsokolate, cashew, pinipig and mango. Mango was the best for me. I can’t help not to munch it as we went back to the car.

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price list of cookies

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the blue vintage car

We bought mineral water in Panaderia de Iloilo in Osmena Street, Arevalo, the first bakery in Iloilo which was in circulation since the late sixties. It sells traditional Ilonggo breads, biscuits and pastry products. It serve yummy foods in an affordable price.

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yummy goodies of Panaderia de Iloilo

From Arevalo we headed to Tigbauan, Guimbal and Miag-ao towns to where its local points of interest were their century-old churches.

Tigbauan Church was inspired by Latin American churriquesque architecture. It has beautiful stone carving on facade facing the plaza. Looking from the top, one will see the two bell towers, the arched windows, the statues of Sto. Nino and San Nicholas de Tolentino. Below is the bas-relief of heart arrow with flowers and cords. The focus is the head of the cherub which was dramatically set at the capstone of the main entrance.

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the simple Tigbauan Church

The design of this church was so simple. But when we went inside, what amused me so much was the colorful mosaic on the interior walls of the church. But it was a snap visit only as respect to the people doing their solemn activity that time. We went to the grassy lot with small monoliths aligned in one corner. We got curious looking in an old deep well with no hand pump. Nothing much to see, we headed to the next town.

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the old deep well

Guimbal Church is just across the plaza and the Municipal Building. The plaza had a nice landscape of ornamental flowers, plants and trees with concrete benches and the monument of Dr. Jose Rizal which was painted all in white. I was told that this was the church of San Nicolas de Tolentino and one of the oldest churches in the country. It survived from the damages of World War II and from an earthquake where a meticulous reconstruction to revive its original structure was done. Its yellowish color is made of adobe stones called “igang” and coral stones. I I didn’t chance to see its interior design because it was closed that day.

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the yellowish Guimbal Church

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a lovely park and a municipal hall facing Guimbal Church

Miag-ao Church is also known as the church of Sto. Tomas de Villanueva and is included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. I was impressed by the architectural idea behind its construction. The facade which was warm-yellow in color has unique carvings of various reliefs and ornaments. The facade was supported by two different belfries, the four-storey bell tower and the tree-storey tower which looked like a medieval castle. The side structure looked like a fortress, almost resembled to Intramuros of Manila.

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the stunning and impressive Miag-ao Church

There were students sitting on the grass, some were singing and some were just hanging around. Of all the churches I’ve visited, the last was the most stunning. Now I know why this was considered as the world-renowned religious structure.

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looked like a fortress almost resembled to Intramuros

Thank you Flor for bringing me back to Philippine history. I love this subject during my high school days. It’s quite amusing that Iloilo had preserved these architectural treasures.

We were allowed by the security guard to visit the spacious University of the Philippines-Visayas campus. We didn’t hop out from the car because it was getting dark.  We passed by the standing oblation, buildings and young ladies having their evening walk while others were on a jog.

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getting inside the campus

We met my hubby and his team, Jay and Bim for a yummy dinner at Tatoy’s Restaurant situated in Villa at 7 p.m. Flor told me that Tatoy’s specialty is their fried native lechon chicken. Indeed, it was a yummy chicken! It was my first time to eat talaba (oyster) which costs P40 per kilo. Other yummy cuisines were boneless bangus, sinigang na hipon (boiled shrimp), lechon and the fresh lato.

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the entrance at Tatoy’s Restaurant

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my first time to eat talaba (oyster)… it was good

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yummy native chicken, Tatoy’s specialty food

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What a delectable dinner we had! Again, thank you Flor for the treat, for the learning and for the wonderful time spent with us.

The next day, Guimaras Tour!