It wasn't my first time in this Visayan province. Last year, Iloilo was my entry point to Guimaras province. But take note of this, the only thing I saw was their port. See, from Manila I went to Bacolod and then straight to the port and rode a ferry to Iloilo then hopped on an outrigger boat to the island-province of Guimaras. That's it. And that made me guilty and promised myself to explore Iloilo more - and only Iloilo.
It was chyng who invited me to watch the annual Dinagyang Festival. It will be my first time to cover and document such event. I've been to Panagbenga in Baguio and Paynauen/Mango festival in Zambales when I was younger and I never liked too much crowd then. But now is a different story.
ONG BUN PENSION HOUSE
We stayed in Ong Bun Pension House. I read so much negative reviews about this hotel so I wasn't expecting much. But when we got inside, it was so different from what I heard. It was clean, smelled fresh (newly renovated) and spacious for two persons. For 1,100 pesos per night, the room can fit in 3 persons. The A/C room has its own bathroom with hot and cold shower, a T.V. set, DVD player, a single and twin beds, complimentary hot and cold water (which tasted like weird) and to top it all they have free wi-fi. No free breakfast though but it isn't bad as well right?
Part of the group were fhel, mec and nhel. They arrived earlier and also stayed in Ong Bun. We went to Villa Baybay to have dinner. Specifically at Tatoy's - which is very famous in Iloilo. It was like Dampa here in Manila where you choose your meat or seafood and they will cook it for you. We ordered their house specialty - the grilled native chicken - with sinigang na ulo ng maya-maya, grilled tuna belly, arosep (seaweeds) and mangoes. We paid 200 each for this meal and we didn't finish everything. Nothing was remarkable for this meal.
We then went to Iloilo's most happening place in town - Smallville. This upscale area is where people go to and to party all night. And with the town's celebration of the festival, locals and tourists were everywhere to get a taste of Iloilo's night life. After that, we went to downtown and scouted the best station for the next day's event which will be featured on a separate post :)
The next day right after the Dinagyang festival, we had a late lunch at Villa Baybay (again) but this time on a different restaurant - the Breakthrough restaurant. It shares Tatoy's style of serving, you choose your meat or seafood and it will be cooked on how you want it to be. We had baked scallops (yummy!), Iloilo's version of lechon na baboy and ensaladang mangga. The food and the location was great. Everyone yawned after eating - maybe because of the afternoon sea breeze.
After that, we went straight to Miag-ao church which took us more or less two hours jeepney ride from Breakthrough restaurant. It was so noticeable how many tourists were flocking the said church due to the Dinagyang festival. It was a Sunday so mass was held when we arrived.
The next day (the day after the festival) we woke up at around 8 a.m. to taste Iloilo's famous Batchoy. We went out with our pj's and noticed how clean the streets were in spite of last night's street party. The city officials were that vigilant to maintain the city's cleanliness. The locals were also taking their part in the city's effort to clean the streets right after the festival. Claps to everyone.
|pj's and payong. go chyng!|
We went to Deco's Batchoy and ordered their special batchoy with pandesal and Manapla puto. Batchoy in the morning with pj's is divine. It was yummy and we finished everything in a snap. You can also have a free soup if you happen to need more - self service.
|need I say more?|
U.P. VISAYAS - ILOILO CAMPUS
|chyng: dapat ibagay ang kilos sa damit |
carla: ah ok, so 'pag naka dress 'di pwedeng lumuhod? :)
After that, food trip again. We went back to Smallville and went to Afrique's. We tried their carbonara and their famous pizza. Nothing remerkable as well. Or maybe because we're not that hungry or in the mood to eat.
We bought pasalubongs from the Original Biscocho Haus and rushed to SM for the van ride to the airport. The fare was 70 pesos and the van service is available to and fro the Iloilo's airport - SM. The terminal fee at the airport was 200 pesos (ouch).
It was truly a gastronomic adventure and fun-filled weekend. Dieting will never be successful in Iloilo. Believe me.
Check Iloilo accommodations here