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Iloilo Tourist Spots: Where to go, what to do and what to eat

If you only have a whole day to explore Iloilo like me when I went there, then this post is for you. Start by tasting Iloilo’s cuisine through a breakfast of an authentic La Paz Batchoy (noodle soup, garnished with pork innards, crushed pork cracklings, vegetables, shrimp, chicken breast or beef loin, shrimp broth, chicken stock and round noodles or miki) either at Ted’s or Deco’s. These restaurants have been around early as in the 19th century and can be found all over the city. The management may not even care about their stiff competition that in front of SM Iloilo, they are next to each other! So clueless which is better I stepped inside Deco’s and yes one big bowl of this soup plus a small complimentary bowl of the same soup in case you want more is enough to strengthen you for any physical activity until you reach lunch.

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la paz batchoy in iloilo

la paz batchoy in iloilo
After taking a heavy breakfast I am sure you’re now ready to get lost in Iloilo! First, head to the Provincial Capitol’s Tourism Office for information because Iloilo has lots to see so take some time to reflect which ones are worth your time and interest. What is your Iloilo visit if you won’t see the Saint Thomas Villanueva parish or the Miag-ao Church? It is said to be the only church in the Philippines that is showcasing a painting of a biological façade of 4 local plants in its upper front part. The Miag-ao Church is also one of the five Baroque Churches of the Philippines that is a Philippine World Heritage Site accredited by UNESCO. Like most of our heritage churches it is also a restored version and is situated in the town’s proper, not from where it’s originally located.

Miag-ao Church iloilo

Miag-ao Church iloiloYour next stop will be two old houses along the way back to the town’s centro : Bahay na Bato and Mamay’s Sinamay. Just tell the driver of the jeep or bus you are in he surely knows these places because they are located next to each other. Bahay na Bato in English literally translated as Stone House is another ancestral house that opens its door to anyone. If you go there in a group of more than 5 if I am not mistaken, they can cook tsokolate (hot chocolate from cacao) and home-made bread for P150 each and with pancit molo for P200 each.

Mamay’s Sinamay iloilo

old house in iloiloJust a few cartwheels away is the Mamay’s Sinamay that sells local hand-woven stuffs like shawls, shirts, skirts, & handkerchiefs etc that are only done by senior citizens in the area. According to the Tourism Officer I spoke with, the management preferred hiring the elders to do this work because they tend to do it more superb than the young ones. If you wish so you can tell the one in charge in there and take you to their place where the elders do their stuff. One laminated letter caught my attention that is hanging in the walls of this old house is a letter from Princess Diana acknowledging that she received and she liked one of the stuff that was given to her from Mamay’s Sinamay! What is so beautiful about this old house is it still a home to the owners of the house so not all of the parts can be visited there are off-limits to the public.

Love n Kisses Pizza iloilo
There is also a local pizza store that caught my stomach when I was in Iloilo that in my two days I was buying their pizza from morning snack then I go back before I go to sleep after I am done with my dinner! There is nothing super duper unique with their pizza just that it is filled with grated cheese. The name is Love n Kisses Pizza. The clerk that I think I made friends in two days said that they don’t have website yet and just have 4 stores in Iloilo yet.

Check these spots I want you to see and find out 

Nuestra Señora dela Candelaria National Shrine
It is said the only church in the Philippines where the bell tower is located the farthest in the other side of the street! The reasons is its strategic location for watching any incoming enemies say the Morros that time from on top of the tower.

Nuestra Señora dela Candelaria National Shrine

Iloilo Museum
Just two blocks away from the Provincial Capitol's Tourism Office. If you want to have a few minute glance of Iloilo's history you may drop by here.

Iloilo Museum

Javellana Old House or Casa Mariqui
This is a home to two paintings which costs P17M and P13M respectively. One of it was painted by the National Artist Fernando Amorsolo.

Molo or the "Athens of Iloilo"
You’re correct! This place has a few resemblance of the Athens in Greece that is why it is nicknamed this way. There is a church here that the statues are ALL female saints only. Feminist church eh? And yes I read your mind as well. There is also a church that features ALL male saints but this is not located here, it is near the Ledesma Old house and Lopez Jaena museum.

Nelly’s Garden
A very old classic and romantic mansion that can be rented privately but need to notify the management three days prior so if you got an extra money to impress your loved one or your love ones this is a perfect place.

Biscocho Haus
This house is a one-stop shop. They offer affordable and great tasting breads for pasalubong and in the other side they also offer authentic Iloilo meals and snacks. At the back, gatherings and events can be held. In the second floor, rooms for as low as P600 are available. Take note: you will be staying in a Filipino ancestral-style home now that experience is one of a kind.

Biscocho Haus iloilo

One cannot talk about Iloilo without adding its own streaks of festivals. It is only in Iloilo that festivals are celebrated back to back all year round. They have Kasag Festival, Carabao Carroza Festival, Tinuom Festival, Kahilwayan Festival, Pintados de Pasi Festival and the most popular is the Dinagyang Festival.

Iloilo is also very rich in eco-tourism adventure because it is graced with abundance of natural resources. You may check Sambrano Cave in Barutac Nuevo, Imoy Falls in Leon and Marbuena Resort in Ajuy. When it comes to beaches well Iloilo won’t be behind. See the Bulubadiangan Island, Pan de Azucar and Tambaliza Island in Concepcion, Betita beach in Carles and Gigantes Island.

How to go to Iloilo
From Manila to Iloilo via airplane is approximately an hour. The New Iloilo Airport is in Cabatuan about 18 km from the city proper and accessible to jeepneys, busses and taxis. Iloilo City is where the port of entry for sea transport is located and five minutes away from the city’s main commercial district. Iloilo City is 20 hours from Manila sailing 12 times a weeks and 14 hours twice a week from Zamboanga or Cagayan. Cebu is only 12 hours with daily trips. Fastcrafts from Bacolod City takes only an hour at most.

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