This post has been languishing in my drafts for the longest time, among other posts. An unexpected, heartbreaking event happened the days following my going to Breakthrough. It didn’t occur to me (or to anyone if I may add) that this could be the last fulfilling and enjoyable meal for one of my dear friends at work. I will write more about that soon if I summon enough strength or will. I just take comfort in the knowledge that she was happy here, and we both enjoyed ourselves, feasting on the food whilst basking in the fresh air and the sounds of the ocean nearby. It makes me a little happy that she was happy this day at one of the famed restaurants in Iloilo.
In one of our trips to Iloilo City, we stuffed ourselves with one of the most delicious native chicken dishes I’ve ever had. It was straight up adobo with generous amounts of toasted garlic. There must be some gayuma in here, it was indecently good.
We had this at a restaurant called Y2K Talabahan, which is located at Atria, a spanking new place in Iloilo City. The Atria is a lifestyle complex developed by Ayala Land that boasts of restaurants, retail stores, the Seda Hotel, and a condominium for the middle and upper classes of the city. I liked it! It’s too bad that I am at the tail end of the project which had me coming to Iloilo all the time (my eldest is already complaining!). It is a breath of fresh air in the slowly becoming crowded city.
Back to Y2K, we also had this wonderful squid to go along with the whole chicken.
Next time, I have to have the oysters!
I was in Iloilo for the nth time in the last two years, but we are almost at the tail end of a project that brought me a lot to this bustling city. This time, I and a staff and colleague stayed at the Injap Hotel. Strategically located in Mandurriao, Iloilo City at its major thoroughfare, the hotel is a good choice for those visiting Iloilo for business and pleasure. It sits in front of SM Iloilo City, and is a stone’s throw away from Jaro, La Paz and downtown Iloilo. Traffic is a little bad going to the place, though, and the u-turn slot from the airport is a little too far off. But it was not all that bad at all.
The lobby and reception is quite small, but as with all Ilonggos, front desk personnel and bellboys warmly received us.
The room is okay, bed is comfortable but I find the lighting dim. There was not much space to move around, too. But it has a kitchenette with microwave and mini refrigerator if you are into staying in a lot. I didn’t like the bathroom because one, the heater was too high up and wasn’t friendly to short people like me (I had to call my companion to adjust it for me), and two, there was nowhere to place your toiletries when you are already inside the shower area. I ended up putting it on the floor, which is icky considering water sloshing all around the place. But I still good night sleeps the two days we stayed there.
It was rainy during this visit so we stayed in most of the time after our official work was done. Dinners and breakfasts were spent at the restaurant at the topmost floor of the hotel called Horizon Cafe. Food was just okay and there was nothing really special about them. Prices were just right. I had:
Cheesy beef pot with mashed potatoes (kind of like caldereta)
I also stole away a massage at the Spa Circle located at the hotel. Thumbs up for this!
I have dined twice in Buto’t Balat in Iloilo City. Beyond the unassuming entrance, one would be surprised to see a garden restaurant right at the heart of the city. And for visitors like me, it is always refreshing to eat at local stores that offer more than fast food fare. It serves mostly Filipino favorites aside from the usual Ilonggo specialties.
Most of the decor are also native. However, the lights are a little bit too dark if you ask me, and since the area is open, you sometimes get visited by flies or mosquitoes. It must also sizzle during the summer months.
But all in all, I like the place, and I probably would go back if I am staying anywhere near for my next visit. I have lost the number of times I’ve been to Iloilo for official activities, and eating has been the only times I could consider “touring” this wonderful city with the people with the malambing accent.
On my second trip to Iloilo this month, I was able to go around and see what Iloilo City and its nearby towns have to offer. I went around on a heritage tour with the group we arranged a conference for. It was an authentic cultural journey, and while I am no architecture buff nor critic, I was definitely in awe of the beauty of the facade, trusses, buttresses, altar, and the structures in general. I marveled at the love the Ilonggos have put into preserving their heritage as seen in the perfectly kept and maintained sites. Everything stands majestic, and will always remind us of eras that shaped our history, and contributed to what we are now as a nation.
Second stop: Casa Mariquit. Old home of a branch of the Lopez Family. My camera starting conking out and producing very blurry images (which was really weird). Settings went ok as soon as we got out of the place.
Didn’t get to take a photo of Tigbauan Church, which was just as magnificent as the others.
My trip to Iloilo was short, frenetic but nevertheless, insightful. As with all the other places I’ve been to (you can check out my Lakbayan score on the right widget of this site hehe), I always, always learn a lot–positive or negative. I really wish I had stayed long enough to savor this busy cultural and economic hub in this side of the Visayas. But as time and budget only permitted, I only got an overnighter. Didn’t see much, save for the hotels I had to inspect for a conference we will be holding in the middle of the year. And, as I and a colleague flitted from rooms, suites, conference facilities, in-house restaurants, to museums for a side tour, it broke my heart that I wasn’t able to visit, enter and marvel at all the wonderful churches Iloilo is famed for. It didn’t help my cause that it was the start of the Dinagyang festival since many major roads were closed to give way to the parade. Well, so much for that. I will be back by April or May though. So I will make sure that I will be able to explore more places by then. Wait for me, Iloilo!
What I really found true, though, is that Ilonggos are really malambing when talking to you, with a few exceptions of course. They have soft, lilting voices that almost caresses you. Even those on the streets! How much more if it was somebody you love.lol
Anyway, I was glad I had my fill of:
Another thing I got impressed with in the city is its world-class airport. It was like a smaller version of the Terminal 3 airport in Manila. Best domestic airport in the Philippines by far, after Cebu and Davao.