Iloilo is a beauty that beckons. I have long read and heard of its rich history, culture, food, people and many wonderful things that it has to offer. Unfortunately, in my lifetime, I have only stepped on its hallowed ground thrice: a half day’s trip from Bacolod just to gaze at the marvel that is the fortress church of Miag-ao and to eat the much touted La Paz batchoy in the La Paz district of the city; a brief stop in transit to Bacolod and, again, in transit from Bacolod but this time, spent a night before boarding a boat bound for Cuyo, Palawan.
What a loss. If only I have more time to kill in my hands and I would want to soak in its built religious wonders with its multitude coral and brick Spanish era churches and cemeteries; fill my tummy with Ilongo cuisine sampling the much written and praised gustatory delights ranging from fresh oysters offered at seaside diners along the highway going west of the city, angel wings shellfish, a Thai food from a known Thai restaurant turo-turo style, and various homegrown dishes in restaurants that are sprouting in the city.
If only my trip pushed through and I would’ve done all this and more.
Above, the neogothic style church of Molo known for its architecture and the all female statues of saints in its interior. Talk about female power!
Rendicion d Tetuan, the jawdropping frieze on the facade of San Joaquin church commemorating the battle of Tetuan. This town is also known for its quaint baroque cemetery along the highway.
Detail of St. Christopher, the Christ bearer holding the trunk of a coconut tree in the fortress church of Miag-ao, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The facade carvings are remarkable for its whimsical imagery that features Philippine flora.
A windowseat is a must when eating at Ted’s Original Batchoy in the La Paz district of Iloilo for that authentic La Paz batchoy to watch the world go by as you devour your order. This is a hearty noodle dish that is a complete meal in itself with slivers of internal organs, fried pork rind, scallions, and freshly opened egg dumped into the rich steaming beef broth. Paired with two pieces of puto (rice cake), nothing beats eating it even if you can still have it here in Metro Manila where the restuarant has outlets.
A typical jeepney not only in Iloilo but in the rest of the country. The dashboard is littered with statuettes of sexy women, angels, a religious image like the Sto. Nino beside a chinese lucky charm and a stuffed toy.