Friday, October 9, 2015

Travel Diary: Iloilo Trip

This post is an overdue travel diary and a surprise for my friend Angel. Sorry, I'm not there at Iloilo today to celebrate baby Andi's birthday. But I'll always remember our visit to your hometown and will try my best to visit again next year! (Seat sale, please come!) :D

Angel has been my friend since we were 15. I would hate to do the math, but we've been friends for 11 years now! She gave birth last year, so being the true friends that we are, we flew from Manila to Iloilo to visit.


We only spent 2 full days at Iloilo but it was enough for me to fall in love with it. This blog post might as well be a food post due to the sheer amount of food we ate over the weekend. I can't wait to go back!


Our flight arrived to Iloilo late in the evening, so it didn't really count as a day. Angel and Tonton picked us up at the airport, and we all went to a restobar for a nightcap since it was a Friday night. (No, I don't drink anymore. And yes, we had cheesy pizza as pulutan. Haha) My friend Jeanne was quite the singer in our group, so she sang in front of the stage that night. After her number, the band wanted her to sing again. :D

Meet Jeanne! Way back in high school, it was the three of us superfriends. She was my roomie during this Iloilo trip. It was unforgettable since it was my first time to sleep at a shady looking "pension house" and she had amazingly good blow-drying skills ala Tony & Jackey's twirl drying. (Now if only I knew how to do this at home...)

Note: We chose to skimp on accommodation since we were out the entire day during the duration of this trip, and just needed a decent bed to sleep on at the end of the day. So, I'd rather spend on FOOD!


The next day, we went to the mall and had breakfast at Sbarro. Day 1 of our itinerary was island hopping at Guimaras, land of the sweetest mangoes you will ever try.


I actually hate boat rides since they all make me dizzy, but it doesn't show. Thank you, Bonamine (my every trusty travel buddy).


We had to rent a jeepney for a short land tour. We got to see the Smallest Plaza and Trapist Monastery. We also got to buy a bit of snacks as pasalubong.


We had lunch at a small canteen near the beach. Even hole-in-a-wall restaurants serve delicious crab. Remember, when in Iloilo, always order mango shake. They're the best! And they're really generous too for when I ask extra milk.


The entire afternoon we spent at the lovely beach. You have got to love that sunset.


The perfect day to end the day was indulging in good food. Someone brought us Cream Horn. Apparently, this one's a very common pastry in Iloilo, but heaven in our mouths from those who are from Manila. It's warm and crispy on the outside, and creamy, milky, and sweet on the inside. The sad part, we couldn't bring it back home since it won't be as fresh and delicious as compared to consuming it immediately.


We went back to the place we ate in during the first night. MO2 is a restobar/KTV which serves the most delicious pizza we have ever tried. We don't know how they do it. Ingredients are so simple since all I see are cheese and ham. It might be magical cheese and extra special ham? Haha. This shot is our dinner inside the KTV room. For P1,500, we got the KTV room all for ourselves for 3 hours. Best part of all, the payment is consumable to their drinks and food (with gigantic servings). Our group of 6 weren't able to finish all these! And MO2 makes me never want to go back to any KTV joint in Manila kasi super lugi.

Day 2 was a land tour/exploration of the city. We had heavy breakfast at Chowking, which I half regretted because I forgot today was "indulge in seafood" day! (But as usual, nothing can stop me. Haha)


We dropped by Simbahan ng Molo and marveled at its intricate architecture.


We also passed by Camiña Balay nga Bato in Villa Arevalo, an old Spanish mansion preserved for over a century. It amazes me how they managed to keep everything intact, as you'll feel like you've entered a time capsule when you go here. For P150/pax, we had a house tour (which was like an interactive and super interesting history lesson), and just the best tsokolate I've ever tasted in my life, hands down.


We were served tsokolate eh (thick and rich Spanish chocolate) as opposed to tsokolate ah (ah stands for aguado or watered down). Padre Salvi from Noli Me Tangere would serve tsokolate eh to his VIP guests or Spanish visitors, while tsokolate ah was served to Filipinos and less important visitors.


The tsokolate eh were served in demitasse, which we had to drink with our pinkies up, just as how the Illustrados do it. Biscuits were served, and in order to savor every bit of this piping hot chocolate, we would dip our biscuits in it. Even with the tiny cup, we all agreed that this experience was way better and more worth it than a Starbucks frappe. As we prepared to leave, we were asked if we already had our hot chocolate refill (!!!), and so we went back to our chairs. This is the life.


Before leaving the mansion, which I focused on while writing this Iloilo post, I had to do a (fake) piano shot. Haha! On our next Iloilo trip, we will visit Camiña Balay nga Bato again and stay for their Spanish lunch buffet and this chocolate.

Like Camiña Balay nga Bato in Iloilo on Facebook for more information.


So after our heavy morning snack, we proceeded to lunch at Breakthrough Restaurant, located at Santo Niño Sur, Villa Arevalo District.


We had a sumptuous lunch consisting of fresh seafood. Squid, scallops, and a plate of crab were all delicious, but the unforgettable one was the shrimp mantis.


It's quite pricey, but it's our first time to ever see one, and it's not everyday we are in Iloilo so we went for it. It was so good. Just like a giant shrimp you only have to skin once. Haha :D

Before & After: lunch table

La Paz Batchoy & Oysters

For our afternoon snack, we had a bowl of original La Paz Batchoy from a restaurant in La Paz market. Yes, not the instant noodles kind. The small tub of oysters we bought from a sidewalk vendor. Would you believe that the bowl of noodles and the tub of oysters costs only P80 each? (Iloilo, take me now!) If they can sell oysters at this price, just imagine the abundance of it in this city.


For our last night, we had dinner with Angel's family at Tatoy's Resort. (Sorry, Jat! I just had to post that photo. Haha)

Andi & Angel

Andi & I. Time flies. She's turning 1 today!

Last group shot before we head back to Manila

While waiting for our flight, we stopped by to kill "spend our time wisely" at Maridel's in Plazuela de Iloilo for these lovely desserts. Their cakes are all irresistible! Part of the reason why I did this post is so I could refer to it on my next visit on where to go and what to eat, and Maridel's is worth revisiting!


Thanks for being awesome hosts, Angel and Tonton! Can't wait to visit you guys again next year!


Happy 1st birthday to our dearest baby Andi!

Love,
Helen

Photo Credits: Christopher Chan of #TopeTravelandTours. No watermarks but you may not use without permission.

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  2. My Dad's from Iloilo! :) Ang saya dun diba?

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