Saturday, September 24, 2022

Quick Trip to Iloilo

In an earlier episode of The Fandesals Podcast (currently on Google, Apple and Spotify and also on YouTube), we discussed the topic of places we've traveled to around the Philippines. I decided to recycle an old post from an earlier version of my blog related to this. The episode on Spotify is embedded at the end of this post. Enjoy!

Last month I had the opportunity to travel to Iloilo for work. My niece and nephew are part Ilonggo, so it was nice to see the province where their grandfather came from. They were able to take the trip over a few years ago and I have been curious about what the place was like.

We checked in at Seda Hotel, which was a bit small compared to some of the hotels that I have been to in the past but service-wise, it was at par (or even better) than some of the other bigger hotels. Check-in was a breeze, which was great considering how late in the evening it was when we got there. 

The connecting door...

The rooms were a bit small but clean. My only problem with it was that there was a connecting door to the next room. Yes, it was locked but it wasn’t like other hotels where the connecting door had yet another door behind it to ensure that no one got in and out through that pathway. It would have also helped to keep the sounds from the other room muffled, which was an issue during our stay. I could hear conversations from the other room and I tossed and turned one night from their loud TV. 

Trying the KBL

Our first dinner was spent at Kamalig, which was a mere walking distance from our hotel. We saw how crowded it was and figured that it was a good place to eat so we waited until we could get seated inside. It was worth it because the food was good, and we had our first taste of KBL (Kadios, Baboy, Langka). I loved the soup -- it was an authentic Ilonggo dish that I’d be glad to have again. 

Netong's La Paz Batchoy

The following day we had to go and do the work thing, but we did stop by for some La Paz Batchoy at Netong’s. The soup was good and filling, but it wasn’t anything that I would rave about, even if we were told that it was one of the best in town. 

On the last day, we took advantage of the late flight back by going out on a city tour before heading to the airport. We went to the market to check out dried fish (tuyo, danggit), which my companions bought by the box. Again, not really my thing so I just watched as they picked and bought the fish they wanted.

A charming old lady was selling mangoes from Guimaras, which I’ve heard were organic and delicious. I got some to take home. I didn’t get to taste it because everyone at home loved it, so I guess it must have been worth carrying a lot of it home.

Of course, our trip would not have been complete without a stop at The Original Biscocho Haus, where I bought a box of goodies to take home for my sisters, my mom, and the kids. It made me feel like a kid in a candy store being there because everything reminded me of goodies my paternal grandmother had at her house whenever I stayed with her. I wanted my nieces and nephews to try everything, so I got a little of everything for them.

We stopped by a couple of churches along the way and I went up the stairs to a statue of the Virgin Mary with Baby Jesus at Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria. They say that the statue is miraculous, and it grew from its original size. I said my prayers and asked for her intercession for certain things – wouldn’t hurt right?

Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria

Our group also went to Museo Iloilo, where we saw some works of art, antiques, and items native to Iloilo. What caught my attention was the pile of Mickey Mouse Money, which was what money during the Japanese Occupation was called. There was a lot of it – how much could it have been worth back in the day? I was so curious!

Show me the money!

We moved on to the Molo Mansion. It was such a beautiful house, too bad that the area didn’t have any furniture anymore. The lower floor was filled with items for sale while the top floor was empty except for some paintings from what I assumed were students in the province. It would have been fascinating to see the house and what it looked like during its prime. I can only imagine the parties that were thrown at that place, it must have been even more beautiful back then! 

Molo Mansion

It was also at Molo Mansion that we got to try a different kind of ice cream. It was made from the Ternate flower, which is supposedly blue (and ergo, the ice cream was blue too). It was not too sweet and had a different flavor from what I’m used to, but I liked it. The lady who sold it to us was going to give us a sample of the flower but unfortunately, they ran out. Too bad, I would have loved to see the flower itself.

Ternate Flower Ice Cream

One of our last stops was at Camina Balay nga Bato, an old mansion that is open to the public. It was there that I got the batirol and tablea that I featured in an earlier post. I have yet to match the exact flavor and consistency of the chocolate that I had there, but I am still trying!

Hot Chocolate from Camina Balay nga Bato

We made some other stops along the way, but they were mostly in and out from there since we had to catch our flight. There were still a lot of places I would have loved to visit but there just wasn’t any time. Maybe one day I can go back and see some of them. I would love to see the place where my niece and nephew’s grandfather is from. My niece told me a lot about it when she last visited. 

I’m grateful that even if it was a trip for work that I got the chance to tour some scenic spots while I was there. I’m happy that I have a job that has given me opportunities to travel to different parts of the country. There is still a lot that I haven’t seen but I know that without this job I probably would not have been to any of them at all. 

I hope this quick trip is just the first of my trips away this year. I was supposed to travel out of the country last year and I have something planned again this year…hopefully this time I can make it happen!


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