Last week, I flew to Iloilo to see how technology is now helping tourists learn more about Iloilo heritage sites with the use of a smart phone. Smart sponsored the installation of QR codes in heritage sites around Iloilo City and in other towns of the province of Iloilo as well.
First thing we did when we landed was to get a warm bowl of La Paz Batchoy at the La Paz Market. While there are many choices, one has to walk inside the market to find Netong's Lapaz Batchoy, one of the more popular brands. In fact, our hotel (in front of La Paz Market) had complimentary coupons it gives out to guests. It's a deadly concoction indeed as we watched the cook dish in innards and scoop out bone marrow to make this tasty noodle dish.
Our first stop on the #QRIloilo tour was the Jaro Metropilitan Cathedral, seat of one of the oldest dioceses in the country. The QR code is located by the gate of the church. When you scan it, it gives more detailed information on the church, including an old photo. You can try scanning the code in the photo.
The QR codes are not only for built heritage, Smart installed some at delicacy stores like Deocampo Barquillos, our next stop. I finally got to see how barquillos is made thanks to a demo they prepared for us. And rolling it was not easy as each of us got to try. Scanning the QR code at Deocampo gives a detailed history of the bakery and the process of making barquillos.
We stopped by Molo before lunch. The Arenas-Lazaro Ancestral House was among the houses Jose Rizal visited in 1896 on his way back to Manila. The Molo Church is a very famous landmark. It is often called the feminist church because almost all of the images are dedicated to female saints.
After lunch at Breakthrough Restaurant, it was nap time in the van as we proceeded to Miag-ao Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Too bad we didn't have time to visit the San Joaquin Church, a National Cultural Treasure, and the very elegant San Joaquin Cemetery.
We motored back to Iloilo City, stopping at Villa de Arevalo District to have merienda at Camina Nga Balay na Bato (Lola Rufina Heritage Curio Shop) or the Avancena House. This house and shop has a QR code too. We had really good Pancit Molo! As locals say, the best Pancit Molo in Iloilo are the ones prepared by the old families.
When you visit Iloilo heritage sites, make sure to look out for these QR codes!