Showing posts with label Panay. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Panay. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Iloilo: Must try Ilonggo dishes

La Paz Batchoy Netong's
Visiting Iloilo City can be a culinary adventure. Here are some Ilonggo dishes you might want to try out while in Iloilo City.

La Paz Batchoy Netong's
La Paz Batchoy must be on top of almost everyone's list. You can get the best batchoy at the La Paz Market. This noodle soup contains pork innards, pork cracklings (chicharon) and beek loin among other ingredients. While there are many batchoy stalls outside the market, hidden inside the market is Netong's Lapaz Batchoy which is highly-recommended by locals. And while we were there, I noticed they added a really deadly ingredient to their batchoy — bone marrow!

KBL (Kadios, Baboy and Langka) Iloilo
Kansi and KBL are two classic Illongo stews that are powerful enough to stimulate emotions and evoke good memories, the Ratatouille moment if I may say, among Ilonggos. My search for the fabled Kansi and KBL took me to Punot Flavors of Modern Iloilo by the Esplanande.

KBL (Kadios, Baboy and Langka) is a classic Ilonggo pork stew with batuan (Garcinia binucao) used as souring agent. Punot serves their own version of Kansi, a beef stew. They have Corned Beef Kansi which is corned beef shank in soured broth, jackfruit, lemongrass and atsuete oil with oven-roasted bone marrow on the side.

Then there's another Ilonggo classic — Pancit Molo. Ironically, it's difficult to find a restaurant in Molo known for Pansit Molo simply because it's usually prepared as home. Lucky for us, we got to enjoy a hot bowl of Pancit Molo plus Tsokolate Batirol at the Camiña Balay nga Bato (Avanceña Heritage House), Villa de Arevalo, Iloilo City.

Pangat Iloilo Breakthrough Restaurant
Pangat is the Iloilo version of Bicol's laing. Panay and Bicol have a noticeable cultural connection because of the abaca trade. We had Pangat at Breakthrough Restaurant.

Ramboy's Liempo Iloilo
Liempo may be a common dish. But Liempo at Ramboy's is in a class of its own. We got to try their famed Liempo at the Ramboy's branch by the Esplanade.

Finally, there's Pancit Efuven (egg noodles with pork and vegetables). I got to try Teresa's Special Efuven at Carlitos Restaurant from the owners of the Original Biscocho Haus. Their version, cooked light and delicately herbed, is an heirloom recipe of the Guadarramas of Fajardo Street.

Did I miss any more popular Ilonggo dishes?

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Iloilo: QR codes for Iloilo heritage sites

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!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Boracay: Long weekend at Diniwid and White Beach

I spent the long-weekend in Boracay since I accompanied the winners of the SEAIR and Microtel Boracay Bloggers Tour. Of course, we took SEAIR's fast flights and are enjoying Microtel Boracay's comfortable chiropractic. We ate at several restaurants this weekend including Mama's Fish House in Microtel Boracay, Fishbar in D'Mall, and Zuzuni, the most authentic Greek restaurant in Boracay. Plus I was rejuvenated by the spa treatment and exemplary service at Mandala Spa, the best spa in Boracay.

During the trip, I made sure to get my very own personalized Boracay sandcastle. I had to wake up early to have this commissioned since they only allow it when there are no crowds. Details of the Boracay trip in future posts. In the meantime, I still have more Zamboanga posts so stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Iloilo: Barkada burger at Perri Todd's

Now how big can a burger get? Well, I found that out when I tried out the barkada burger at Perri Todd's in Iloilo City. Their Premium Burger, made of pure beef and good for 4 persons, is Php220. They also have a Premium Burger with Cheesy Mushroom Dressing at Php250.

There are over a dozen other barkada burgers in their menu (with bacon, caramelized onions, blue cheese, grilled pineapple or buttered mushrooms). Plus the Todd's Potato, their version of mojos with a pomodoro and carbonara dip, is really good!

Perri Todd's
8 Cuartero Street, Jaro, Iloilo City
(033) 5082598 / (0920) 8925504

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Iloilo: Carlitos Restaurant and the Original Biscocho Haus

I was in Iloilo City recently to speak at the Tourism and Hospitality Students' Congress Nationwide Caravan - Iloilo Leg. As always, food tripping was also on the agenda! It was recommended that I try out Carlitos Restaurant which comes from the owners of the Original Biscocho Haus.

The restaurant is named after Dr. Carlos Guadarrama whose food mantra was a balanced diet, way before the advent of the food pyramid. The bestseller is Steak ala Teresa, the matriarach’s version of luscious, moist and sizzling choice beef tenderloin. The original branch of Carlitos Restaurant is along the National Highway in Pavia. But they opened a new branch beside the Biscocho Haus in Jaro.

They serve some local Iloilo favorites. But the menu choices are plentiful since they also serve pizza, pasta, meats and seafood, burgers, sandwiches, breakfast and dessert among others. Perennial family favorites like Ox Tongue and Callos are made available.

I tried out their pizza best-sellers: Carlitos Overload Pizza with everything on it, and Teresa's Spanish Pizza, with Spanish chorizo on mozarella cheese. Both were really good!

For the local food, we had Teresa's Special Efuven (egg noodles with pork and vegetables), and their Dinuguan which is served with Puto Manapla. The Pancit Efuven, cooked light and delicately herbed, is an heirloom recipe of the Guadarramas of Fajardo Street. I also tried out the Carlitos' Steak (beef tenderloin served with a special steak sauce) and the Fillet Steak (which is seasoned with herbs and spices and covered with a creamy crabmeat sauce).

For dessert, I highly-recommend the Butterscotch a la Mode (which is the famous Biscocho Haus butterscotch topped with vanilla ice cream and their homemade custard sauce) and the Banana Fritters (their version of turon but served with their really rich homemade custard sauce).

You also might want to know that Carlitos’ Jaro branch has live music on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays with pica-pica to match light drinks on its alfresco T-Grillhouse.

After dinner, I walked over to the Original Biscocho Haus store to buy goodies to take home. On top of the list was butterscotch. I got introduced to this really yummy butterscotch way back in high school and I've been a fan ever since. Aside from the original flavor, they've innovated and created some with dried fruits such as prunes and mangoes.

Biscocho is another main product. That's why they're called the Biscocho Haus! They also have the Ilonggo favorites which include barquillos and piaya. I was actually amazed at the variety of products the Biscocho Haus now produces.

Carlitos Restaurant & Original Biscocho Haus
Airport Highway, Pavia, Iloilo
(033) 3293252

8 Lopez Jaena Street, Jaro, Iloilo City
(033) 3290862 / 3290864 / 5085909

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Aklan: Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo, Aklan! Hala bira!

The Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo, Aklan is one of the iconic festivals of the Philippines. Held annually on the third Sunday of January, the feast of the Sto. Niño, many of the street dance festivals of the Philippines were inspired by the Ati-Atihan which is often called the Mother of All Festivals.

The festival is a showcase of neighborhood troupes called tribes, who paint their bodies black (mimicking the dark-skinned Ati tribe), don colorful costumes, and parade around town while dancing to the beat of loud drums that follow behind the group.

Right after the 7 a.m. Mass in Pastrana Park and the shouts of "Viva El Señor Sto. Niño!" the different tribes made their way out of the town plaza. The energy in the streets of Kalibo was high, and the atmosphere electric! Hala bira!

Unlike most festivals, there is no parade route in the morning. The different tribes make their way around the plaza and town without a particular route. Spectators and the tribes are not divided by any cordon. In fact, you're free to join them dance if you want or have your photos taken.

While this happens the whole day, it's best to watch the tribes in the morning since their costumes and body paint are still fresh, plus the movement of the tribes is more orderly. By lunch, everyone goes home to eat.

After lunch, the tribes slowly come out again. By that time, they've had hefty doses of lechon (roast pig) and alcohol. So they become rowdier.

At 3 p.m., a procession of various Sto. Niño images makes its way around town together with the tribes. By this time, everyone is on board, dancing in the streets as the Mardi Gras-like procession snakes through the streets of Kalibo. The procession was so long, the tail-end was expected to arrived in the plaza shortly before 10 p.m. It was one big street party.

Unfortunately, we were so exhausted by 5 p.m., we could no longer stay to watch the tail-end make its way back. While it's a great party, let me warn you that the alcohol creates trouble, especially as the sun sets. So be safe!

The Ati-Atihan was said to have been a pagan ritual that was established before the arrival of the Spanish colonizers. It was held in celebration of a pact between several Bornean datus who had just arrive in Panay, and the local Ati chieftain, Marikudo. To commemorate the pact and purchase of land, the Malayan newcomers, as they joined the Atis celebrate a good harvest, covered their bodies with soot. The arrival of the Spaniards saw the shift of the festival to commemorate the feast of the Infant Jesus or the Sto. Niño.

Next time you plan to visit Boracay in January, try to make the third weekend so that you could catch this upbeat and colorful festival. Hala bira!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Aklan: Kalibo's Ati-Atihan Festival! Viva Señor Sto. Niño!

The Ati-Atihan Festival of Kalibo, Aklan is held during the third Sunday of January, the feast of the Sto. Niño. This year it was held on January 17, 2010.

The day starts at 6:30 a.m. with the transfer of the Sto. Niño from the Kalibo Cathedral to Pastrana Park. This was followed by a Mass at 7 a.m. You'll have to wake up really early for this.

The only downside was that it would drizzle every now and then. Good thing it didn't rain hard.

One thing I noticed during the Mass were the dozens of Sto. Niño images in front of the altar. I found it amusing that people treat the image like a doll since vendors all over the place sell various clothes for the Sto. Niño images.

As the Mass was about to end, people started raising their own images of the Sto. Niño since priests went around to bless the images with holy water.

The different tribes were assembling around the plaza as well during the Mass. I could see them amongst the crowd from my vantage point in the altar area. As soon as the Mass ended and the crowd shouted praises for the Sto. Niño, "Viva Señor Sto. Niño!" the drumbeats from the different tribes erupted. It was an exciting feeling and the atmosphere was simply electric as one by one, the tribes began to leave the plaza to make their rounds around town.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Guimaras: Island-hop to Guimaras

For our last day in Iloilo, we decided to visit the island province next door, Guimaras.

We were at the Ortiz Port near Ateneo de Iloilo at about 9 a.m. and from there, we took a 15-minute pump boat to Jordan for PHP11. We had arranged for a minicab to take us around for PHP1000 (they have rates at the tourism office at the port based on distance) since you need to have your own vehicles to check out the sights.

Our first stop was the OLP Trappist Monastery in Jordan where one could buy various products, mostly made from mangoes, such as jam, yema, candies, tarts, bars, piaya, and many more. We then proceeded to Alubihod Beach in Nueva Valencia for a swim in the waters of Guimaras. Don't worry about the oil spill since it's in a different part of the island.

After an hour of swimming, we were off to the Navalas Church in Buenavista, the oldest Church in the island. Although the facade is perfectly preserved, the other parts are totally gone (walls and interior) as a result of renovations by several priests (as always). Why can't they just preserve these old churches, especially since this seemed to be the only one in Guimaras.

Nearby is the Roca Encantada Heritage House owned by the Lopez Family. We were lucky enough to be given permission to enter the premises. From afar, I thought it was a modern vacation house until I saw the marker. I could not understand how this modernized house got the seal of approval of the National Historical Institute for Heritage House. There are fewer traces of the original features of the house. With all their wealth, I hope the Lopezes restore even just the exterior of the house back to the way it looked before so that it lives up to the prestige of the NHI marker. I also hope they install the marker in a better way since it was just attached to a piece of wood. Markers like these should be screwed to a hard surface like a wall.

But the setting of the house was so picturesque with the balconies offering a 180-degree view of the sea, Siete Pecados Islands and its lighthouse, and the nearby islands of Panay and Negros.

We had to rush back to Iloilo City since we had one last stop, Breakthrough Restaurant in Arevalo District, which is very popular for its seafoods. It was a treat of Danya's family. After a sumptuous feast, we made our way to the Iloilo Airport in Cabatuan. This new airport shames our crummy Manila Domestic Airport. And mind you, we paid a terminal fee of PHP30 compared to the shabby Manila Domestic's PHP200.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Iloilo: Walking tour of old Jaro

After the activity, I proceeded to Jaro to meet up with Eugene Jamerlan of the Iloilo City Cultural Heritage and Conservation Council (ICCHCC) who took me and HCS Youth members Bernard Arellano and Gian Alvarez on a walking tour of Jaro. We first entered the Locsin House and walked around the plaza towards the Magdalena Jalandoni House.

We also passed by the Old Jaro City Hall which is now a police station. Before Jaro and the other districts of Iloilo City were merged together, Jaro was a city itself. Of course there's the Ledesma Mansion, one might say a story of stupidity. They thought that there was treasure buried in front of the mansion and started to dig. As a result, the facade of the mansion collapsed. They did not realize that the treasure was their house.

On the way, we bought some Iloilo bibingka from a street vendor. These are flat pancakes about two inches in diameter sold in paper bags of 10 pieces for PHP20. I really like trying out the local street food since it gives you a feel of the locality.

We also visited the ancestral home of Marikit Javellana which is now in a rundown area of Jaro. How sad it is to see how these grand streets have deteriorated through the years.

Our last stop is the Lizares Mansion which is now the Angelicum School. We got to check out the interiors as well. The grand ballroom inside is now a chapel. But despite the years of wear and tear, you can still see its former grandeur.

I went shopping at the Original Biscocho House since I am a fan of their butterscotch. I was introduced to these baked delights way back in high school by my friend Babits Guadarrama who is a granddaughter of the owner if I'm not mistaken. The are more goodies inside and to me, it's a must for pasalubongs.

I then met up with the rest of the Ateneo people at SM City Iloilo since Francis Trenas was treating the Jesuits and us to dinner at his David's Tea House. After that sumptuous dinner, the Jesuits dropped us off at Smallville again where we had some drinks. More photos in Multiply.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Iloilo & Capiz: Seafood binge in Capiz

I flew to Iloilo today to attend tomorrow's launching of the Ateneo Alumni Association - Iloilo Chapter. Our flight arrived at the new Iloilo Airport in Cabatuan, Iloilo at 6 a.m. We decided to proceed first to our hotel in Iloilo City to drop off our stuff.

Since Sta. Barbara and Pavia were along the way, we decided to pass by to check out their churches. We had to pay PHP200 for a taxi since the new airport is several towns away from Iloilo City.

Before proceeding to the bus station for Roxas City, we had batchoy for breakfast at Ted's. The bus to Roxas was about two hours and costs PHP113. We arrived at 11:30 a.m. and went straight to the Baybayon Seafood Plaza in Baybay Beach to savor the seafood. Capiz claims to be the Seafood Capital of the Philippines.

The food was great and really cheap! We were shocked our bill was just PHP334. The small batya of talaba (oysters) was just PHP25; scallops were PHP5 a piece; the big pusit was just PHP40 a stick; cagaycay (shells) for the soup was PHP35; the slice of blue marlin was PHP80 and the kilawin was just PHP25 a serving. The non-seafoods include pork barbeque at PHP10 a stick and tayuba (liempo) at PHP35.

From Baybay, we took photos at the center of Roxas City, where you can find the Capiz Provincial Capitol, the Cathedral and Panublion Museum, a water tank which was converted into a museum. We then took a jeep to the town of Pan-ay to check out the church and the largest bell in Asia (the third largest in the world). The Pan-ay Church is a National Cultural Treasure and National Historical Landmark.

We then went back to Roxas City, and took a bus back to Iloilo City. Traffic was bad when we got back so we didn't have much time to rest before dinner with the Ateneo alumni. My SSEAYP batchmate, Winwin Sanchez, dropped by the hotel to say hi. Then the group of Tito Chito Tinsay, Danya Jacomille and Pam Go arrived to pick us up for our dinner at the Mango Tree Restaurant, owned by Ateneans as well.

The ambiance of the restaurant was great. They have a large garden at the back which one could use for functions. Don't forget to try out their sizzling bulalo steak and their frozen mango iced tea which I liked very much.

If you thought the night was over, it wasn't! The group proceeded to Smallville to hang out. Smallville rocks! This is the new hip nightlife area of Iloilo City. We didn't stay up too late since the launch was the next day. More photos in Multiply.
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