Trip to Iloilo
Our trip to Iloilo, Philippines with my family was truly an unforgetable experience. You may not know this about me, but I was actually born in Iloilo! Though I left the city when I was 6 years old, it still holds a special place in my heart.
For years, I have hoped to show this beautiful city to my family. It had been so long since I had been to Iloilo that I did not know what to expect when going there. I was filled with excitement and anticipation!
Our trip to Iloilo, Philippines was filled with wonderful experiences that I’ll never forget.
WHERE IS ILOILO?
Before we get into my adventures in Iloilo, let’s talk a little bit about the city. Iloilo is located on Panay Island. The area is famous for its gorgeous Spanish colonial style churches and vintage homes. Outside of its gorgeous architecture, Iloilo is known for its exquisite seafood. Being right by the water it’s no wonder that there are so many delicious seafood dishes!
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS TO DO IN ILOILO?
Visit the Beaches: We went to Agho beach and Badiango which were absolutely delightful. But there are plenty of other white, sandy beaches you can visit. One of the most famous is Islas de Gigantes. This island is filled with breathtaking views, caves, lagoons, and yummy fresh seafood!
Molo Church: This historic church has survived numerous natural disasters, and continues to stand unscathed. Not only is the architecture stunning, but it provides a great insight on how the wealthy classes lived in Iloilo centuries ago.
Try Pancit Molo and La Paz Batchoy: These two dishes are local delicacies, and are so delicious. Pancit Molo came from the Chinese traders that would visit in the past. They introduced the locals of Iloilo to wonton soup, which was eventually changed to fit the Filipino taste buds. Meaty wontons are cooked in broth and covered with green onions and fried garlic.
La Paz Batchoy is another soup dish, but it is very different from Pancit Molo. The clear-broth soup is filled with noodles, pork cracklings, and beef. Many enjoy dipping pandesal (bread) or puto (rice cake) into the broth, but it is totally optional.
OUR LOVELY TRIP IN ILOILO, PHILIPPINES
Fortunately, I still have family in Iloilo, so we got the full local’s experience! We stayed at my uncle’s house, which truly made the trip so much more fun. I had not seen him and his family in ages! But, she still welcomed us with open arms and was so accommodating. There was so much warmth and love from my uncle and his family. They knew how much we love fresh seafood, and made sure we got to eat it every day! We really got spoiled while we were there.
My uncle and his family took us to various local spots in Iloilo, where we had some unique experiences. While we were at one of the local markets, my husband started watching some locals played football. He was amazed to see that some even played barefoot, and those aren’t exactly “football friendly” shoes! In the end, they invited him to play football with them! He happily joined them, and he said he had a great time spending time with the locals.
Traveling with a local is so different from traveling to just the tourist spots you find on the internet. You get the real picture of the city you are visiting, and can make all these special memories. Locals also know all the best hidden restaurants in the area!
After this lovely day of going around town, we have decided to go snorkeling. My husband loves snorkeling. Iloilo is home to many beautiful beaches, and we decided to visit Agho Beach and Badiango in Concepcion, Iloilo. To reach these snorkeling spots it took about half an hour by boat. The beaches were spectacular. The sands were glistening white, and the waters were crystal-clear. Even if you aren’t into snorkeling, just seeing these beaches will make you breathless.
We stayed in Iloilo City for about two days. We walked around the market and promenade. There were many nice parts of Iloilo City, but it was a bit crowded for our taste. We prefer more laid-back vibes. Most of our stay was with my uncle in Concepcion, which was lovely!
One of the most unforgettable experiences I had in Iloilo had to be the Fiesta. This fiesta was to celebrate a local event, and we got to see a parade of boys and girls wearing gorgeous gowns. We even got to see one of the girls preparing for the fiesta. It was an absolutely lovely experience that I did not expect to see.
Like any good Filipino tradition, the parade ended in an awesome party that was filled with food and fun! These experiences are ones many usually miss out on. I am grateful to my cousin for taking me around town and sharing all these local spots with us. It made our trip to Iloilo so much more memorable.
Going back to where I was born was a wonderful experience. Iloilo always had a special place in my heart, but my journey there as an adult has made it even more special. The warmth in which we were greeted, the fun experiences, and the delicious food…how could we not have a great time?
Our time talking with locals is what took this trip to another level. My recommendation for when you go on your next trip is to try to talk more with the locals! They will always tell you the best spots to go, and you will avoid all the crowds of tourists! I hope to go back to Iloilo again, and discover even more hidden gems while there.
Have you visited Iloilo before? Where should I visit the next time I am in the area? If you haven’t visited Iloilo yet, add it to your travel bucket list! You will surely have a wonderful time.
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