A taste of Iloilo

sicilian pasta by afriques

I travel not only to see the sight but to taste the local cuisine and the culture.  When I went to Iloilo my tastebuds were programed to to savor the famous Lapaz Batchoy and biscotcho. Did I get to do it?  I wouldn’t miss it!

I arrived in Iloilo with a grumbling stomach.  I did not have anything but a cup of coffee in the airport with my uncle a couple of hours before they left Manila and before my own flight. When the shuttle service went to a halt in front of the  travelers’ lounge in SM Iloilo, I was dying to find a place to eat! I was famished!

What’s for lunch?

I’ve posted lunch here in my earlier post.  I had lunch at Green Mango.

This is lunch.  Hindi naman halata na gutom ako…

Before the 53 km road trip to San Joaquin!

Batchoy, I first tasted batchoy in a paper noodle cup. Yup! I’ve been eating it for quite some time and have not had any clue what the real thing tastes like. So before I took off the road to San Joaquin, I dropped by Ted’s.  The famous restaurant serving the authentic soup!.

Authentic Lapaz Batchoy from Ted’s

The term batchoy is derived from the Chinese ba chui. The founder of batchoy was a chinese business man who started it in the 50’s. The business originated in the market place of La Paz, IloIlo, Philippines.

The signature Ingredients of batchoy are rich pork and beef based broth filled with yellow noodles and topped with cut-up roast pork, chicharron, fried garlic, and scallions. The original recipe would have included pork  innards such as spleen and liver. 

The soup served hot is topped with shreds of pork cracklings and fresh egg. It goes well with white puto. An extra supreme bowl in Ted’s would cost you 65 or 80+. I’m not so sure anymore. hehehe 🙂 I think I paid P 120 for the entire meal [the batchoy, a pack of puto and a can of Pepsi).

As always, the original recipe beats everything including the cup noodles that I usually have. The broth is warm and flavorful while the noodle is tender and cooked to perfection.  A bowl of batchoy is so filling that you wouldn’t ask for any other meal after (at least for a couple of hours).  Grebeh! Busog na ako at half pa lang ung nauubos ko! 

Dinner after the long road trip

The road trip to San Joaquin was long and tiring. When I reached Ong Bun, I took a cold shower and headed out for dinner. This time I tried Uncle Tom’s. It’s a steak house right across Days Hotel near Sain Paul.


I had a baby back rib for dinner. A rib only (LOL) because I’m eating alone.  Initially, I though it was pricey since the place looks posh. When I came in, I learned that it is a self service, pay-as-you-order diner.

My meal was a baby back rib in a really good sauce, a cup of rice and coleslaw. The meal was great although I couldn’t help but compare it with the superb rib steak I had in Casa Verde in Cebu.

Oh they have free wifi pala

I was the last customer which explains the vacant seats across the entire room.

After a sumptuous dinner a brisk walking was needed. I took a stroll along Valeria street and passed by Coffee Break.  I thought I wanted something sweet.

And before leaving Iloilo, I did not pass the chance to dine in Afrique’s on  a Valentine’s day.

The place was small yet cozy. It is pretty good for a date I must say. But I came alone so some guests must have some thoughts…LOL.  I’m dating myself! Anyway, the staff was accommodating and nice.  What did I have?

Afrique’s Sicilian Pasta

I ordered their Sicilian Pasta.  I was curious so I asked for something I haven’t tried. It’s not an Ilonggo dish but certainly worth to try.  I must say I loved everything in this dish. The pasta was cooked to perfection while the sauce was rich and flavorful!.  It was perfect! I love the chucks of tomatoes and black olives as well as the perfectly cooked aubergines!  And if I may add, the serving was enough for two to be satisfied.  And since I have a date with myself that day, it was perfect for me and my other self…:)

So much flavor for my tastebuds? I had a few for culture I guess…

I went to Iloilo without any knowledge of their dialect. Hence, I got lost in translation.

If there are two things I can proudly use whenever I am in Iloilo, these are:

PALIHUG – it means asking for favor. As in when asking someone to pass on the fare to the jeepney driver or if you are to excuse yourself. They normally  say “palihug ko”

SA LUGAR LANG – We normally say “PARA” when we want to get off the bus or a jeep or any similar means of public transportation.  I don’t exactly know where it came from.  It doesn’t make sense but we use it.  In Iloilo, they say “sa lugar lang” or “lugar lang” to ask the driver to stop.  It’s equivalent to a more logical phrase “sa tabi lang” or “please stop on that spot(lugar).

There are so much to see, feel and taste but time was limited. I wanted to visit more churches, taste more local food and learn the dialect.  What I did was just a dent on the rich culture and flavor that is Iloilo…




Ted’s Oldtimer Lapaz Batchoy
Robinson’s Place, Iloilo City, Iloilo

Valeria St., Iloilo City, Iloilo

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a river that runs deep is what they say... Travels with just a backpack ▐ Runs marathons for fun ▐ Loves gastronomic feasts


  1. Terence
    July 15, 2012

    Very interesting and lovely post.

  2. Ardee Mangawang
    July 28, 2012

    Thanks! There were a lot more to see and experience in Iloilo! I definitely will go back. Hopefully to join the Festival in January!


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