I was born and bred in Iloilo City and I feel so lucky because of that. Our city is one of the oldest in the country, it has its own unique identity setting it apart from the other cities in the Philippines.
Here’s a few tips I would give friends who would like to visit Iloilo:
1. Eat as much seafood as you like (and can, without getting sick). My dad eats talaba (oysters) for merienda almost everday, one small serving if you order it roadside in Mohon, Arevalo, is about 30 bucks. If you want one whole sack, it can cost only around 750 petot. Make sure though that it’s well cooked and fresh, that’s what my Papa always say. 🙂
2. Enjoy a spa day. Take advantage of the low prices for massages and foot scrubs. There are tons of small roadside shops and in malls, offering foot scrubs for 120-300 pesos. There are also full body massages from 150-600. Yow!
3. Intsik intsik. Hope my chinese friends won’t take offense with the term, but that’s what we call the shops on Iznart street offering cheap cheap goods from China. My sister drags me there (and I go willingly) every time I visit and we just browse around the store and snatch up whatever we like. I got matching “sanuk” slippers for B and I at P80/pair, wrist bands with a Nike logo for P25, and 12 snap-on barettes for only P18, I even got feathery masks for only P7 each, haha! What do I need them for I don’t know but hey it’s only 7 petot! Shops like Novo and Uni-top are OK. Please please secure your bag though while walking on the streets, we also have our fair share of snatchers and pickpockets.
There are tons more I can think of but these are my top-three musts. Here are some of the “extras”.
4. B and I usually take the time to run along the Iloilo river “boardwalk”, a 1.2km park-like stretch from Diversion road to Mandurriao.
5. If you are feeling adventurous, I’d also recommend getting a haircut from the Stretch Center at SM.
6. If you have a reliable transpo, check out the churches, and maybe even visit Nogas Island (about 3 hours drive from the city and a 15-min chartered boat ride).