WordCamp Iloilo 2018. If you’re a WordPress fanatics, probably this isn’t your first time nor the last time hearing about WordCamps held all over the country and even overseas. Attending such conferences could be more fun especially if it’s out of town. Just like WordCamp Iloilo 2018, we made it more notable by doing side trips during the event.
On the verge of being a first-timer in Asia’s City of Love, I and my companions hired a van for a 3-hour city tour which costs at approximately PHP 1,500 and these are the 7 things we explored and savored each leading experience for all of us and few others activities whilst the event:
Bowl of Authentic La-Paz Batchoy
Arrived at the hotel at around 7:00 pm all the way from the airport, the group agreed to try the famous local food in the city — La Paz Batchoy for dinner. Assuming it’s going to be a walking distance from our place, we took a 10-minute walk from the hotel to Ted’s Oldtimer La Paz Batchoy. While drooling looking at their menu, we then ordered the “Extra Super Special Batchoy”. You read your right “Extra” + “Super”. If you ask me how it differs with the other variants like “Super Special” or “Extra Special”, I really have no idea.
And wait, their “batchoy” comes with a pair of “pandesal” for free — a Philippine version of a bun. You would not need a rice, in this case, don’t you? Oh, also don’t forget to top it with hard-boiled egg at additional cost — yummy!
There could be a lot of expectations in store from our thoughts as this is our first time. Thus, rating the food experience would be just an understatement. We literally enjoy the food as we were hungry at that time. However, I could not find such pompous words to describe any specialty from the “batchoy” as I am not really a “batchoy”-lover for the sake.
Taste the Country’s Biggest Siopao
We also had a stop at Roberto’s Siopao at 61 JM Basas St. Iloilo City Proper for curiosity purpose. When we arrived at the shop, we are greeted by an energetic cashier who greeted us in a friendly soft-spoken tone, which I thought he should be Roberto! And my instinct was correct!
Of course, we ourselves are not a “siopao”-lover as we claimed, we just asked for their best seller — the fastest way to order huh! And indeed, he gave us the Bello Queen the biggest of them all. But the irony part, he never told us what variant is it, he just told us “we might forget our names ones we tasted it” in a local dialect.
Eat, Drink and Party at Smallville Complex
Before the trip, we made this research on what are the recommended places in the city. If you wish to unwind and morning the night in just a place, it is best to experience in Smallville Complex.
So what can travelers expect in this place? Nightlife in Iloilo province. Yes, you heard it right! If you are a party person, this is highly recommended for you. One, the place is safe with a lot of patrols roving the area. You can confidently get wild for the night and feel secure at the same time. Second, ‘twas wild and alive.
We got a chance to try at Prism and had fun. It’s not just about the fizzy lights in place though, but you can be conscious with the people around you who were definitely in spry at their age.
Stroll Along Iloilo River Esplanade
Because the trip was meant for WordCamp Iloilo, we just passed by this place a few times in the first 24 hrs of our stay. Although we haven’t spent a minute to drop by, we are already amazed by its long clean river and the bridge structure which reminds me of Singapore’s Clarke Quay & Riverside.
Finally, we had a glance at this River Esplanade on our last day in this place. And right off the bat, we are not wrong. That’s right up my alley. Iloilo has to brag this place which is obviously well-maintained, the riverside is like a boardwalk where bystanders can do so many activities like jogging, drink, and dine while enjoying the spot.
But what catches our attention was the coffee shop under the bridge (literally named “coffee under the bridge”) which is an open area and the river water is just an arm reached away.
Another obvious activity in the scene is fishing which is definitely recommended for fun and recreation of families or couples who also wish to spend quality time together. Fishing hobbyists are perfectly spread on the bridge for a catch— indeed an infrequent setting that takes place in a city of the Philippines.
Shop Local at Original Biscocho Hous
Just like any other towns in the Philippines, souvenirs or “pasalubong” are not limited only to novelty items like keychains, bracelets, necklaces, or shirts in Iloilo. You should also take home with you their delicious food items that are considered highly desirable, sophisticated, or peculiarly distinctive, within a given culture of Iloilo which you might not find them accessible in your place.
One of the best shops where you can grab food souvenirs is in Original Biscocho Haus which is located at 8 Lopez Jaena Street Brgy Democracia. As we reached the shop, we are greeted by very accommodating staff and we were impressed with their pretty cute shop that has historical facts and stuff I should say!
You should be predisposed to get enticed with their yummy delicacies. They have a variety of pastries from “biscocho”, “piyaya”, gullets and banana fritters. I suggest you be mindful of time as the place gets too crowded during peak hours. Also, you can grab more likely the same food items at the airport, but this shop is way much cheaper.
Visit Churches and Heritage Houses
The Philippines is also famous for its old architecture and historical pieces. And definitely, Iloilo will never be out of the list. We’ve visited two of the oldest churches in the City. The first one is located in the heart of the city — the Molo Church or St Anne Parish Church in Molo. Unique compared to other churches in the Philippines, this church features female saints statues along the aisle.
The second one is Jaro Cathedral in Jaro Plaza. Its distinctive features are the stairs attached in front of the Cathedral and the bell tower located just across the street in front of the church. The attached staircase over the main entrance leads to Our Lady of the Candles above.
We also passed by the Nelly’s Garden (Mansion). Tagged as “Queen of Iloilo’s Heritage Houses”, the mansion has a white facade and is first owned by Lopez family: Don Vicente Lopez and Doña Elena Hofileña. Thus palatial mansion was named after their eldest daughter Nelly.
Indulge in a Relaxing Massage at Royal Caress Massage & Spa
Frankly speaking, I really don’t want to get bias here. Personally tried Singapore and Malaysia’s massage as well as Thailand’s and some parts of the Philippines. But Iloilo’s Royal Caress Massage exceeds my expectation, despite the voice-impaired masseuse. This massage parlor deserves a two thumbs up.
Located in Ground Floor, The Uptown Place, Gen. Luna St. do check them out.
… Thought of attending the next WordCamp? Do check them out at central.wordcamp.org.
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