18/365: When In Iloilo–Must Eat Food!

A trip to any place will never be complete without tasting the food that made that region famous so let me share the popular “must eat” Ilonggo food plus my own addition.

Batchoy is a noodle soup made with pork organs, crushed pork cracklings, chicken stock, beef loin and round noodles.  Its origins can be traced to the district of La Paz in Iloilo City that is why it is referred to as “La Paz Batchoy” (Source: Wikipedia)


Though almost all restaurants in Iloilo City is serving this popular food, Ilonggos believed that the genuine recipe/taste is being served at “Ted’s”.

Take note of the date of establishment of this restaurant – 1945!


During my early visits in Iloilo I find it funny that my then boyfriend ordered La Paz Batchoy with “puto” and the soft drinks “Mountain Dew”.   I thought that it was just his own taste/choice until I noticed that almost everybody is ordering such “official combination”. LOL!


“Chicken Inasal” is a kind of roast chicken served on skewers.  It is known to be originated from Bacolod City but is also a very popular food in Iloilo City.   

Chiken Inasal

Just like La Paz Batchoy you can find Chicken Inasal in any restaurant in Iloilo City but one of my favorite is the “Chiken Sari-Sari” and one more chicken house that I can’t recall the name just yet.  (I will be adding it here once I remember the name ha ha).


Sinugba is “Inihaw” in Tagalog and “”Grilled in English” .  Ilonggos are very fund in grilling their foods such as fish, chicken and meat.  In fact there’s a popular restaurant that is called “Sugbahan”.
Sinugba is more popular during Dinagyang Festival.  You can find a “sugbahan” in any corner of the street during this festival.


Pinakas is known in Tagalog as “Tuyo” or “Daing  or “Dried Fish” in English.  I noticed that Ilonggos are using variety of fishes for Pinakas and theirs are more salty compared to the regular dried fish that are usually “Bangus” and “Tunsoy”.

They usually eat the Pinakas with the next food/sauce that  Ilonggos are known for:


A concoction of vinegar, garlic, onion, red chili pepper, salt, sugar and a spice from Iloilo that is similar to ginger.

I’m not sure if this popular for others.  But for me this is my own “must eat” when visiting Iloilo!  I found this small  bibingka being sold just outside the Jaro Cathedral.  I asked my then boyfriend what is it and he said it’s  “Bibingka” and that it tastes real good.

Well I don’t believe him because this doesn’t look like the real (holiday) bibingka that I know.   What you see in the picture is how it really looks like in person.  Even the container is just like that on wherever you find it being sold. I found out later that it is normally being sold just outside the churches.

When I gave it try OMG!  I found it so yummy that every time I go to any Iloilo church, I will never go home without buying and eating a bunch of this.  And it is very affordable.  If I remember it right it is just PhP 5.00 per piece ($.12).


BatuanI swear I don’t want to eat this small green “fruit or whatever” that is because it reminds me of the poisonous “Tuba-Tuba” (LOL).  However, my boyfriend’s father (who is fond and good in cooking) always put this green thing in anything that he cooks ha ha.

But when I saw that they are not dying (LOL) and the food smells and looks good I finally gave it a try.  At first I don’t understand why they are using this in most of their cooking because this is a very sour fruit and it is supposed to be used as a souring agent.  But later I learned that it gives a distinct taste on other recipes that’s why Ilonggos usually add them on most of their cooking.


Of course the famous Guimaras Mango is among the “must taste” in Iloilo.   You must taste it from fresh pick and there will be no more explanation.  Just taste it!

Speechless while tasting the famous Guimaras mango from the island itself

Buko (Fresh Coconut)
I just love them as fresh pick that you can find in any corner.  My hubby and I usually look for this fresh pick and eat the buko meat straight from the shell using the improvised spoon made from the fresh buko shell itself – I relly love doing this.

But every time we eat in the restaurant, we always order the “buko-halo”, “buko-pandan” and “buko-prutas” for desert. Burp!

Fresh BukoBuko Halo

They are all so sweet but the yellow variety is just oh so extra sweet and juicy!


Let’s go! Pule na at mangan ta!


  1. Nagkasakit ako while nasa iloilo kaya di ako nakapagtour at di rin nakatikim ng la paz batchoy, kaya babalik ako if God's willing.

  2. Oh no! the sight of these foodies makes me drool big time. Like what I've said, I haven't been in that place but I was able to taste many from the one you've mentioned. The likes of La Paz Batchoy, Inasal, Sinugba, Batuan, Pinakas, Bibingka, Buko and Mango - all authentic from Iloilo. Though I didn't reached Iloilo yet, friends and relatives visit either us in Manila or Romblon bringing all these sumptuous and mouth-watering foods. I love eating so I won't mind finishing one or two or more from each. I just so love food coming from provinces especially the equally famous and flavorful offerings.

    Hay buhay, ginutom tuloy ako dito sa post mo, na miss ko tuloy ang umuwi ng probinsiya hahaha! Santisima trinidad! lols! Nakakagutom lols!

  3. Isa lang ang hindi ko pa natitikman. Ang butuan. I love the name. I dunno why... hehehe

  4. maybe one time I would visit a restaurant that is in this article,may you always be healthy and happy, greetings from Makassar - Indonesia :-)

  5. wow... na miss ko yan... lalo na ang lapaz batchoy..... may talaba pa -- like ko din un....

    sarap din ng pinakas at ung sinamak....

  6. My God! Ilo-ilo will choke my arteries and heart literally kung bibisita ako diyan. Nevertheless, i have noted the places and will try to go there when I can! hehehe.... Ain't no mountian high enough, ain't no valley low enough, ain't no river wide enough to keep me from doing the ultimate food trip of my lifetime. hehehe!

  7. Parang gusto ko ng pasyal dyan:)
    Nice to learn much about their food culture:)

  8. ang best part ng travelling ang food trip!

  9. Shet. batchoy at inasal.. da best! naintriga ako dun sa batuan.. hmm..


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