Best Local Places

Find Local Products and Dishes at These Iconic Districts in Iloilo

Great buys for both tourists and locals in the shopping districts of Iloilo

By: Hyacinth Bangero | March 02, 2017
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Due to changing quarantine measures, the activities, destination/s, store/s, establishment/s featured in this article might be temporarily prohibited or closed under the latest government policies. LGUs might also implement health protocols and travel requirements. Please get in touch with the establishment/s before visiting. Stay safe!

Ilonggo products Netongs Batchoy

(Image: Julliane Love)

Wherever you are in Iloilo, shopping for things you need is a breeze. From food to fireworks, shop like the locals do and head to these major shopping districts of Iloilo City.

Mandurriao District

Known For: The district of Mandurriao is every tourist’s destination because it is where most hotels, shopping malls, party districts, and a whole lot more are located.

Ilonggo products Mandurriao District

The Iloilo Convention Center in Mandurriao District is also situated at the heart of Iloilo Business Park. (Image: Megaworld Corporation)

Mandurriao is where SM City Iloilo, Injap Tower Hotel, Diversion 21 Hotel, Richmonde Hotel Iloilo, Smallville 21 Hotel, MO2 Westown Hotel, Seda Atria, Shops at Atria, and Iloilo Business Hotel can be found.

The district is also home to the pride of Iloilo, Carlo’s Bakery Cafe along Benigno Aquino, Jr. Avenue, Mandurriao, Iloilo City. The pasalubong store has pastries, breads, cakes, short orders, and goods for your loved ones.

If you’re a tourist with no fixed itinerary, you can just tell your cab driver to bring you to Mandurriao district. The district offers just about everything, from food and nightlife, to recreation and shopping.

La Paz District

Known For: The district is known internationally because of its dish called batchoy, which is a noodle soup mixed with pork organs, crushed pork cracklings, beef loin, and other ingredients.

Ilonggo products Netongs Batchoy

Netong’s Special La Paz Batchoy is one of the well-known batchoy restaurants in Iloilo. (Image: Julliane Love)

La Paz district can’t ever be dissociated from La Paz batchoy, Madge Cafe, and prestigious schools. Some of the prominent batchoy restaurants are Netong’s Original Batchoy, Ted’s Old Timer La Paz Batchoy, and Deco’s Original La Paz Batchoy.

Another place that tourists and locals keep coming back to is Madge Cafe. The traditional brewing process practiced at Madge keeps the flavor of their coffee authentic to the taste buds of Ilonggos and guests.

La Paz district also serves as the hub of universities and colleges in the region. The population of the district is beefed up by students that come from various places in the country. Annual sports meets are held here because it is where the Iloilo Sports Complex and La Paz Plaza can be found.

Jaro District

Known For: In terms of tourism, the capital of Jaro is the seat of Christianity in Iloilo. Here, tourists can also witness festivities and garden shows, as well as eat local bread.

Ilonggo products Jaro District

A mother and daughter light a candle at the Our Lady of Candles Parish.

The Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria (Our Lady of Candles) Parish, more popularly known as Jaro Cathedral, is found at the heart of the district. Make sure to drop by its historical belfry. In this church, you can buy the perdon, a candle blessed during the feast of its patron saint. The perdon makes for a great gift for friends and loved ones.

The feast of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles, celebrated every February 2, is one great celebration of the district. The event is well-attended by locals and tourists. And if you’re craving for bibingka (rice cake) even if it is not yet Christmas, pass by the kiosks near the cathedral to get your fix of this local delicacy.

Another foodie find in Jaro district is pan de sal (bread roll) from Panaderia ni Paa, so named because it is the specialty of the owner Mr. Paa. Crunchy on the outside but fluffy inside, it is the kind of bread locals consume daily early in the morning. This bread is best for those who have diabetes because it is not as sweet as that of other bakeries. Despite recent developments, the bakery has retained the traditional method of cooking their pan de sal in a hot brick oven.

Molo District

Known For: If La Paz became world-famous because of its batchoy, Molo earned its prestige because of its history, delicacy, food, and religion.

Ilonggo products Molo District

When in Iloilo City, get a feel of Ilonggo’s culture and tradition by stepping inside Bahay na Bato. (Image: Reysie Lubiano)

Have you tried the very famous dish of this district called pancit Molo? Visitors can have this pork dumpling soup at Panaderia de Molo, the first commercial establishment to make the dish available to the public. The said bakery also has pasalubong (take-home) items that can be boxed for easy carriage when returning home or when going somewhere else.

Moreover, the district is known for its rich history and culture. In fact, there are many old houses that are currently maintained and renovated to accommodate tourists and even locals who would want to know and understand their heritage.

One of such houses is Bahay na Bato (House Made of Stone). It is an example of a house built following a geometric style and is representative of Ilonggo culture and tradition.

Arevalo District

Known For: Seafood, roast pig, chicken, fireworks, and firecrackers are just a few of what the Arevalo district can offer to locals and foreign visitors.

Ilonggo products Arevalo District

Baked scallops from Breakthrough restaurant (Image: Breakthrough Restaurant)

Seafood is abundant in the district since it is in front of Villa Beach. Thus, the place is crowded with restaurants like Annie’s & Juaning’s Place Manokan & Seafoods, Breakthrough Restaurant, Tatoy’s Manokan and Seafood Restaurant, to name a few.

The Villa de Arevalo District, also known as Villa or Arevallo, is also where one can buy lechon (roast suckling pig). The place where the pig is roasted is already an assurance of tastiness and crunch. You just have to be sure that you have settled with your physician your cholesterol and hypertensive problems so that nothing will worry you. You can always order a whole lechon or lechon de leche (small roasted pig) for your loved ones, as long as you do so ahead of time.

If you are throwing a surprise party for somebody, the Arevalo district is where you can buy firecrackers at a great price even if it is not yet New Year. Just make sure that you can carry them along safely when buying in bulk.

The five shopping districts of Iloilo City surely has a lot to offer. So while enjoying your stay in the City of Love, don’t forget to bring something for the people you’ve left at home.
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About Hyacinth Bangero
She is a young broadcast journalism professor and marketing officer of the University of San Agustin. She's a proud volunteer of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines. Hyacinth is geared to educate, experience, and explore.
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