My mouth waters when I think of Iloilo and its food specialties. When we were invited to play in a sorority sponsored pre-Valentine event on February 12 at Mellow Mangrove (formerly Tijuana Bar) by U.P. Sigma Beta, the thought of visiting instantly tickled my taste buds. “La Paz Batchoy!” I screamed in my head.
We asked the organizers to book us an early flight a day before the event to eat and see some places we’ve never been to. The three of us arrived in Iloilo on a Friday morning with hardly any sleep. Lean (a Junior student and sorority member) accompanied by Chito Miclat (a Beta Sigma alumni who owns a printing business) were the ones who picked us up at the airport. The former being relatively shy while the latter is a jolly person in his 50s who never ran out of classic jokes to tell.
Chito: “Im happily married. My wife is happy. I’m just married.”
Chito: “Kahit di ako gwapo ang napangasawa ko former Miss Korea, pero dito na kame nag stay sa Iloilo.”
Bachie: “Talaga? Paano kayo nagkakilala? Nagpunta ka sa Korea?
Chito: ” Hindi. Sa Pampanga ko siya nakilala. Taga Isabela. Mrs. Miclat na sya ngayon.”
Punchline after punchline, he kept us alive and amused during the whole trip to his house, the hotel until till he brought us to Tatoy’s Manokan to treat us for lunch fit for 10 people!
It takes awhile to reach the place. It’s located at Villa Beach, West of Iloilo City near Breakthrough Restaurant. Known to serve the best grilled chicken in Panay, their Native Chicken Lechon is superb and delicious not to mention easy on the budget. The same goes with their selection of seafood dishes.
Picture this: a view of the sea, bamboo tables and benches, soil under your feet, a great selection of native dishes, buko juice served with the whole coconut fruit on the table… we couldn’t help but feel at home and eat using our hands.
The amount of food served and the funny conversations did more than satisfy our hearty appetite. Digging till we can’t take any more. A plastic bag for leftovers was the last request. Chito invited us to have coffee on our way back to the city. He parked beside a business establishment and to our surprise led us inside a public market across the street.
We entered a homey carinderia-type kapihan called Madge Cafe. The place is over 50 years old and quite popular in the area. They serve authentic Ilonggo brewed coffed and is a perfect after meal treat. Who would have thought one would find a place like this in a public market.
continued at Food and Yenning in Iloilo (Part 2)