If you fancy being able to say that you’ve been at the center of the Philippine archipelago, then head to Iloilo province. Iloilo has recently become a popular tourist destination because of its historic churches, beautiful landscape, good and hospitable people, and delicious cuisine. Its capital, Iloilo City, is one of the major urban centers in the country and is also a popular conference and meeting destination of political leaders and professionals from all over the nation and even from around the world.
Of course, bringing home pasalubong (souvenirs and treats to be given to family and friends back home) from Iloilo will be your best proof of your stay in Iloilo—best because you will be giving them to loved ones and because the treats are all scrumptious! That’s why pasalubong items from Iloilo are so popular!
Don’t worry about finding where to buy pasalubong in Iloilo. As you spend your day in this place named as “the heart of the Philippines,” you will find that there are lots of pasalubong stores that are definitely worth the visit. Here are some of them:
Yusay-Consing Mansion (Molo, Iloilo City)
The place affronts the historical Molo Church where St. Pedro Calungsod is said to have started his ministry as a parishioner. Another bit of history: Molo once became the seat of the Philippine Government outside Manila. It is also the place where Pancit Molo originated since it used to be the haven of Chinese-Filipino communities.
Yusay-Consing Mansion: One-stop-shop for pasalubong, resto, and tourism site (Photo from Yusay-Consing Mansion)
The white mansion has been renovated and re-opened during APEC season in Iloilo. Right now, it functions as a tourist destination as well as a one-stop-shop for Ilonggo products and souvenir items.
Handicraft to make you and your loved ones smile
Simple and classic “I Love Iloilo” bags and pouches
Everything for everyone (Photos credit to Lucyl Gatmaitan)
So, if you are just a bit tardy to look for items for everyone in the family, just visit Yusay-Consing Mansion—almost everything is there, though items come a little pricey.
Original Biscocho Haus (Jaro, Iloilo City)
You will immediately identify the baggage carousel assigned for flights coming from Iloilo as you arrive at Ninoy Aquino International Airport. How? It’s the one usually loaded with boxes from Original Biscocho Haus. It has been a tradition that no Ilonggo leaves the province without a pack or box from Original Biscocho Haus.
Original Biscocho Haus renovated for both Ilonggos and tourists. Don’t leave Iloilo without a box! (Photo by Writer)
Photo courtesy of Biscocho Haus
Remember to set aside time packing a box of butterscotch bars, biscocho (butter toast), galletas (thin and crisp cookies), barquillos (wafer rolls), and other food stuff from the Original Biscocho Haus. You can find branches in SM City Iloilo, Plazuela, Atria, and Robinson’s Place Iloilo.
Deco’s Pasalubong Center (Valeria St., City Proper)
Deco’s La Paz Batchoy is still contending with Ted’s Old Timer La Paz Batchoy and Netong’s as to whose batchoy is the original. But it doesn’t really matter anymore; they are all delicious and their versions of this noodle soup garnished with pork organs and pork cracklings have won the taste buds of Ilonggos and tourists alike.
Photo courtesy of Deco's Pasalubong Center
While you wait for your bowl of batchoy at Deco’s Pasalubong Center, you can shop for items like shirts, delicacies, and keepsakes. Consider it a bonus that the store is just beside Dulgie’s Cake and Pastries—a haven for those who have a sweet tooth.
Roberto’s (J.M. Basa St., Iloilo City)
Size matters as taste does—nothing compares with Roberto’s siopao (Photo by Writer)
On average, thousands of siopao’s are produced daily by Roberto’s. Ilonggos flock the sole branch of the restaurant to satisfy their craving for regular, jumbo, queen- and king-sized siopao stuffed with pork or chicken adobo, longganisa, ham, bacon, and egg. There is no better tasting siopao in town than that of Roberto’s. Even Ilonggos abroad would usually ask friends and relatives who come home to bring them some of Roberto’s siopao and hamburger.
Grab some king-sized siopao for yourself from Roberto’s when you visit Iloilo. But, don’t forget to bring some home for your family and friends so they can have a taste of this special from Iloilo as well.
Margec’s Cream Horn (E. Lopez St., Jaro)
Cream Horn, which is puff pastry shaped like a horn and filled with cream, has become the latest popular treat of Ilonggos for their loved ones who live outside the province. And the best cream horn in town can be bought at Margec’s Cream Horn in Jaro.
Cream Horn (Photo courtesy of Margec's Cream Horn
The taste of this product is close to Bacolod’s Napoleones which is made up of alternating layers of puff pastry and cream. However, cream horn’s packaging is way more attractive because of its conical form. Take the first bite before you pack a box for your loved ones waiting for your return!
Deocampo Barquillos (St. Anne Building, La Paz)
Barquillos (Photo courtesy of Deocampo Barquillos)
Another store you can get siopao, biscocho, and barquillos to take home with you is Deocampo Barquillos. Their pinasugbo (sugarcoated fried banana strips) is definitely a must-try.
Madge Cafe (Atria Park District)
Coffee-drinking has become part of almost every Filipino’s morning and afternoon rituals. And that Ilonggo’s authentic,-native-brewed coffee of Madge, whose concoction dates back to pre-war times, is now available at Atria Park District, Butlak at Diversion Road and La Paz Public Market. Madge’s brew has won the hearts of many Ilonggos and tourists because the quality of their coffee is at par with what is offered by more expensive coffee shops around.
A coffee experience that is truly Ilonggo (Photo by Writer)
Meanwhile, Madge Cafe in Atria Park District doesn’t limit itself with coffee alone. It offers its patrons meals, snacks, and pastries as well. And it is also a place for you to shop for pasalubong in the form of mugs, t-shirts, and Dinagyang apparels. Dinagyang is a major religious festival celebrated every fourth Sunday of January.
Fiesta! (SM City Iloilo and Robinson’s Place Iloilo)
If you are a collector of shirts that bear the names of places you visit, you must not miss the stalls of Fiesta! Favorite Souvenir shop at SM City Iloilo and Robinson’s Place Iloilo. Some of these items are also displayed under the Kultura Filipino section inside the department stores of SM Delgado and SM City Iloilo. There are multiple designs that will surely capture your taste of elegance, form, and style.
You will get to choose from designs like century-old churches, Dinagyang warriors, Dinagyang Festival, and “I Love Iloilo,” among others, for white and multi-colored shirts. If you have kids and would like to bring home some shirts from them, too, you will find just the right sizes here.
Pasalubong centers are definitely the places to go when shopping for a lot of items. Nevertheless, Ilonggo delicacies and special products of Guimaras are also made available in smaller stalls, grocery stores, passenger terminals, ports, and the airport. Surely, no tourist will fail to bring a piece Iloilo back to their homes.