Iloilo City is in the heart of the Philippines, Western Visayas. Oddly, the island it is part of, Panay Island, is also shaped like a heart. Still more oddly, Iloilo prides itself in being called the "City of Love."

Well, we don't have Cupids darting around causing people to fall in love.

But what I do know is that Ilonggos and Ilonggas alike tend to speak in a manner that is "maluming," or soft, sweet and gentle. Maybe it's the Hiligaynon language's intonation and accent. Or maybe it's that odd way that Ilonggas are fond of saying, "Ahay ah!" when lost for words or when losing an edge in an argument. Either way, love and sweetness are part of the language and culture of the people.

Talonggo is a migrant to Manila. Born of Ilonggo and Negrense parents, his life had shuffled back and forth from Bacolod, Manila and even in London at different points in his life. The fast transitions in his life inspired him to create this blog, so that his children can see their roots. It also causes him to keep connected to where he came from.

I, The Scribbler, am a migrant to Iloilo. I was born in Tagum City, Davao del Norte, to a mother of Quezon Province and Leyte descent, and a father of pure Ilonggo descent. In my veins are Aeta, Chinese, Spanish and Filipino blood. Thus, Iloilo is both the land of my fathers, as well as a land I have embraced.

I did not always love Iloilo. When I was four, my family and I took a trip to Manila to visit my father. The Philippines' capital left such an impression on me, that I threw my first-ever major tantrum that lasted hours and bewildered my mother. I was a very placid, cooperative child up to that point.

Around the year I turned 5, my father accepted a job in the government, so we all had to migrate to the land he came from. Through my 5-year-old eyes, Iloilo was nothing like Manila. In fact, Iloilo was "NOT MANILA."

I rode the jeepney and would look at the landmarks and exclaim to myself, "This is NOT MANILA!"

I only made peace with my city in my 20's.

Today, I see Iloilo as a place where:

  • One can find rest.
  • A foodie can gorge on delectable food.
  • Time stands still.

For me, Iloilo City is a place where you can retreat from the hustle and the bustle of Manila or even Cebu, without needing to feel intimidated about the culture. Iloilo is laid-back, with people who prefer to dress down than dress up. In fact, if you're dressy, you may find that Ilonggos will stare at you, some even contemptuously. Ilonggos love the simple life, and they relish it with gusto.

So what's so good about Iloilo? That's it -- the simple life. Rest. And food. And more food. If you're thinking about planning a trip to somewhere you haven't been before, come over to Iloilo. Don't forget to pack mostly T-shirts and decent shorts. Leave the eye-catching blouses and shorts behind. You don't want to shock the locals.

Lastly, remember to never leave Iloilo without trying Breakthrough's Sisig (also available at Dapli), Dulgie's cakes, and sample a buffet at either Emillion or Days. These places alone would already make your trip worthwhile. Enjoy!