Iloilo is a place I just love to visit again and again. This is already my third time to the city, and it was a no less enjoyable experience. And to be there for it’s first comic book convention made it a more awesome stay.
The first time was there was 1996 for an Architect’s conference. The second time was for a talk I gave at the University of the Philippines in 2010. Both times were quick visits, specially the second one. I didn’t get the opportunity to really go around and taste the local cuisine. This time I thought it was something I will not miss. So the first day there my first stop after checking in to our hotel was Ted’s for Iloilo’s famous La Paz Batchoy.
Well, I thought Ted’s was just OK. I was actually kind of underwhelmed. So the following day Ilyn and I decided to go and visit the district of La Paz itself and try Netong’s at the La Paz Public Market.
Now THIS was more like it. This one I just loved. Perfectly worth the trip to La Paz just to try it.
At lunchtime we headed to Breakthrough, which is kind of far from the city. But once again, the trip was worth it for the awesome food. We had Chili Lobster!
It tasted pretty nice, and the best thing is, it’s not as expensive as some restaurants in Manila. Breakthrough is located along a beach, so after lunch I took a little walk along the shore.
Foodtripping over, we headed back to our hotel to rest and prepare for a pre-event press conference at the University of Iloilo that afternoon. There we met up with a few friends.
The following day was December 2, the day of the convention. I arrived at Robinson’s Place a little before 1pm and headed straight to the National Book Store booth, which was selling copies of ELMER.
Art Geroche drew many stories for DC’s Horror line of books in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Check out some of his work here.
It was around this time the batteries of my camera conked out so I was unable to take more photos of the convention. Don’t worry though, there’s plenty of other photos that can be seen here:
The following day, December 3, the organizers of the convention gave a few of us a tour around Iloilo. It is here that my fascination with the city grew tenfold. I had been noticing a lot of really old buildings in the city, remarkably well preserved. It’s perhaps why I like the place so much. Every place has a lot of history, but this is one city where one can see it in the many old buildings that still stand. Somehow, they were spared the destruction that was brought upon many such cities during World War 2.
Here in San Pablo only very few old buildings remain, but Iloilo is practically teeming with them. The local government is taking a strong hand in preserving their heritage by affording incredible tax cuts, and even providing financing towards their preservation. You can tell the people of Iloilo take their culture seriously. I can only hope to say the same of the local government of San Pablo City.
All in all, it was one of the best work vacations I’ve had. Thanks to Jann Galino and the rest of the organizers of the Iloilo Comics Convention!