“Iloilo, where you find love and memories never fade.”
On a sunny Saturday of the 3rd week of February 2015, I decided to join my high school classmates in unearthing the beauty of Iloilo City, Philippines. I’ve been to these places, but not with their company. So sharing this adventure with them was a meaningful memory.
Our first stop for the day was the Spanish- Filipino house, Casa Mariquit, in Democracia, Jaro, Iloilo. It is a 200 years old house owned by the Javellana- Lopez family. Casa Mariquit got its name from the Maria Mariquit Javellana Lopez, wife of Vice President Fernando Lopez, Sr..
As we enter the gates of Casa Mariquit, we were greeted by a welcoming caretaker. Casa Mariquit is a red brick house with a stone foundation and wood interior. The caretaker told us the story of the house and even took our group pictures. Nostalgia had been prevailing to me and my friends as we checked every corner of the house.
The front door of Casa Mariquit leads you to the garage, which now houses plaques and certificates of the home owners. On the far end, there’s a grand staircase leading to the second level of the house. The second floor of Casa Mariquit has several divisions. There’s a corner showcasing the mementos of Vice President Fernando Lopez, Sr.
Also, the second level has a wide living room and when you open the doors, the verandah will present you to the outside world. The two bedrooms in Casa Mariquit share how lovely the homeowners were. The one that caught our attention the most was the room with a collection of different cameras. It was so fascinating that we compare the present cameras with the vintage ones. Between the bedrooms, a long dining table is situated.
Additionally, Casa Mariquit has a prayer room which signifies the family’s devotion to Christianity. Oil paintings, books and other Spanish- era mementos are found in the beautiful house.
(Casa Mariquit is open for public with an entrance fee of 50php. The landmark near is PRC- Iloilo.)
Lapaz Market: Netong’s La Paz Batchoy and La Paz Kitchenette’s Ube Brazos
Because we became famished with our tour in Casa Mariquit, we decided to eat at Netong’s in Lapaz Market. The place is known for its delicious ‘batchoy’ and ‘arroz caldo’. The restaurant was featured in Amazing Race Philippines. For our dessert, we transferred to La Paz Kitchenette. The bakery shop offers a sumptuous ‘ube brazos’.
Molo, Iloilo City
At 3pm, we chose Molo, Iloilo to be our next stop. We head over to St. Anne Church. The century old Roman Catholic church is dubbed as a feminist church as it houses the statues of female saints. Unfortunately, we haven’t had a chance to see them as they were taken from their posts for cleaning.
St. Anne Church in Molo, Iloilo has a fine architecture. The style, carvings and paintings are so lovely. No wonder that it was built during the Spanish era.
After we uttered our prayers inside the Molo church, we moved over the plaza just in front of the church. Molo plaza has a gazebo adorned with Greek goddesses. The structure is intricately designed that you would think you are in Greece.
When you’re in Iloilo, never miss Iloilo Esplanade. It is a long walking brick path from Molo to Diversion Road, Mandurriao. Esplanade is a hub for everyone, especially for healthy living advocates.
We completed our day by sipping coffee and cold drinks at Madge Café in Diversion. People flock at the café for meeting, catching up or just mere coffee break. It’s a great place to sip Ilonggo brew.
At the end of the day, it came to my senses that Iloilo is a place where you can find love, where love finds you, and memories are never ending. Until next time, palangga ko nga Iloilo.