Artwork by Justine Win

6 Reasons Why I Love Being An Ilonggo

By justine win

1. Iloilo is a convenient place.

One thing I observed in Iloilo is how easy it is to commute from one place to another. There are a lot of jeepneys and each one have various routes within the city (FYI, the “jeepney” is the cheapest mode of transportation there is in the whole Philippines). Just make sure you won’t take your ride home during peak hours, or you might find yourself standing and waiting for an hour or so!

Also, if you are a traveler and wanted to spend as less money as possible, fear not! Iloilo is the right place for you. There are lots of cheap inns, transient dormitories, and hotels within the area. That’s also not mentioning the affordable and iconic local food brands such as JD’s, Deco’s, Madge’s Cafe, Mang Inasal, La Paz Batchoy, and many more! You might also wonder why every corner of Iloilo has a convenience store. Well, what did I say? Iloilo is a ‘convenient’ place.

2. Ilonggo food is superb.

As what I have mentioned above, Iloilo is known for its mouth-watering dishes. Have you heard about Pancit Molo and Batchoy? Yes, these were invented by Ilonggos. The ever-famous Mang Inasal was also founded by an Ilonggo, Mr. Edgar Sia.

I think one of the main hobbies of Ilonggos is eating. We love food, and this is our usual pastime. If you’d ask a typical Ilonggo how they have fun here, they’ll probably tell you, “Oh, I know. Let’s grab some food! I’ve heard [insert awesome new food outlet] just opened last week!”

3. Dinagyang and Esplanade are our pride.

These two definitely define Iloilo.

The Dinagyang festival showcases the creativity of Ilonggos from the in-sync dance routines, the colorful costumes and props, and right down to the eargasmic drum beats. Did you know that Dinagyang won a “grand slam” from the Aliwan (Editor: from the Tagalog root word aliw, meaning “to entertain”) Fiesta in 2012 and it still continues to do so up till now? We represented the Philippines outside the country and we continue to amaze and surprise the foreign audience! That’s how talented Ilonggos are in the field of art, dance and music.

While Dinagyang continues to bring pride to the city, Esplanade is one of the most visited places here and is one of the popular tourist spots in Iloilo. If you’re into long walks and jogs, then you should visit this place! Stretching to a length of 1.2 kilometers and dotted with its beautiful landscape and lights, Esplanade will give you just the right vibe to set any “mood” you are into. Don’t worry, there are food shops and stalls at both ends of the walk that will recharge your body’s energy after your strenuous walk.

4. The progress of Iloilo is undeniable.

Thanks to our hardworking mayor, Mr. Jed Patrick Mabilog, the Iloilo Convention Center was pushed through to host the upcoming APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) in 2015 and traffic lights are now installed in the city to anticipate this event. Recently, lots of investors have been establishing their own businesses here in Iloilo resulting in more boutiques, food shops, medical services and job opportunities.

The full development of Iloilo Business Park is also one of the most anticipated projects in Iloilo. Megaworld intends to put up first-class hotels, residential condominiums, commercial retail areas, a modern lifestyle mall, BPO office buildings, skills training center, recreational facilities, and a convention center.

5. Iloilo is a place of malalambings.

Are you malambing (sweet)?

One of my major observations whenever I meet someone who is not from Iloilo is they let me “pretend” that I’m angry by letting me cuss, and then they laugh afterwards by saying, “Nagmumura ka pero parang di ka galit. Ang galing!” (You’re cursing, but you don’t sound angry! Amazing!)

One of my officemates narrated to me her experience with her Ilonggo friends. She said, “There was this time when both my friends were fighting over the phone and the guy was shouting to her girlfriend, but in a sweet intonation. He said he was mad at her, but it didn’t sound like it.” She laughed and added, “I was confused if they were really fighting or not.”

6. We have the funniest expressions.

Ay pwerte!”, “Te halong.”, ”Ay ambot sa imo.”, “Ay abaw”, “Te kamusta na man si [name] ya?”, “Huya man ta, “Daw mayo haw”, “Sagad sagad sa iya ba.

All these expressions above, if not used for sarcasm, are often used to euphemize the anger or insult towards a friend. But let’s face it, they all sound funny and I myself use some of these expressions (mostly to indirectly express my hate for someone. Just kidding!)

So, these are the top 6 reasons why I love being an Ilonggo. There might be more on the list, but I’ll leave the rest to you to fill them up!