2017 Feature Highlights: A ‘Megaworld’ of Surprises

The Iloilo Business Park came to fruition when leading real estate developer Megaworld Corporation has brought the 72-hectare township to the City of Love, investing billions of pesos for its development. The Iloilo Business Park is envisioned to be ‘the next central business district’ in Iloilo City, housing the Iloilo Convention Center, Megaworld Lifestyle Mall, luxury condominiums, state of the art BPO towers, boutique hotels, and a 1.1 kilometer long Festive Walk Parade serving the best of local and international cuisine in a unique alfresco setting.

The 1.1 km Festive Walk Parade is the longest shopping and dining strip in Iloilo. The exterior design of Festive Walk Parade is reminiscent of Santana Row development in California, with a hint of Iloilo’s own architectural heritage. The edge of Festive Walk Parade showcases Casa Emperador, and will soon house a vast collection of one of the world’s biggest brandy producer, Emperador Distillers Inc. The alfresco dining on the 2nd floor will overlook the beautifully landscaped Park Square where a monument of Ilonggo revolutionary hero, General Martin Delgado stands.

Here is our very own look back of our experiences at the Iloilo Business Park, including our personal take on the gastronomic finds along the Festive Walk Parade and the rest of Megaworld.

First off, of course, is Richmonde Hotel. Showcasing elegance and style, Richmonde Hotel is giving more than just the basics for a relaxing stay. Situated in the heart of a promising economic district and commercial hub, Richmonde is the ideal hotel for business and leisure activities. Third property of the homegrown Richmonde brand, the hotel incorporates a warm and comfortable atmosphere that reflects the affectionate personality the Ilonggos are known for. Read more about Richmonde Hotel here.

First off, let us go to an interesting local find. Owned by Iloilo chef superstar Pauline Gorriceta-Banusing, lifestyle restaurant Farm to Table serves delightful and healthy brunch to dinner selections made from local, seasonal and fresh farm products. Coming from the phrase ‘farm to table’, the lifestyle restaurant uses fresh produce and local ingredients – that includes ‘organic vegetables, meat from grass-fed cows and free-range chicken and eggs among others’. It also supports the ‘farm to table’ movement that advocates for local, seasonal, fresh, and organic products as a means to connect consumers to the source of their meals. Read more about Farm to Table here

In terms of local, given a split second, what’s the first thing you remember when you hear the word ‘Iloilo’? One in five, my approximation, will say ‘batchoy’. Batchoy is always appended to Iloilo the way Bicol Express is to Bicol. Batchoy is a noodle soup made with pork organs, crushed pork cracklings, chicken stock, beef loin, and round noodles. The origin of batchoy is trailed to the district of La Paz, Iloilo City and is often referred to its iconic name, La Paz Batchoy. Tracing the roots of batchoy, an origin came into play when the first batchoy shop was put up in the district of La Paz by Teodorico Lepura. A son of a poor peasant and a teenager then, Lepura worked odds hours for different Chinese merchants where he discovered his culinary prowess. Little did he know that his innovation would gain him loyal patrons – with La Paz Batchoy becoming the flagship dish of Iloilo and Iloilo’s pride to the world. In 1945 – shortly after the war and with Php 10 – Lepura opened his 5X5 stall in the public market of La Paz. And thus, Ted’s Oldtimer La Paz Batchoy was born. Read more about Teodorico by Ted’s Oldtimer La Paz Batchoy here.

And of course, when it comes to local finds, Ilonggos have a soft spot for seafood delicacies. ‘It’s raining talaba!’ – seems like an understatement when we were warmly accommodated at Griller’s Oyster House along the Festive Walk Parade at Iloilo Business Park at Mandurriao. If you love talaba so much, Griller’s Oyster House is the place to be. Griller’s is a famous fusion seafood chain of restaurants in Iloilo City serving affordable seafood dishes and Ilonggo cuisine. Revel in a pool of Oyster Dishes cooked in a variety of ways: Steamed, Baked, Sizzling, Hot Chili, Crispy Fried, Korean, and Kinilaw. Read more about Griller’s Oyster House here.

Local finds don’t stop here. ‘Don’t go home without it!’ is definitely the perfect tagline when it comes to bringing home pasalubong from Iloilo, it definitely has to be Biscocho Haus. The 42-year-old Biscocho house is a crowd favorite and is Iloilo’s prime pasalubong representative to other parts of the country and the world. Butterscotch, Barquillos, Piaya, Pinasugbo, Barquiron are just some of the specialties of Biscocho Haus – and, of course, the legendary Biscocho that is absolutely 100% Ilonggo. Read more about Original Biscocho Haus here.

Awarded ‘Best Concept Cafe’ for two years in a row during the 10th and 11th National Product Quality Excellence Awards, Book Latte is a haven for creativity and innovation. Known as ‘the revolutionary coffee shop’, this space along the Festive Walk Parade at the Iloilo Business Park is the first of its kind coffee shop perfectly complemented by a library. Book Latte was also the venue during the book launching of ‘Miss Makeover’ by Ilongga author, Claire Betita de Guzman. Read more about Miss Makeover here. Indeed, when it comes to books and food, Book Latte is indeed the best place to be. Read more about Book Latte here.

Apart from books, there is also convenience. Ever wondered what’s inside a Korean grocery store? Assi Fresh Plaza is the leading retailer of Korean food and non food products in the Philippines. With eight branches nationwide and growing, Assi Fresh Plaza is currently the country’s premier provider of major Korean food brands. Assi Fresh Plaza Iloilo, settled on the ground floor of BPO Building A, along Megaworld Boulevard at the Iloilo Business Park, is a branch of Assi Fresh Plaza. The leading Korean grocery offers major food brands such as NongShim, Binggrae, Ottogi, Crown, Orion, Lotte, Beksul, Dongwon, Chongga, and Sempio. Read more about Assi Fresh Plaza here.

Here is another haven serving Korea’s popular shaved ice cream dessert, Patbingsoo – commonly referred to as ‘Snow Ice’. Snow Ice is rooted to ‘Patbingsu’ or ‘Patbingsoo’ which means ‘red beans shaved ice’. It is a popular Korean dessert with sweet toppings that may include fruit, condensed milk, fruit syrup, and red beans. On the other hand, varieties other than red beans are called ‘Bingsu’ or ‘Bingsoo’. 13th Street Espresso – with locations along the Festive Walk Parade at the Iloilo Business Park and at the Galleria Building along Jalandoni Street in Jaro – offers Snow Ice as well as a parade of interesting caffeine, tea, savory, and dessert collections. Read more about 13th Street Espresso here.

Here’s more of Korea! Jip Bab will surely entice Korean friends in Iloilo, as well as the large number of Ilonggos in love with Korean food. Jip Bab is a traditional Korean restaurant serving Korean and oriental cuisines. When it comes to traditional Korean meals, it is largely based on rice, vegetable, and meat – as well as for the number of side dishes known as ‘banchan’. Kimchi is almost always served at every meal. At Jip Bab, guests will definitely have their fill of Korean bestsellers. Read more about Jip Bab here.

There’s nothing like awesome ‘mama mia’ Pizzeria like Pizzaro. What makes a nice Pizzeria anyway? Well, one, it has to be accessible. Pizzaro is one of the most accessible, not to mention leading pizzerias in Iloilo City. It has branches in Jalandoni Street, E Lopez Street, The Shops at Atria Park District, and at the Festive Walk Parade at Iloilo Business Park in Mandurriao. Read more about Pizzaro here.

To top it all off, dessert, anyone? Ohhh yes. Dulgies Desserts and Cafe is your one stop shop for sweets and savory. Founded in 2007, this desserts cafe specializes in homemade specialty cakes and desserts. “We are not the only shop that specializes in making homemade cakes, bread, and pastries in Iloilo City. All our creations are baked from scratch using the finest ingredients” – Dulgies. Read more about Dulgies here

With locations in Makati, BGC, Tomas Morato, Ortigas, and Clark – Cable Car is finally here in Iloilo. Moreover, Cable Car Iloilo seems to be the first Cable Car branch outside of Luzon. The famous resto bar from Manila serves a palatable array of lunch and dinner meals as well as an impressive lineup of drinks, cocktails, and other liquor products. Cable Car is the perfect place when looking for good food and a seriously extensive list of alcoholic offerings. Read more about Cable Car here

With all the foodgasm going on at the Iloilo Business Park, there will always be that restaurant that looks after health and wellbeing. “Healthy isn’t a goal, it’s a way of living” – Barista Grounds Fit Cafe is all about Zero Deprivation. There is always a strange notion that, in order to be fit, one must massively cut back calories – not to mention the meticulous selection of food based on the caloric amount and nutritional value. On the other hand, at Barista Ground Fit Cafe, the painstaking process of becoming fit and healthy is made effortlessly easy. After all, BGCF – short for Barista Grounds Fit Cafe – is the new GO-TO place where self-deprivation is at zero tolerance. Read more about Barista Grounds Fit Cafe here.

Apart from the above mentioned restaurants, there is more at the Iloilo Business Park. Revel in a collection of satiating dishes served at Dova Brunch Cafe, appetizing shawarma at Food Channel, and coffee at Aldea’s. Indeed, it is a Megaworld of Surprises and that is just in terms of food. Soon enough, the Iloilo Business Park will be surrounded by titanic condominium units as well as the long awaited mall and other offerings. Happy Holidays, Iloilo Business Park!

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