La Paz Batchoy

La Paz Batchoy

La Paz Batchoy: Given a split second, what’s the first thing you remember when you hear the word ‘Iloilo’? Some will say ‘batchoy’. Batchoy is a noodle soup made with pork organs, crushed pork cracklings, chicken stock, beef loin, and round noodles. The origin of batchoy is traced to the district of La Paz, Iloilo City, and is often referred to by its iconic name, La Paz Batchoy.

Tracing the roots of batchoy, one origin came to existence in 1938 when Federico Guillergan Sr. concocted a dish made by mixing noodles, broth, beef, and pork. When asked for the recipe’s name, the inventor would usually say ‘Bats’ and, later on, appended ‘-choy’ from chop suey, a popular vegetable dish. Moreover, another origin tells that the first batchoy shop was put up in the district of La Paz by Teodorico Lepura in 1945. Back in the 1930s, Lepura concocted his own version while working for a Chinese merchant. The earliest price was 20 cents a bowl.

Popular batchoyans in Iloilo:

  • Ted’s La Paz Batchoy
  • Deco’s La Paz Batchoy
  • Inggo’s La Paz Batchoy
  • Netong’s La Paz Batchoy
  • Popoy’s La Paz Batchoy

About La Paz. La Paz is one of the seven districts in Iloilo City. Before it became a district, it was actually a part of Jaro and was referred to as Ilawod meaning ‘wet’, in contrast to Jaro as Ilaya meaning ‘dry’. The name La Paz was actually taken from the district’s patron saint, Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buen Viaje. The patron saint was referred to as the Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. Thus, the term ‘La Paz’ means ‘peace’ in Spanish.

La Paz is the birthplace of the famous Batchoy.

When you ask an Ilonggo, ‘saan ba pwede makapag-batchoy dito sa Iloilo?’, or ‘saan ba dito ang original na batchoy?’ (‘where can we find original batchoy in Iloilo?’), most will answer ‘La Paz’. Inside Lapaz Public Market alone (prior to its closure and renovation), there are many batchoy destinations. These are Deco’s, Ted’s, and Netong’s. While Deco’s and Ted’s are outside the market (along the road), Netong’s is inside the market.

Ted’s Oldtimer Lapaz Batchoy

La Paz Batchoy

One origin came into play when a 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. The earliest price of batchoy was 20 cents a bowl. 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 was born.

Ted’s is primarily located at the La Paz Public Market (prior to its closure and renovation). To date, it has expanded outside locally and nationally, with branches in Iloilo, Bacolod, Cebu, Roxas, Kalibo, Passi, Kabankalan, Lapu-Lapu, Pasay, Makati, Fairview, Mandaluyong, North Edsa, Binondo, Marikina, Taytay, Cubao, Muntinlupa, Las Pinas, Alabang, Muntinlupa, Dasmarinas, Tagaytay, Bacoor, Rosario, and Dumaguete.

Deco’s Original La Paz Batchoy

Deco’s is said to be the ‘Father of La Paz Batchoy’. Deco’s was founded before the war by Federico Guillergan Sr., a butcher in La Paz Public Market. Deco, as he is called by family and friends, loves to cook and experiment with soup – combining miki, pork meat, liver, intestines, and different spices. Deco’s soup, which he named batchoy, became a big hit in the public market, encouraging him to expand his business.

“We continue to prepare our batchoy the same way it was done when it was created by Federico Guillergan Sr. before the 2nd World War broke out. This is how Ilonggos love their batchoy, and to this day, we continue to please their palate. We do not practice shortcuts in our stock-making. We ensure the quality of our ingredients. We have our own reverse osmosis system so clients are assured that the water used for our stock and for drinking is clean and safe,” says Mrs. Marichel Magalona, the licensed operator of Deco’s.

Deco’s is primarily located at the La Paz Public Market (prior to its closure and renovation). To date, Deco’s has three branches, namely: Robinsons Place Iloilo, Valeria Street, and Robinsons Place Jaro.

Inggo’s La Paz Batchoy

Multiple stories have been told about the origin of this famous dish but the story of Inggo Lozada is known only to a few. In 1920, Domingo “Inggo” Lozada created a dish made of pork and beef broth with noodles and slices of meat and named it “batchoy”. He was inspired by Chinese peddlers who sold soup with meatballs and carried their product in large metal bins hanging from each end of a carrying pole. Inggo then decided to make his own concoction by adding “caldo” or broth made from boiling pork and beef bones into a bowl of “meke” (a kind of noodle) topped with slices of pork meat and intestines. The “meke” noodles were made from scratch as well as the soy sauce and ground pepper. Inggo ultimately perfected his invention and brought it to the streets of Iloilo City using a cart for easy mobility. A year later, he established Inggo’s Batchoy in La Paz, a district in Iloilo City where he, together with his wife, Placida, and their five children namely Jesus, Leonila, Lilia, Adelaida and Virgilia, lived.

From La Paz, Inggo’s moved to different locations before it found its way to Iloilo Central Market in the 1960’s. The two stalls of Inggo’s La Paz Batchoy located inside the market were under the management of Adelaida known to locals as “Lola Aida” and her son Rene “Boy Inggo” until they decided to close stalls in 2010.

Eventually, branches were also put up by Virgilia’s son Raul and her grandson Reynold, one located in Magsaysay Village, La Paz and the other in Atrium Mall, Iloilo City. In 1984, the Iloilo Chamber of Commerce and Industry, together with the Iloilo Subdivision Owners Association, and the Chamber of Real Estate and Buildings Association Inc. – Iloilo Chapter identified Domingo “Inggo” Lozada as one of the Most Outstanding Ilonggo Pioneers for his invention of batchoy. Along with this recognition, a trophy was presented to him as “Outstanding Pioneer in Batchoy Food Products”. (Business Notes Special Issue, December 2, 1984).

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