So many places to see, so many sights to wonder in the Philippines but my best friend and I decided to visit one of the virgin islands in the Philippines.

My bestfriend Trina and Me 🙂

To visit Ilo-ilo 🙂 Lucky for us, Trina use to have a close friend as well who happens to live by at Ilo-ilo City 🙂 who promises to help us out for our DIY Itinerary.

It was July 2015 when we had the chance to book for a promo fare at Cebu Pacific which cost P1,300 for round-trip ticket at Ilo-Ilo City! *such a great buy!
Decided to do the tripping by September that year.

I’ll share with you our DIY Tripping for our 5 days stay including our budgets and other necessary information for a backpacker like you too!

Day 1 | Manila to Ilo-ilo

Took a Grab Car from Manila to NAIA Intl. Airport – Terminal 3, flight is by 10AM. So Trina and I meet up at 8AM. To be just right on time.
We never really planned of booking for an extra baggage thinking we could make it the 7 kilo hand carry allowance.

*Note : Make sure you travel light; Book for early baggage to save cost and time at the airport.

Touchdown Ilo-ilo City

By 12nn we made it at Ilo-ilo International Airport! And the vacation officially starts.

From the airport there were already a lot of van services that would take you straight to SM Ilo-ilo.

So we rode the van for P150 / pax and the travel time was around 1 – 1 1/2 hour. Since we have searched for our hotel ahead of time we asked the driver if he could bring us to Sarabia Hotel directly. The driver then agreed provided we give extra pay and so we agreed, we gave additional P50 for the fare until we reached Sarabia Manor Hotel.

Sarabia Manor

This was the view outside, but the actual hotel area is within this nice facade of Sarabia Hotel as well. But the room rates are definitely much expensive than that of the mini hotel. It cost P720 / night available for 2 pax already. No wi-fi available, no hot & cold just shower but with Television and AC. It was just an okay hotel room to stay in 🙂

From the hotel we rode a cab for our late lunch at Tatoy’s Manokan! Since we heard it is one of the best.

Tatoy’s Manokan

Which they offers a variety of seafoods and chicken definitely, as the name suggests.
But we decided to go for seafoods for our first meal, the baked “tahong” was our favorite!!!! and it was truly awesome! Super tasty and creamy and a must try here at Tatoy’s!

Baked Tahong @ Tatoy’s

Paid P240 for our complete meal (we we’re 3 this time to share the lunch expense) better to eat in this resto with a company so you’ll enjoy more dishes sharing for the cost.

Lunch with Beverly at Tatoy’s

We rode a jeepney going to St. Paul Ilo-ilo to visit the sister school where we graduated in College (St. Paul University Manila)  and had the chance to tour around the school by the University President.

Once a Paulinian, always a Paulinian 🙂

Next, we rode a jeep going to Museo Ilo-ilo and paid a P50 pesos entrance fee.
It’s nice to get to visit the famous museums from this places, you get to see and understand history better.

In its glory days, Iloilo City was called the Queen City of the South. It was the last Spanish-colonial capital of the Philippines when Manila surrendered to the United States of America. You’ll see remnants of its splendid past standing proudly amidst the bustling and chaotic streets of Iloilo today.

*Note : Jeepneys are everywhere and you could just ask a random people for directions. Same rate in Manila



After touring around the museum for an hour. We then decided to visit the famous Madge Cafe, based from the celebrity post and one of the sites of Drew as well from Byahe ni Drew 🙂


Madge Cafe

Jeepney going to the market in which the Madge Cafe is hidden, they offer great cold coffee for everyone 🙂 Make sure you come and drop by this cafe when you’re in Ilo-ilo as it is really a special place. Coffee cost P30 per mug.

They also have a wide collection of different mugs should you wish to have your own mug and keep using it as it has your name on it.

It was past 5 after the coffee break and we decided to roam around SM Ilo-ilo (since I work in SM as well, it’s a pleasure for me to visit SM Malls in the provinces :)) and to buy water and other neccesities for the next couple of days.



Beside SM Ilo-ilo is the known Plazuela, Esplanade which is pretty much relaxing and it was a very nice place for all the locals in the city. It serves as a jogging place similarly to a small park in Manila.
It consist of restaurant stalls offering different cuisines, Italian, Filipino Food, Korean and the likes. It also have resto bar at Esplanade.


We decided to enjoy the view for a moment and had our dinner at Punot Restaurant.

The resto is sooooo nice and relaxing after the entire day of walking around. Perfect for a casual dinning you are looking for.
Truly ilo-ilo delicacies 🙂 we bought 2 different cuisine and share the expense for it.

Carbonara never fails! and the special sisig was also so good. One must try to visit this place too.

Punot Restaurant
hungry for today!

Then rode a jeepney straight to Sarabia Hotel. We felt like a local riding the Jeepney confidently haha! landmark in the city would always be SM and I’m telling you it would always be easier. Decided that we continue with our city tour for the next couple of days as we haven’t really planned too much for the first day.

Decided to rest early as well since we’ll have to be in Isla Gigantes the next day. And it will be a tough journey as they say.

#NatsWanderlust #WheninIloIlo

Here’s my detailed travel expense for Day 1 :

day 1 iloilo expense
Ilo-Ilo City Tour Expense


Hola! Nathalie is your typical city girl who loves the island life, beach, travels, food and adventures. She’ll rather jump off cliffs than watch horror movies, go over beaches than hiking mountains, and never travels without a pashmina. An OC traveler keeping her research and spreadsheets every time she travels and would never say NO to new adventures. Follow her daily escapade @nathaliecsalcedo


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