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Iloilo Shopping Guide for Tourists: From Local Delights to Retail Therapy

Iloilo, the “City of Love,” isn’t just about historical charm and captivating scenery. It’s also a haven for shopaholics, offering a vibrant mix of modern malls, bustling markets, and hidden gems showcasing local crafts. Whether you’re a budget-conscious traveler seeking unique souvenirs or a fashion enthusiast looking for high-end brands, Iloilo has something for everyone. Let’s go, Iloilo shopping!

iloilo shopping
Inside SM Mall

Malls for the Modern Shopper

Iloilo boasts several contemporary shopping malls, perfect for a comfortable and air-conditioned shopping experience.

  • SM City Iloilo: The largest mall in the city, SM City Iloilo offers a wide range of international and local brands, from clothing stores like H&M and Uniqlo to department stores like The SM Store. It also houses a supermarket, cinemas, and a variety of restaurants for a complete shopping and entertainment experience.
  • Robinson’s Place Iloilo: Another major player in the Iloilo shopping scene, Robinson’s Place offers a range of shops and amenities similar to SM City Iloilo. It’s conveniently located in the city center, making it a great option for those staying downtown.
  • Festive Walk Iloilo: For a more upscale shopping experience, head to Festive Walk Iloilo. This open-air mall features high-end brands like Zara and Michael Kors, alongside trendy restaurants and cafes. The rooftop deck, with its stunning city views and dog park, is a delightful bonus.
iloilo shopping
Biscocho is Iloilo’s most popular local delicacy

A Taste of Iloilo: Local Delicacy Stores

Iloilo is a haven for foodies, and what better way to experience the local flavors than by bringing some home? Here’s where to find the city’s most delectable treats:

  • Biscocho Haus: This famous bakery specializes in the classic Filipino cookie, biscocho. They offer a variety of flavors, from the traditional butter to more adventurous options like ube and cheese.
  • Delicioso: Known for their delectable pastillas de leche (milk candy), Delicioso is a must-visit for anyone with a sweet tooth. They also offer other local delicacies like barquillos (wafer rolls) and lengua de gato (cat’s tongue cookies).
  • Merci Pasalubong Center: This one-stop shop offers a vast selection of Iloilo’s most popular pasalubong (souvenirs). You’ll find everything from local delicacies like the biscocho mentioned above and pastillas to delicacies like chicken inasal (barbecued chicken) and seafood products.

Treasures from the Past: Local Souvenir Stores

Immerse yourself in Iloilo’s rich culture by picking up some unique souvenirs at these local stores:

  • Panublion Heritage Shop: Located in the historical Jaro district, Panublion Heritage Shop specializes in Hablon, a locally woven fabric made from pineapple and silk fibers. They offer a variety of Hablon products like table runners, bags, and wallets, all showcasing the exquisite craftsmanship of Iloilo’s weavers.
  • Casa Real: This shop offers a curated selection of handcrafted souvenirs and homeware. From intricately carved wooden figurines to colorful woven baskets, Casa Real allows you to take a piece of Iloilo’s artistic heritage home.
  • Iloilo Pasalubong Center: This convenient center houses stalls selling Iloilo souvenirs. You’ll find everything from handcrafted jewelry and shell ornaments to locally made T-shirts and keychains.
Fiesta Philippines
Fiesta Philippines

High-End Shopping: A Touch of Luxury

For those seeking designer brands and luxury goods, Iloilo offers a few select options:

  • The Shops at Atria: Located within Festive Walk Iloilo, The Shops at Atria houses luxury boutiques like Michael Kors and Coach. Here, you can find high-fashion clothing, shoes, and accessories for a touch of glamour.
  • Iloilo Business Center: This upscale development features a handful of high-end boutiques offering designer clothing, jewelry, and watches. It caters to a discerning clientele seeking a more exclusive shopping experience.

Public Markets: A Sensory Adventure

No trip to Iloilo is complete without a visit to a public market. Here, you’ll experience the vibrant sights, sounds, and smells of local commerce.

  • Iloilo Central Market: This massive market is a treasure trove of fresh produce, seafood, and meats. You can also find a variety of local delicacies, clothing, and household items. Be prepared to embrace the bustling atmosphere and practice your haggling skills.
  • Calle Real Market (Antique): Located in the neighboring province of Antique, a short day trip from Iloilo City, Calle Real Market offers a unique shopping experience. This market specializes in handmade crafts, woven textiles, and indigenous souvenirs, perfect for those seeking authentic finds.

Iloilo Shopping Guide: From Local Delights to Retail Therapy

  • Bargaining: (continued) Haggling is common in many of Iloilo’s markets and smaller shops. Don’t hesitate to negotiate prices – it’s all part of the experience! However, be respectful and offer a fair price.
  • Currency Exchange: The Philippine Peso (PHP) is the local currency. You can exchange your currency at banks, money changers, or even some hotels.
  • Opening Hours: Malls typically operate from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm, while local shops and markets may have varying hours. Some shops close for a lunch break, so plan your shopping trip accordingly.
  • Transportation: Taxis, jeepneys, and tricycles are readily available to get around Iloilo. If you’re comfortable navigating city streets, consider renting a motorbike for a more independent exploration.
  • Eco-Friendly Shopping: Bring your own reusable shopping bags to minimize waste. Some shops may charge extra for plastic bags, so it’s better to be prepared.

Beyond Shopping: Exploring Iloilo’s Artistic Side

While shopping is a delightful activity in Iloilo, don’t miss out on experiencing its rich artistic heritage. Here are some suggestions:

  • Visit a Hablon Weaving Demonstration: Witness the intricate process of Hablon weaving by visiting a local weaving center like Nelly’s Hablon Weaving Industry.
  • Explore Calle Real in Jaro: This historical district boasts ancestral homes with intricate floral and geometric designs. It’s a visual treat and a great place to find antique shops.
  • Discover Iloilo’s Museums: Immerse yourself in Iloilo’s history and culture by visiting museums like the Iloilo Provincial Capitol and the Museo Iloilo.

Additional Tips

  • Learn a few basic Filipino phrases: A little effort goes a long way. Knowing simple phrases like “Magkano ito?” (How much is this?) and “Salamat po” (Thank you) will be appreciated by vendors.
  • Dress comfortably: Iloilo’s weather can be hot and humid, especially during summer. Dress in comfortable clothes and shoes for navigating the markets and exploring the city.
  • Embrace the adventure: Shopping in Iloilo is an adventure in itself. Be open to exploring new shops, trying unfamiliar foods, and interacting with the friendly locals.

With a little planning and an open mind, your shopping spree in Iloilo will be a memorable and rewarding experience.

Conclusion

Iloilo offers a diverse and exciting shopping experience for every kind of traveler. Whether you’re a budget-conscious souvenir hunter or a luxury shopper seeking designer brands, Iloilo has something to offer. So, get ready to embrace the vibrant energy of the markets, indulge in delectable local treats, and discover unique treasures that will forever remind you of your time in the “City of Love.”

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