Iloilo, the City of Love, has long been admired for its rich cultural heritage, warm-hearted people, and stunning natural attractions. But another aspect of Iloilo deserves attention – its collection of unique and interesting shops. From local artisans to quirky stores, Iloilo has a wealth of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. In this blog post, we’ll take you on a journey through some of Iloilo’s most distinctive and captivating shops.
Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art
For those interested in culture with a twist of brandy, the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art offers a unique experience. It’s the first brandy museum in the Philippines, established by Emperador Inc. – the country’s largest liquor company and the world’s largest brandy manufacturer.
The museum offers a captivating virtual tour of the history of brandy and wine manufacturing in the Philippines. You’ll learn about the journey of distillery history in the country, from its early beginnings to its present-day prominence. The museum also displays an array of Fundador brandies, showcasing the evolution of the brand over the years.
As part of the museum experience, visitors can participate in a brandy appreciation workshop. Here, you’ll have the chance to learn more about different brandy products from leading Spanish brandy producers such as Bodegas Fundador, Bodegas San Bruno, Bodegas Terry, and Bodegas Garvey.
The museum also serves as a selling point for various brandy and wine products. Visitors who partake in the virtual tour have the opportunity to purchase these offerings. The prices vary based on the product and its age – the older the product, the more expensive it becomes. Prices range from 400+ PHP to 13k+ PHP.
For coffee lovers looking to unwind, the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art is a perfect place to visit. Their Empi Frappe and Empi Brewed are some of the best sellers, providing a unique brandy-coffee fusion that will surely please your palate.
Brewery Gastropub / Cocktails & Kegs
Established in 2010 as the first imported beer bar in Iloilo City, Rooftop Brewery introduced Ilonggos to a variety of new beer flavors beyond their usual local brands. In 2014, Rooftop Brewery transformed into the Brewery Gastropub, expanding its collection to include around 100 beer choices from around the world. The gastropub also began featuring handcrafted beers made with natural ingredients by microbreweries both locally and from places like Japan, Australia, California, and New Orleans.
Today, Brewery Gastropub is the only pub in Iloilo City to offer six flavors of fresh gourmet beer in draft form, including two regularly imported from Australia. The gastropub’s culinary group is renowned for its gourmet food expertise, and the menu boasts an array of delectable dishes that perfectly complement the vast line up of beers. Brewery Gastropub provides an unforgettable food and beer pairing experience for the young, the young at heart, and families alike.
Visit Brewery Gastropub to see first-hand how serious they are about offering gourmet food paired with the finest beers from around the world. Experience Iloilo City’s first imported beer bar and gastropub for yourself!
The Molo Mansion
The Molo Mansion, situated near the iconic Molo Church, is a beautifully restored heritage house that offers visitors a glimpse into Iloilo’s rich history. One of its recent developments is the opening of the second floor to the public, which now features a temporary art exhibit. Previously reserved for special occasions and private rentals, the second floor allows visitors to appreciate the mansion’s wooden structures, beautiful glass windows, and the stunning view from the balcony overlooking the Molo Church.
Additionally, the area surrounding the mansion now boasts a variety of eateries, providing visitors with the opportunity to taste the famous “pancit molo” and other local delicacies. The ground floor continues to house the Kultura shop, where you can purchase souvenirs and other Filipiniana items. The Molo Mansion is a must-visit destination in Iloilo, offering a unique combination of history, culture, and shopping.
Balai + Kape
Balai + Kape is an indie coffee spot in Iloilo City that is perfect for those who appreciate a quality cup of coffee. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a classic hot drink or a refreshing cold beverage, this cozy cafe offers a comfortable space to read a book or catch up with friends. The menu at Balai + Kape also features a variety of sandwiches, pasta, and finger foods, ensuring there’s something to suit everyone’s taste. Conveniently located beside Commission Civil Street in Jaro, Iloilo City, Balai + Kape is a must-visit destination for coffee lovers and those seeking a relaxing atmosphere.
Despite the convenience of streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music, there’s a distinct pleasure derived from listening to music the old-fashioned way. Owning a collection of vinyl records and enjoying tunes from various decades is an art that will never truly fade. If you’re looking to build your personal collection or simply curious about the vinyl hype, you’ll want to visit Anthology in Iloilo City.
This retro-inspired store is a paradise for music enthusiasts, lined wall-to-wall with records both old and new. Here, you’ll find classics from The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and Fleetwood Mac, alongside contemporary artists like Tame Impala, Eminem, and Alanis Morissette. Movie soundtrack records are also part of the store’s vast collection, adding another dimension to your music exploration.
Decorated with kitschy trinkets and furnished with rustic, old-school pieces, Anthology transports visitors back to the vibrant styles of the 1960s. Besides records, the shop also offers a selection of books, making it an ideal spot for both music lovers and avid readers.
Anthology is conveniently located at G/F Reddoorz, Main Avenue, Ledesco Village, La Paz, Iloilo City. They’re currently open for shop visits by appointment, and their selection of records is also available online. A trip to Anthology guarantees not just a shopping experience, but a journey through the annals of music history.
Iloilo is home to a variety of unique and interesting places that cater to diverse tastes and interests. Whether you’re into music, food, coffee, or fascinated by the rich culture and history, there’s something for everyone in the City of Love. By visiting these local gems and supporting small businesses, you contribute to Iloilo’s thriving economy and help preserve its distinctive character and charm. Don’t forget to include these one-of-a-kind places in your itinerary when exploring the beautiful city of Iloilo.