WEEKEND IN ILOILO: DINAGYANG FESTIVAL

Location: ILOILO, PHILIPPINES

I always say that Dinagyang is my favorite festival in the Philippines because it’s a tamed version of Sinulog in Cebu. Iloilo has that equal balance of fun, discovery and culture. You have great places to see and explore during the day and crazy fun parties at night. Don’t even get me started on the food, Iloilo has the most delicious seafood I’ve ever tried. The aligue rice and managat fish (red snapper) from Breakthrough, the baked oysters and native chicken from Tatoy’s, the boodle fight at Pyt Stop, the authentic La Paz batchoy from Netong’s…ugh I can go on all day. But more than their delicious food, my main agenda in Iloilo was to attend all the parties by SMART! They throw the best events/parties at every festival. Sinulog in Cebu, Masskara in Bacolod, Kadayawan in Davao…name it! Smart is there to make it your most memorable festival weekend yet! Here’s a rundown of what happened during my 62-hour stay in the city of love.

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Touchdown Iloilo! We took the earliest flight to Iloilo…which happened to be at 4:30 in the morning. Zzzz…

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Checked-in at the cozy Injap Tower! One of the many things that I love about this hotel is the location. It’s only about 20 minutes away from the airport and they have available shuttles to pick-up and drop-off guests from either of the two points of entry. It’s also across SM City Iloilo and walking distance to Plazuela de Iloilo and Smallville (a complex where all the parties are lol).

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Had a little mishap with my luggage–I couldn’t open it and was so ready to buy new clothes at SM. But thanks to the helpful staff of Injap, they really went the extra mile and did everything they can to help me open my luggage. Oh in case you’re wondering, yes, I roll my clothes when packing. Haha!

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The Injap Tower Hotel literally stands out as it is the tallest and first hi-rise building in Western Visayas. It has 21 floors and I was lucky enough to book a room on the 20th floor!

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First order of business–lunch at Breakthrough. When you go here, make sure you order the aligue rice and managat fish–they’re famous for those! The lechon, shrimp, kinilaw and native chicken are good as well.

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After lunch, I accompanied Vina to the dentist because she accidentally chipped off her tooth. Haha she will hate me for even writing about this on my blog. 5 hours in Iloilo and yet so much has happened already. Haha!

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The West Service Road. This is like the main road in Iloilo. It’s so clean and the road is huge. I believe it only gets traffic here during Dinagyang weekend. Good thing our hotel is just a bridge away from the mall, restaurants and parties!

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Had coffee and dessert, took a 5-hour nap (is that even considered a nap), then headed out to Plazuela de Iloilo for dinner! Passed by a lot of these SMART trucks. They have really good offers for their loyal subscribers!

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And we’re off to the Love Dance party! We dropped by the SMART booth and took photos at the photobooth with my bros Miko and Kyle.

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The only photo I have from my phone that night. Haha! If you’ve been following my Snapchat stories that night (david_guison), you’d know what happened! Haha!

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The morning after. Had way too much fun at the Love Dance party. Totally forgot to take decent photos.

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No trip to Iloilo is complete without a hot bowl of authentic La Paz Batchoy from Netong’s. It is located inside the La Paz Public Market. They opened their second branch at The Atria early last year but I still prefer going to their original branch.

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After that delicious lunch at Netong’s, we headed to the Madge Cafe–also located inside the La Paz Public Market.

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There’s a certain charm at this coffee shop. All their loyal customers gets to have their own personalized mug and keep it in the cafe. The “not-so-loyal” customers or tourists like me gets their coffee served in a tin can. It’s rather painful to drink but I’m down for the experience. Haha!

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We made a quick stop at the beautiful Angelicum School for a little sight-seeing and of course, shoot content for Instagram lol.

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Isn’t this place beautiful? We were supposed to go to Nelly’s Garden but they charged us 200 pesos each plus they need at least 5 people to visit. Haha!

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So many picturesque spots in this school!

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Ready for the Smart Invasion party! See the outfit post and complete list of brands here.

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Back at my hotel room and this view greeted me. Took another nap before going to the Invasion party. I  wish I took less naps and more time to actually explore Iloilo. Haha!

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Smart Prepaid ambassadors represent! Ready for the Smart Invasion party with the bros Miko, Kyle and Inno.

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Sick stage set-up! One of my favorite local DJs, NixDamnP, spinning at the Smart Invasion party!

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With Miko, Inno and Kyle. Thanks to our Ilonggo readers for giving us these cool recycled Dinagyang mask necklaces!

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Inno Naguit killing it!

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That’s Invasion for ya! Thank you Smart for throwing the best parties! I had the most awesome time.

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Last day in Iloilo. Tried my best to wake up before the breakfast closes. Such a smart move to have the restaurant on the 21st floor of the hotel. We got a gorgeous view of the city of Iloilo. Not ready to go home…

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We went down of the lobby of Injap Tower and the staff were painting each other’s faces. Haha! Sunday is really the day wherein the street parade takes place. We’re ready! Woot!

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The best decision Vina and I made was to go to the city proper and watch the Dinagyang Festivities! The ticket costs 500 pesos per person and we were lucky enough to stay on the first row! Got some pretty good shots with my #SmartiPhone6!

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I was really amazed with all the costumes, the smiles and the performances. I wish more tourists come to Iloilo to witness this beautiful festival! It’s worth it, I tell you! I’m definitely coming back next year!

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Our last meal in Iloilo was probably one of the best meals I’ve had in my life…I’m not even kidding. It was my first time to experience a boodle fight. A boodle fight is a military style of eating where long tables are prepared and food are on top of banana leaves (tastes best when you eat with your bare hands). We got the Kasadyahan Boodle Fight Feast and it has 1 chicken binakol sa buko (very interesting dish), 6 steamed crabs, 4 grilled liempo, 3 chicken inasal, 3 steamed talaba, 3 grilled squid, buttered shrimps, 1 sizzling squid sisig, 1 pancit canton, 1 bihon guisado, salted eggs, a veggie salad, 2 coke litro and 8 cups of rice. It’s good for 6-8 people and it costs only Php 1,588!  Make sure you try this at Pyt Stop, located at Burgos Street in La Paz!

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My weekend in one photo. Thank you Smart for flying me to Iloilo to experience Dinagyang Festival for the third time. I got to post tons of photos on Instagram and videos on Snapchat thanks to Smart’s fast and reliable service. Special thanks to the Injap Tower Hotel for making my stay in Iloilo a memorable one. Till the next Dinagyang Festival!

#SmartDinagyang | #SmartPhoneForAll | #SmartLife 

Photos taken using my #SmartiPhone6
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