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Aesthetic Hits from the Iloilo-Branded Cafes

) Katrina Gadong |

Festival season at the heart of the Visayas gives one an opportunity to not only join in the fun parties but also immerse in the cultures of each town. When in Iloilo for Dinagyang-related activities, perhaps you might want to drop by by these artfully-fashioned cafes exclusively in the area and take note of the design principles they incorporated and executed well.

Photo by Reymark Latoza

Cafe Panay
Location: G/F Festive Walk Parade, Iloilo Business Park, Airport Road, Mandurriao

What was initially a homegrown coffee and souvenir shop serving classic Ilonggo snacks has turned into a full-service restaurant offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner on their menu since 2017. Stepping foot inside their spot at the new crowd favorite of Festive Walk vicinity is like stepping into the terrace of a local heritage house, with the mezzanine made to like a balcony of wooden exteriors and capiz shells windows.

Photos by Living Innovations Design Unlimited

Cafe Iloilo
Locations: La Fiesta Hotel, M.H. del Pilar St., Molo & SM City Iloilo, Benigno Aquino Ave., Mandurriao

Catch a glimpse of Ilonggo culture and heritage not only through bites of the local dishes they offer but most especially through the chalk-like mural on the walls. While the La Fiesta Hotel branch has a more modern rustic vibe compared to the SM City Iloilo's touch of minimalist contemporary, both Cafe Iloilo restaurants feature the same intricate tile details and the eye-catching artwork that features landmarks and practices such as the Paraw Regatta, batchoy, Casa Real, Convention Center, Esplanade, Jaro Cathedral, San Jose Church, Dinagyang, and Santo Nino.

Photo by Cafe Ilonggo

Photo by Kate Biol

Madge Cafe
Locations: La Paz Public Market, Rizal cor. Huervana Sts., La Paz & Shops at Atria, Donato Pison Ave., Mandurriao

The taste of their proudly-Ilonggo coffee (at an affordable price!) may be in and of itself the star of this cafe but its humble beginnings still evident in their first branch tucked inside a public market with only plastic tables and stools, no air-conditioning, and no high-tech cash registry would be a close second in the list of reasons why people keep coming back at Madge. The coffee beans are locally sourced (either from the northern parts of Iloilo or from the neighboring province of Guimaras) and the brew is manually prepared using a culador (flannel sieve). Even with their new and updated branch located in the business district, a design element they kept is the shelves of mugs on the wall--where initially each ceramic cup is personalized with names of patrons.*