This post is part of #CheapTrails series. More #CheapTrails stories here >>.
Last May 2015, my family went on an inter-island road trip in Western Visayas, Philippines. We started in Cebu then cross to Negros Occidental to Panay and back. In every town / city that we made an overnight stop, I tried to sneak in a quick run.
Running, for me, is always the best way to explore and experience a new place.
Running on Highland of Talisay, Negros Occidental: The Haciendera Feels”
Running in Talisay City, Negros Occidental: In Between Sugar Plantations & Business Park
Running in New Washington, Aklan: “Precious Moments”
Running in Boracay: Bloody Romantic
If the 10-day Western Visayas road trip was like a marathon, Iloilo was like the last 8K. You are too tired to enjoy the race, and just want to get over with the madness. So in this post, there’s really not much running especially that my foot was still in pain and bruised from the Boracay shi*tty incident (Read story here >>.).
I was really hoping to run to their famous Esplanade, but let me just reserve it for next time. But there’s one thing that cannot wait for the next time, not event a hurting foot can stop me — CAFE MADGE. It’s highly suggested by a Paolo Lim of Kapehan Ceferina (They sell coffee beans. If you want to start your coffee adventure, order their Sagada coffee beans.). Aside from running to different nooks and crooks in new places, I also love to coffee surf (like sampling coffee from one place to another).
Iloilo divided their city into 7 districts. Luckily, we stayed in the La Paz area. It’s the home of the famous batchoy, and Cafe Madge. We stayed in a boutique accommodation in La Paz, Casa La Granja. I love boutique hotels because of their quaint details. Like Casa La Granja has a lot of artworks. I later learned that the hotel belongs to a family of artists, and even the manager is also into arts.
In my early morning roaming around, I realized that Iloilo formatted or designed their districts into having a Plaza, church, and market nearby each other which then became the center. Each district has probably its own unique culture and it might be strongly felt in their Plaza vicinity. So I guess if you wanted to experience Iloilo City, it’s nice to take time in each center / Plaza of the district.
Iloilo has quite a charm that I cannot pinpoint. It’s like a booming city whose old culture tries to keep up. It’s like a girl who wanted to move to a big city but wants to bring all her old roots and tradition with it.
Either way, being an outsider, I could feel that there’s an effort from the people and government to put their tradition side-by-side with the sprouting of business parks.
Then I found what I was looking for inside the market – Cafe Madge. It’s not hard to spot it.
Definitely, it’s not overrated. Cafe Madge coffee has that distinct unique taste that I only experienced there. It’s not necessarily better than other coffees, but it has that certain taste which you can only find in there.
It was not really just about the coffee, but being surrounded feeling the vibrancy of the local people moving around with their daily lives inside the market. There’s just so much local “feels.” I mean if you’re the person who looks forward to getting a feel of the daily local people, it was there.
It really felt awkward taking photos of the place and the people because it’s not the usual coffee shop where people normally instagram their food or their faces. But I took the courage of asking the stranger who was sitting across me to take a photo of me.
TIP: It’s best to drink the coffee from their. Somehow, the coffee taste changed when “take out.” And, while you’re there, you might want to extend a little walk to Netong’s Batchoy. The first time that I tasted it 2 years ago, it’s the best batchoy the Cebuana in me had ever gulped down. (And, I hope they could maintain it for the years to come.)