Over a week ago you might had read that I was taking a break from blogging, and just went on posting on my social media accounts. I got an email from Cat from Globe to ask me to go around Iligan City, and share my wonderful adventure through social media. Here started my #WonderfulMindanao Challenge.

A break from blogging as I go around #Iligan to explore cool establishments, hang-out corners, food places &amazing spots#WonderfulMindaNow
— Lisa Marie Mirasol (@PinayTravelista)June 20, 2014

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It has been a week from when I took on the challenge to go around my hometown, Iligan City, to look for cool spots, interesting hang-outs, and best eats in the city that makes it a #WonderfulMindaNOW. So, if ever you find yourself in Iligan City, apart from the waterfalls, you might want to check these out.

Best Lechon in the Philippines

It is not a known fact but Iligan City has tastiest Lechon or the Roasted Pig in the country! You can ask anyone who have tried Iligan’s Lechon and some the the country’s best lechon areas. This is only fitting because Sukang Pinakurat, also the best vinegar produced by the country and best paired with lechon, also originated from Iligan. When some would dip their lechon slices on sauce, Iliganons prefers the spiced vinegar, and a heap serving of rice (and probably drain it with cold beer). Every Friday, and Saturday nights, streets are barricaded for the Weekend Night Market where people eat, and shop for cheap finds. What makes this night market unique is lined up Lechon stalls with freshly roasted lechon. My favorite, thus far, is the Spicy Lechon from Stall 72 at Iligan Weekend Night Market with their unpretentious Sili Labuyo rub.

One of a kind Pan de sal

Mornings at Iligan should be a visit at one of the oldest bread house in the city. Victoria Bakery’s Pan De Sal (Salt Bread) is one of the tastiest local Pan De Sal I’ve tried so far. Yes, it’s tastier than the famous Pan De Sal in the metro up North. They only bake these in the morning, and people would flood their counters for the daily morning consumption before it gets sold out in 2 hours or so.

Kinilaw or Sinuglaw

If Iliganons are known for something they are really good at, here’s a little secret, they can hold their drinks for as long as supply lasts. Yes, if you’ve stayed at Iligan City for quiet some time, you’d notice that they enjoy alcohol whatever time of the day. That is also why locals are good at making “pulutan” and why Iliganons has an acquired taste for Sinuglaw or Sugba-Kilaw. It is a marriage of both Sinugba (Grilled Pork), and Kinilaw (Raw Fish Salad). Marro’s Cocina did just that, they brought what people love on plates, and serve it at a restobar fitting for the Iliganon’s taste palette. Beside the tasty, and reasonably priced food they have the interiors, the ambiance of the place makes you not to want to go home yet.

Local bakery you should not miss

If you’re the type you wants to check out the local sweets, you might like to visit Tedt’s Diner. The unassuming, light, and unpretentious cupcakes from this artsy cupcake house is the one stop place for cupcake lovers. What I like about their cupcakes is that it is light, and the flavors are not overpowering for a cupcake. And for 25PhP you can get a pretty cupcake that will go well in either coffee, tea, or any drink preference.
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A huge grilled seafood serving

For seafood cravings, and anything grilled, you might want to head to Jacko’s Kan-Anan. They serve Seefood Bilao with my favorite Crispy Squid, and Grilled Tuna Belly! This one also goes well with Paksiw Tuna Buntot (Tuna Stewed in Vinegar) that seems to be quiet popular among the locals. Their food is lightly but well-seasoned, with fresh ingredients, and a touch of home-made cooking. Definitely a place where happy tummies should be at!

Coffee scene

You might find a couple of coffeeshops in the city, and each one may have it’s best blend. There’s this one coffee shop that uses Civet Coffee beans in all the their coffee blends at a cheaper price than you’d find somewhere else. Unlike fancy hotels, and coffee bars, the family behind Kopi Luwak Cafe are not only coffee lovers but civet coffee farmers as well. At 200PhP you’ll get a commonly prepared expresso civet coffee but a Kopi Luwak Cafe you’ll get a cup of it done in distillation process with a German Syphon.

A hometown secret

Sunburst Fried Chicken may have branches nationwide but only a few knows the humble origin of this all time favorite fried chicken. And yes, it’s proudly Iliganon since 1971! What else is there to say, but if you haven’t gone to Iligan, try Sunburst Fried Chicken, and maybe, just maybe you’ll book that ticket.

Local scene steal

My friends and I decided to take a walk, and check out Children’s Park when a reader suggested it. It is one of the “tambayans” or hang-out places where of students from the neighboring university, and schools frequent at. We ended up checking the food scene! This one store called Isnakan (green store at the end of the basketball court) was our stop because of the streetfood combo they had. If you want to check out the local streetfood scenes; find a place to play frisbee, tennis, or basketball; hang-out; or people watch, drop – definitely drop by here.

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Dining at a diner

We had a quick lunch that was a challenge to finish! Delecta, and their large serving sizes definitely is not good for one. It is one of those homegrown eats that originated from #IliganCity. Everyone who grew up in the 90’s remembers the homey Delecta Diner at one of the busiest streets of the city. Today it sports a simple, but modern approach in it’s interiors.They already have two branches in the city, and another one at Cagayan de Oro as of this writing.

Banoffee pie you want to take home

I ended my adventure by introducing you to Banoffee Pie from an all white cafe called Aruma Coffee Lounge. Every Iliganon would agree that we love to hangout and just eat – this is one of those places. This coffees hop is one of the first coffee shop that sprouted in the city. I like white interiors, how comfortable, and warm the ambiance is. It is also one of the places I’d drop by should I need a place to work, meet people, or just enjoy a cup of coffee and some sweets by myself. It was a fitting way to end my #WonderfulMindaNOW adventure! For tips about those places, also check out my Foursquare #WonderfulMindaNOW Iligan Guide.
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It was definitely a great way to get to know more about the city that makes it a truly wonderful Mindanao! I may have gained a few pounds, but bonding moments with friends, newly acquired taste for new eats from some of your suggestions, and having to share my adventure with you guys through social media networks with Globe’s GoUnli20Plus has made this experience awesome! You can avail unlimited calls to Globe & TM subscribers, 50 free text messages to all networks, and 20MB all day surfing for only 20PhP for 1 day. To register, text Go20Plus to 2665, and enjoy sharing your fun-filled, and wonderful day to your family, and friends through your social media channels!