The Persistent Restaurants of Iloilo from Someone who Lives Under a Rock

By: Sean Gerard Angel Pijuan

Iloilo restaurants are flowers that grow beside the rock I live under. They bud on street sides and inside malls. Every time I go out, I see new ones sprout and stale and ones plucked out. The buzz around fresh restaurants does not always stay long.  Ilonggos love novelty, but this type of beauty only lasts like a song.

When I was younger, I always try to go to new restaurants. Today, there are too many of them. Iloilo is a flourishing garden. A lot of businessmen and women want to plant their future in its fertile soil. I believe that there are customers who can help restaurants grow by watering them with money. For me, restaurants are developing so fast that my money, time and attention could not catch up.

It was from my father-in-law that I first heard the phrase,” food business is good business”. The rhyme makes the expression sound fitting just like food, a basic human need, sounds fitting for business.  It is too fitting. In my opinion, this is a problem.

I remember when Starbucks first opened in Iloilo City, it got people lined up on the streets. Soon, another coffee shop opened and then another. When a certain type of restaurant opens and catches attention, other businesses shadow them. Some restaurants get innovative, they add amenities. There are now restaurants with bicycles, restaurants with books, restaurants with co-working spaces, restaurants with videoke bars, restaurants with car wash, and many more.

I go to restaurants mainly for three reasons, to celebrate the big moments, to meet friends and to avoid washing dishes at home. Restaurants save me from my daily routine. It is an expedient change of environment where money replaces responsibility. In my opinion, restaurants in Iloilo already have good food. This helps me focus only on the budget and the location. However, I admit that there are restaurants that have incredibly delicious food and spectacular service. Unfortunately, most of them are no longer doing business.

Iloilo City has grown enough to become a haven of business risks – I mean this in a good way. Planting your business in this city is worth the risk, especially for restaurants. I fail to highlight the fact that many restaurants were able to grow their roots deep enough in the golden soils. I don’t have to mention their names anymore as Google and Ilonggos know who they are.

My story is not about the thriving ones. It is about the bistros, the joints and the grills that never fail to surprise us with innovation and inventiveness. It is about the bars and diners that turn the old into new. All of which suddenly appeared and grew, and without warning, they were through.

I confess that I only based all this on observation. It pleases me to discover new restaurants growing around the garden I live in and I still hope to try them all. I am an Ilonggo that loves to try new things after all. With the variety of restaurants appearing around me, there will be no end to my appetite and curiosity. For me, the short-lived ones had the most zest.  Just like a song, they bloomed the greatest.

Innovation allows the restaurant industry in Iloilo to expand and as well as local merchants to explore with what they can offer for the market. Everyone can innovate, coming up with new ways of doing things in order to save time and money. This also serves as a competitive advantage to businesses, to grow and adapt in the market place.


With Innovate Iloilo’s goal in making the city and province of Iloilo an innovation hub by 2030, there are organizations and companies that serve the same goal. This year,  they will hold the

Iloilo Innovation Expo on October 21-25, 2019 at Iloilo Convention Center. FutureSmart, together with other invited organizations and companies, will take part in the said expo with the aim to equip businesses and LGUs in becoming future-ready.


Sean Gerard Angel Z. Pijuan is the Senior Quality Management Officer of Invictus Prime Holdings Corporation, a corporation that manages the consolidation and integration of operations within its companies:  Complete Logistic Control Inc., ZKO Group Distributors Inc., Philfast Global Forwarding Inc., Satellite GPS Tracking and Asset Management System Corp., and SCMIX Builders Inc.