December 2007

Redirected from the official website of the ILOILO CITY government:


Land Area : 56 sq. km (2004)
No. of Barangays: 180 (As of September 2003)
No. of Districts: 6
(As of September 2003)
Total Population: 365,820 (As of May 1,2000 census)
Population Growth Rates: 1.93 (1995-2000)

Income Class: First
Consumer Price Index (2000=100):  129.1 (2004)
Inflation Rate: 7.7 (2004)
Average Family Income: 283,604 (2000)
No. of Elementary Schools:
     Public:   52 (SY 2003-2004)
     Private:  29 (SY 2003-2004)
No. of Secondary Schools:
     Public :  14 (SY 2003-2004)
     Private:  15 (SY 2003-2004)

No. of Tertiary Schools: 30 (SY 2003-2004)
No. of Health Centers: 7 (2003)
No. of Barangay Health Stations: 44 (2003)
No. of Motor Vehicles Registered: 49,408 (2004)


By Avril Gamboa

Joy R. Sumagaysay says:  Tonight, as I went through old files, I came across several research papers of my students way back in 2003.  One of these is on the Bacolod chicken inasal by Avril Gamboa.  With many queries on the chicken inasal, this first hand info from a true-blue Bacolodnon will be surely be appreciated.  Though this research was done four years ago, Avril’s discovery regarding the inasal’s history in Bacolod is timeless.  Thank you Avril.    Now its time to share it with the world.  

Bacolod City has always been a pride of the province of Negros Occidental.  Located at the middle of the Philippine archipelago, it is known as “The City of Smiles.”  It has also been the “Sugarbowl of the Philipines”  with its abundant sugar produce during the 70s till the early 80s.  Bacolod  is also known as a bountiful city of food, history and culture.

The piaya (made of muscovado sugar, flour, butter and sesame seeds) and the kalamay-hati in a coconut shell (rice flour, sugar and gata cooked to an ultra-thick consistency) are two extraordinary specialties of my town, Bacolod City. 

But what I’m so excited about my hometown is the all-time favorite of all smiling people, the so-delicous Bacolod chicken inasal.  I always look forward to a weekend having my good and yummy meal of chicken inasal and rice. 

Perhaps other cultures have long been preparing chicken barbeque long before Bacolenos did.  But what makes Bacolod chicken inasal special?  It’s the marinade consisting of Sprite, lemon grass, calamansi, garlic and soy sauce which gave the identity to the chicken barbeque of Bacolod.   The history.   The concept of Bacolod chicken inasal first started with small food kiosks at the old Post Office building where the Po’s Marketing stands at present.  It is situated at Araneta Street, right at the heart of Bacolod’s downtown.  The inasal was made of native chicken or what we call as bisaya.  The traditional way of having the chicken inasal is eating it as a sumsuman or appetizer, to go along with a couple of beers.  (I don’t know exactly if inasal is a Spanish term or simply a Negrense term for barbeque.)Later, support from politicians came in to further the growth of the Bacolod chicken inasal as a profitable business venture in town.  In 1972, the inasal kiosks were transferred to Cuadra St., beside the Bacolod State Cinema.  At around this time, the inasal vendors  shifted to “45 days” chicken or the white leghorn variety.   Because of Mayor Dizon and Mr. John Orola ‘s help, the chicken inasal as a food industry flourished.  It was during this time that the Manokan Country was established.  One of the pioneering inasal kiosks was Sabel Chicken BBQ.  The grandchildren who took over the business  changed the name to NENA’s. 

During the 1990’s, because of the bogging down of the sugar industry, Bacolod was in crisis.  Such collapse caused a fluctuation in both big and small businesses in the province.  The Manokan industry was not spared.  Aside from the collapse of the sugar industry, the coming in of fastfood chains like McDonald’s, Jollibee, Snackee and others posed a threat to the Manokan country.  Still, the Manokan country was able to sustain itself, having established itself as a Bacolodnon food tradition.

I always look forward to going home to Bacolod, not only because that  is where my heart is but also because of Bacolod’s chicken inasal, a symbol of my Negrense culture.

By Helen Grace Fernandez*   bingkahan.jpg    

            A chimney in Iloilo? I used to think that chimneys were only found in the States where houses had fireplaces to keep its residents warm. When I was seven years old, I was amazed to see a real chimney in Iloilo in the place called Mohon, a barangay at the border of Iloilo City and Oton. I saw a chimney made of bricks, puffing out white smoke. When I asked my mom about it, there I knew that it was a pugon, a traditional brick oven making bibingka (bingka in Hiligaynon).

            The image of that brick bibingka oven in Mohon stuck in my mind. As I grew older, I saw another kind of bibingka appliance placed on bamboo tables. These firewood-fed portable tin ovens were usually set up in churchyards during Sundays. This made me wonder about that Bingkahan in Mohon with its remarkable chimney. Becoming even more curious, I decided to research about it.

            I have found out that the Bingkahan sa Mohon is a business of Felicidad C. Animas. She started to make her now famous bibingkas in the 1950s. This business of hers has been able to support her family through the years.

            Currently, Felicidad’s son, Noel manages the business. As his strategy for promoting their native rice cake, he occasionally sells at the plazas of Sta. Barbara and Molo. Several years ago, he rented a place in Casa Plaza, a building at Iloilo City’s business district to market his product, but due to high overhead costs, he gave up the place and returned to Mohon.

            As I interviewed Noel, there I knew that he is a conservative type of businessman. It really did not matter to him whether they operated regularly or not. He is contented with his business’ performance, even though it does not generate much profit. Although Noel takes only minor risks, the responsibility of continuing the family legacy of making this special bibingka encouraged him to continue the business. The 50-year old bingkahan is already a Mohon icon. When people think of Mohon, they think of the Bingkahan.

            Unlike other bibingkas in Iloilo, the Mohon bibingka is stickier and contains a lot of shredded coconut. This dainty bibingka has a distinctive sweet and milky taste. Pilit (glutinous rice), bugas (regular rice), margarine, white sugar and buko (shredded young coconut) are the only ingredients used. Surprisingly, it does not even contain gata (coconut milk), a basic ingredient of other bibingkas.

            Sugar, margarine and buko are placed in an empty bowl, to which the ground bugas and pilit are added. All these ingredients are thoroughly mixed with a ladle. Three tablespoons of the mixture is then placed in individual banana-laid molders made of recycled milk cans. The bibingkas are now ready to be baked in that familiar brick oven.

After fifteen to twenty minutes, the hot bibingka is drawn out of the oven and placed in brown paper bags.dsc01682.JPG

            This is how the bibingka of Mohon is made. The secret to its exceptional taste lies in the manner of its preparation, the choice of its ingredients and the use of traditional technology. It possesses a delectable flavor that reflects the taste of the old days when people really made time for cooking and never compromised on quality.

            Twelve years have passed since the first time I saw that chimney. Awed by the white smoke arising from that brick pugon, I was motivated to learn more about it. Researching about the Bingkahan sa Mohon made me realize its significance as a legacy of the Animas family not just for themselves but for the entire community. This Bingkahan is not just a business, it is Mohon’s pride.


 * Helen Grace Fernandez of Mohon, Oton is a College of Management student at UPVisayas.    


Hi everyone.  If the search engines have led you to this page or if you’ve visited this site more than once, Inday Hami informs you that ILOVEILOILO has just gotten a bigger house.  We are now at . with WordPress still as our reliable friend.  Don’t worry, all the blog entries and the photos here have been transferred to our new address.   Now at AN Hosting, we will continue to share with you more interesting features on Iloilo’s rich heritage–its culture, people and the arts especially its food.