ILOMOCA’s Timplada: Tickling Tastebuds with Ilonggo Cuisine The midpoint of culture and craftsmanship

Athena Christy L. Soledad

“Food is maybe the only universal thing that really has the power to bring everyone together.” -- Guy Fier

It is well-known that Ilonggos have a knack for curating unique and savory dishes from local ingredients, straight out of their backyard gardens. Paired with their impressive talents in arts and crafts, Ilonggos manage to impress not only the eyes of the beholders but also their rumbling stomachs. Inspired by the inventiveness and creativity of Ilonggos as shown in their food and art, the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art decided to use this as the catalyst for their next project, Timplada: The Art of Ilonggo Cuisine.


Timplada is a three-part project where Ilonggo culture, craft, and cuisine intertwine. It is organized by the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art (ILOMOCA) and headed by Ms. Janine Cabato in partnership with Megaworld Foundation and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. The project includes an Iloilo City food map, educational Livestream programs on the ILOMOCA Facebook page and Youtube Channel, and an art exhibition in ILOMOCA’s Hulot Gallery at Casa Emperador, Iloilo Business Park, that will run from October 1, 2021, to January 31, 2022.

Years ago, the Iloilo City Government was thinking of ways how to brand Iloilo City as a place of food and planned to push for the application to be a UNESCO Creative City for Gastronomy. With this in mind, the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art originally conceptualized Timplada last year as part of their application for the National Commission for Culture in the Arts Competitive Grant 2021.

City as a “cooking pot” of various interesting dishes and their origins. “We stretched ourselves to include the educational programs and the food map because we believe in supporting the application for LGUs UNESCO Creative City for Gastronomy,” Cabato said in expanding their project to include the food map and educational programs.

Instead of starting from scratch, ILOMOCA decided to collaborate with and improve the efforts of the Iloilo local government units to put Iloilo City on the pedestal as the home of numerous mouthwatering dishes that are deeply rooted in tradition and culture.


The art exhibit features popular and sentimental Ilonggo dishes reimagined into unique paintings, carvings, and other artistic crafts. With diverse mediums and perspectives, the artists serve top-tier Ilonggo dishes and snacks like batchoy, pancit molo, chicken inasal, KBL (Kadios, Baboy, Langka), laswa, tambo, bayebaye, ibus, batwan, and more.

“It was supposed to be based on their [the artists] personal choice of their favorite Ilonggo dish, most preferably something that is an heirloom dish,” Cabato explained.

She defined an heirloom dish as either a recipe passed on through generations within a family or something very familial and has a personal and sentimental value to them. This ties the Ilonggo dishes to the tradition and history of Ilonggo families, conceptualizing cuisine as not only a part of our culture but also a treasure to be passed down to worthy familial hands.

The educational live streams revolved around food preparation and the significance of cuisine in Ilonggo culture and included some activities to lighten the atmosphere and encourage interactive hands-on learning despite the pandemic. They cater to audiences from all walks of life and different parts of the world.

“We have no restrictions in terms of age when going to the art exhibit... for the Merienda Talks, our live streams, we have different activities,” Cabato explained. The online setup would further expand their reach as they put Iloilo City onto a national and global stage for its cuisine and heritage, and both are part of every Ilonggo’s identity.

“Art reveals who we are and who we long to be.” These powerful words by Edwin McManus reflect the beauty of Timplada and how it emphasizes the ties between Ilonggo cuisine, crafts, and culture. Should one wish to unearth the depths of Ilonggo cuisine or oneself, the Timplada exhibit will reflect its answer.

Published: April 25, 2022