12 Years Strong: Celebrating the Old Iloilo Facebook Group


As part of the 123rd Semana sang Iloilo and the 12th anniversary of the Old Iloilo Facebook Group, ‘PA-AMBIT’ offered a captivating afternoon of short talks exploring the vibrant tapestry of Iloilo’s history and culture.

With a thriving community of over 57,000 members (and counting!), the Old Iloilo Facebook Group hosted a diverse gathering for “PA-AMBIT.” Ilonggos from all walks of life – students, professionals, history and culture buffs, bloggers, government officials, and private citizens alike – came together to celebrate their heritage.

The event fostered a spirit of community with a “Timo-Timo” table. Participants generously brought dishes to share, creating a delightful spread of local favorites. From classic bingka and serafina to savory fishballs and lumpia, and from the sweet crunch of botong-botong to the delicate layers of barquillos, the variety was a testament to Iloilo’s rich culinary heritage. The Iloilo Provincial Government also contributed to the bounty with sponsored snacks.

The PA-AMBIT talks kicked off with a heartfelt introduction by co-founder Tara Illenberger. She shared the group’s whimsical origins, born from a documentary dream (still in the making!) and a playful mission to unearth hidden treasures (“tinago”) from old family (“bauls”) chests. Capitalizing on the rise of Facebook and social media, the Old Iloilo Facebook Group has blossomed into a vibrant online community. To celebrate their 12th year, a dedicated team of cultural workers, volunteers, sponsors, and friends came together to make this landmark event a reality.

Setting the stage for the afternoon’s exploration, keynote speaker Eugene Jamerlan offered a fascinating glimpse into his work. Since the 1990s, he’s been instrumental in writing and producing publications on Iloilo’s food and heritage, many of which have become cherished collector’s items.

Capturing Iloilo | Nereo Cahilig Lujan

Native Flora Heritage | Ralph Perez

Blending Heritage & Modernity in the City | Vic Salas

Ano Ang May Ara Sa “Batid”? | Marie Joy Rosal

Handumanan | Do Doy Setubal

Adaptive Reuse | Maria Luisa Saludes

Life in a ‘Balay Daku’ | AC Montinola Jaen

73 Years of Making Barquillos | Julieta Hinolan Mempin

Separating the three speaker sessions were lively Q&A portions and musical interludes by Ilonggo artists Tom Falconite and Angelkym Acusta.


Sheila is a digital marketing enthusiast. She is a kdrama fan, a dog person and a certified foodie!

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