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Iconic Carinderia In Iloilo Fights Closure

Nora’s Eatery, an iconic carin­deria (informal eatery), which has been serving Filipino food for almost six decades now, struggles to stay open in Iloilo City’s heritage district. The establishment will be torn down to make way for an expansion project of a park outside Iloilo Customs House.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) Iloi­lo has given the small restaurant until the end of February to vacate the area out­side Aduana de Iloilo, as there are plans to further develop the newly opened Sunburst Park, a pet project of Ilonggo Senator Franklin Drilon.

Nora’s Eatery, photo courtesy of Kristian Peace Braquis.

Owner Susanita Galila sent letters to Cus­toms Commissioner Rey Guerrero and Drilon, appealing for the restaurant to stay at the 107-sq. m. lot owned by Customs.

The eatery is recognized as an Ilonggo culinary institution for its home cooking, dating back to the 1960s when Nora Palacios, Susan­ita’s aunt, established a mobile food stall near the old wharf. Since then, it has been the most popular food establishment within the Aduana building. In 1969, Nora’s Eat­ery was allowed by Customs to open shop at its current site.

Susanita Galila.

For more than 50 years, the carinderia has served Ilonggos from different social circles. It is a melting pot for construction workers, drivers, teachers, cops, soldiers, firemen, doc­tors, architects, engineers, reporters, politicians, business owners, and ba­likbayans.

Aduana de Iloilo (Iloilo Customs House).

People from other areas of Panay and Negros Islands have flocked the restaurant for its sinugba nga isda kag baboy (grilled fish and pork) and sinabaw nga isda (fish soup).

Some of the ulam offered in Nora’s Eatery, photo courtesy of Rhea Penaflor.

Susanita, who manages the place with her two sisters, continues to hope the government will reconsider. She also vowed Nora’s Eatery will cooperate with the government in the redevelop­ment plan.

There is an ongoing signature drive calling on people to help save the establishment.

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