Milk Tea Shops in Iloilo You Probably Haven’t Tried Yet

The Local Travel Girl |

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With the surge in its popularity, milk tea or the boba was bound to have its own cult following and its own special day. Although no country has yet to formalize and dedicate a day for the sweet and tasty drink, it is still celebrated and lauded on by many.

April 30 is the day of the Boba. We love chugging that drink and Iloilo City has some of the best tasting and aesthetically pleasing places to enjoy your boba.

Boba, it's taken the world by storm. But what exactly is boba and what's with all the hype? Invented in the 80’s, Boba is a popular beverage that originates from Taiwan that is known for a combination of toppings and tea or non-tea mixtures. in fact it is so popular that according to an allied market research, the bubble tea market is projected to reach 4.3 billion USD by 202’7.


Although the true origin of the delicious drink is widely disputed, it has been commonly accepted that it first emerged in Taichung, Taiwan.

The story goes that Lui Han-Chieh, the owner of a tea house “Chun Shui Tang'' was inspired to serve cold tea after being served cold coffee in Japan. At the time, tea was almost always exclusively served hot. So it was a very novel idea to serve tea cooled down with ice and mix in a bit more variety of ingredients into the drink. The success was further boosted when his product manager Lin Hsui Hui had the curious yet fun idea of adding her assam tea to her fen yuan, a sweetened tapioca pudding dessert, resulting in the creation of what is now known as bubble tea. The tea soon quickly became a best selling item at the store and started spreading to the rest of the world, becoming a popular drink of choice to many individuals.


Did you know, the bubbles we’re referring to are not actually the tapioca pearls the drink is synonymous with, but rather referred to the bubbles that are formed at the surface of the drink when you mix and shake the drink.

Today, milk tea toppings and add-ons range from tapioca pearls, popping bobas, coffee jelly, taro pearls, and more! The boba has grown to be so popular that it has become a flavor of its own and inspired a variety of snacks ranging from milk tea flavored ice cream, milk tea flavored candy, and milk tea flavored cakes! There’s even an alcoholic version of the drink meaning there’s almost always a cup of boba for almost anyone on any occasion.

In this blog we’ll be running down the most innovative yet flavorful mixes, the simple yet aesthetically pleasing boba dispensaries, and the inconspicuous yet cozy milk tea places in Iloilo City.

I’m the local travel girl, and as my name implies I love to travel! And with traveling comes the dangers of overheating while on the road. Luckily Iloilo hosts a little over 50 milk tea shops littered all over the city. It’s been said that you can't walk a kilometer in the city in any direction without passing by a milk tea shop.

Let’s hit it off with one of the only shops I know that offers popping bobas!

1. Patootea Milktea Iloilo.

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Milk tea has reached a wide market, with roots based in Taiwan, slowly widening its reach all over southeast Asia, and now throughout the whole of the US. And with the expansion comes the diversity of the market and with that growth and innovation come center stage. Patootea MilkTea shop is the only locally owned milk tea shop I know that offers popping bobas. But what are popping bobas? Hear me out.

I lived in Manila for a few years and it was around the time the milk tea craze started in the Philippines. Manila was the first place I’ve ever tried popping bobas and after going back home to Iloilo, it took me another 5 years to experience them again. Popping bobas are special flavor filled bobas that explode tastiness in your mouth. The typical boba is soft, chewy, and fun to scavenge at the bottom of your cup using your straw, but with popping bobas you get an extra benefit of fun with a mouthful of flavor with every piece! Imagine having a cup of strawberry matcha boba milk tea, tasting the matcha then boom! A big flavor explosion of strawberries. Ah, delightful.

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“You dare approach the Patootea?”

Their must-tries are:

  • Deep Rose.

  • Thai Pink Milk Tea.

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They can be found in Grab and Food Panda. Locate on Google Maps Public commute: Molo Baluarte Iloilo City Jeepneys

2. Bean Counter Coffee Shop

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Iloilo city is a busy city, with all the businesses growing left and right, and with all the ganaps happening in the city it's easy to overlook a diamond in the pile of broken glass. The Bean Counter Coffee Shop might not be the most spacious milk tea shop in town but it is definitely in the list of the cozier ones. It’s only a block away from Carlos Bakeshop.

I work at night and that means I spend my mornings sleeping, my afternoons doing errands, and my evenings resting and some spending some me time or looking for a place to pause and recollect myself. I love going out and this place is one of my go to places when I want to take a step back from the monotony of working from home. They have a very accommodating staff, yummy milk teas, delish silog meals if you’re feeling unmotivated to cook at home, and a homey backyard/bohemian vibe setup at their alfresco area, which is so perfect when you want to have a sense of freedom, relaxation, and peace after being bombarded by backlogs and irate calls.

Homey comfort food must-tries:

  • Okinawa Milk Tea. (Right)

  • Oreo Milk Tea. (Left)

  • Bacsilog. (Bottom)

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They can be found in Grab and Food Panda.

Locate on Google Maps

Public commute: Jaro Plaza Mandurriao Jeepneys Alimodian Jaro Market Iloilo City Jeepneys

3. Tea-A-Boo

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Innovative flavor combinations, liter-sized drinks, and branches all over Iloilo, Guimaras, and even Bacolod? Amazing! This locally owned milk tea brand hits the top of my list when asked for milk tea shop recommendations. Drinking your boba isn’t just about sipping a cup, it’s an experience, it’s being in the moment, it’s a source of good vibes and positivity. And what better way to keep supplying yourself with the good vibes than to get them by the liter?

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Yes, that’s one thicc boi!

We talked to the owners of the brand and I was amazed to find out that their brand is roughly only 2 years old, it was a pandemic baby! What amazes me too is that not only is it a new brand, it’s also been able to dish out new exciting, and innovative flavors in the market and have been franchising its brand all over Guimaras, Bacolod, and Iloilo city and province.

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They currently have 12 branches with the newly opened 12th branch at Lemery going strong, serving up smiles, and have been happily and healthily maintaining their online following. We hope to visit their Guimaras branches in May during the Guimaras Mango Festival, so please do give us a like and a follow to get more updates with the new ganaps in and around the Western Visayas Island.

Their must-tries are: RL signature sandwich - ham, cheese, and veggies. (Bottom) Bandung - Singaporean rose milk tea, a personal favorite. (3rd from the left) Bobatella - Nutella chocolate cheesecake milk tea, a personal favorite. (2nd from the left) Krema de Presas - strawberry overload milk tea. (Left) Halo halo special milk tea - as the name applies a Halo halo inspired drink! (Right)

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You can visit their other branches:

They can be found in Grab and Food Panda.

Locate on Google Maps

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The Local Travel Girl

The Local Travel Girl is an Ilongga traveler who likes to visit local products and establishments. This personal blog was created to feature those different places, providing its audience with tips where to eat and hangout.