The food industry in Cebu is fast evolving and coming up with something unique is a must if you want your business to flourish. That’s when Sugbo Mercado comes in. It provides an avenue for small businesses, like start-ups, to test their models and ideas, and offer them straight to the curious Cebuano public.
Isla Ora, which is sort of a Bisaya-Español mix for Island Time that transpired from the culture and lifestyle of the beautiful people in Bantayan Island, started out as a food stall in Sugbo Mercado. The hard-to-please Cebuano consumers have since embraced their nature-friendly ideas that is one-of-a-kind, and the rest is history.
Literally a hidden gem, Isla Ora is situated in a peaceful neighborhood in the Mabolo area. Known for its rustic charm, you can immediately feel the island vibe as you enter the vicinity and get lost in the island music. The owners’ green and healthy living have echoed to the restaurant, as shown on the bamboo byproducts and native materials that they use. From the tables and chairs down to the plates and cups, they are all made out of bamboo. They are crafted by the skillful hands of the Bantayan Island locals. Their pizza stand is made out of an 80-foot container van, the first in Cebu, if I’m not mistaken.
Another interesting scenery here is the mural made by a talented Cebuana artist. It depicts people’s carefree living in the Island of Bantayan.
The pizzas at Isla Ora are mouth-watering, made out of fresh ingredients. During our visit, we had the All-Meat Pizza, the Margherita Pizza, and the house specialty, the Bantayan Island Crab Pizza. If you’re up for something unique and buzz-worthy, go for their Bantayan Island Crab Pizza. It’s second to none, perfect paired with the local craft beers that is also being offered here.
My personal favorite is the Margherita. It has a distinct taste of fresh basil that really awakens your taste buds. A touch of parmesan cheese and extra virgin olive oil completes the dish.
Aside from their really good Moringa (also known as malunggay) with Calamansi and Homemade Sweet Tea juices (included in every pizza purchase), they have fresh-brewed coffee and locally-craft beers. Their coffee is sourced from the Monkey Co Coffee, while their craft beers are from The Cebruery and Turning Wheels, both a must-try. I have tried their beers namely the Dumaguete Dubble, People Power Pale and Las Islas Pilipinas Ale. I am not much of a beer drinker, but the Dumaguete Dubble is definitely a ringer.
Soft drinks or soda is not in the menu yet, but the owners are looking out for locally-made sodas that’s more healthy-inclined, as it is what they’re always after here. Talk about #IslaOraLifestyle!
Their pizza is so damn good (pardon me for the French)! Their craft beers are worth the try. The ambiance, you can’t find anything like it. The owners are very accommodating, and not to mention, they have a great set of friendly and highly-trained staff as well.
If you wish to know how to get here or, better yet, contact them for reservations, here are the particulars:
Location: 54 Pres. Roxas Street, Villa Aurora, Kasambagan, Cebu City
Contact: +63 32 415 5136
Facebook: Isla Ora Pizza Co
- Most of the staff at Isla Ora are from Bantayan Island.
- They are sourcing out their supply locally.
- The owners of Isla Ora are volunteers at YPDR.
- Isla Ora was born as a means to support their disaster response advocacy.