Enjoyed your meal and want to let your friends know about this new restaurant you discovered? Sure, you could call them up, or tell them about it when you see them, but we wouldn’t be living in a social media-obsessed world if that were our first reaction, now would we? Enter looloo, an iOS app that lets you explore, review, and recommend different places around Metro Manila and, soon, throughout the Philippines.

Founded by Odell Ramirez, looloo was built because, as the About Us page puts it, the team “wanted a ridonkulously easy way to discover places you’ll love.”

“We built looloo for curious and adventurous Filipinos who love the experience of trying out places and finding new favorites along the way,” Peanut Dela Cruz, who handles product marketing for looloo, told e27.

“We really like the feeling of discovering a hidden gem. Think about that first meal at your favorite restaurant, that first massage at the spa you love, and how each of those times, you immediately said to yourself, ‘Holy moley! I’m so glad I found this place!’ We want you to experience this same feeling,” she said.

How did the app end up with the name “looloo”? Peanut shared that the team had already chosen the flag as the logo, and were brainstorming to come up with a name and description for the app.

“It was kind of a coincidence that on the whiteboard, we had the flag and the infinity sign (symbolizing the infinite number of places you can discover) ending up beside each other. Put together, it looked like ‘loo’ and from the symbols alone, it meant ‘discovering an infinite number of places’.

“We settled on ‘looloo’. It’s short, but not too short. And it’s easy to say and spell,” she said.

looloo reviewPeanut noted that since looloo exclusively focuses on the Philippines, it’s a good app for those who really want to discover the different places the country has to offer. Moreover, unlike the usual practice for location-based apps, the looloo team physically mapped places in Metro Manila themselves. Of course, the tradeoff to this is that it’s slower to add places and roll out to locations outside Metro Manila, but the advantage is that you can be assured of accuracy.

“Other apps depend on third-party sources for their data, which tend to have a lot of errors. So we built ours from the ground up. And we’re improving it every day,” Peanut said.

Community building, however, is what really differentiates looloo from other similar apps.

“Most review apps allow you to review a place and that’s it. Not us. When you review a place on looloo, you can include direct recommendations to your friends who are also on looloo. They’ll then get instantly notified and the place gets added to a list they can look at the next time they head out,” Peanut shared.

This community-based approach also encourages looloo users to participate and improve the quality of the content they create, by providing an editorial structure of sorts as well as incentives for submitting. These incentives include contests and other community activities aimed at making reviewing fun for users.

“Every time someone writes a review on looloo, we show them a question that gives them an idea of what to write about their visit. If they choose to give a place a 5-star rating, they’ll see ‘Why would others love this place?’ but if they give it just one star then the question will be ‘What could’ve made this visit better?’ We think this helps in encouraging people to elaborate on their experience with a particular place,” she said.

So, want to spread the word about that great place you discovered in Metro Manila? Let looloo do the talking!

looloo is free to download on iTunes

Image Credits: looloo.com/Screenshot taken using author’s iPhone 5