Iloilo City Rundown
Iloilo City is the capital of the Western Visayas, or Region VI of the Philippines. The heavily urbanised zone of Panay island and half of Negros island consists of six provinces and a prolific sixteen city divisions, of which Iloilo is the administrative centre. Iloilo is close, then, to the likes of Bacolod City in Negros Occidental, Cebu, the second city of the Philippines, and Tagbilaran City, Bohol. All in all, the city of half a million people is a major pulse point in the archipelago nation.
With attractive colonial architectural and wide promenades, Iloilo City is a dynamic hot spot in the Visayas. From baroque and neoclassical landmarks to beach resorts, the city plays host to a diverse line-up of tourist targets. The former “Textile Capital of the Philippines” serves up nonpareil relics of the colonial past, from the Customs House to Old Calle Real, the Museo Iloilo to Iloilo Central Public Market. In good Filipino fashion, a panoply of vibrant festivals dot the annual events calendar, from the venerable Feast of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria to the colourful Dinagyang Festival. Bulabog Putian National Park is a must for avid nature lovers. The small reserve is rich with vivid fauna and flora and acts as a perfect counterweight to the city’s profuse urban charms.
Iloilo City's Top 10
10. Iloilo Fish Market is a good place to people-watch and observe local life.
5. Iloilo Central Public Market is a wonderful network of handicraft and food stalls.
9. San Jose Church is a vital ecclesiastical landmark!
4. Old Calle Real is a fine heritage artery in the city
8. Cabatuan Church is a major neoclassical gem!
3. Customs House is a singular emblem of Iloilo City.
7. Old Capitol of Iloilo is a national historical site.
2. Bulabog Putian National Park unfurls some remarkable landscapes and caves.
6. Anhawan Beach is a prominent resort area.
1. Miagao Church is part of the “Baroque Churches of the Philippines” UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Iloilo City History
- Calle Real de Iloilo – Take a trip down memory lane as you walk along this strip of century-old buildings and establishments.
- Memorial Cemetery Museum – Houses firearms, submachine guns and mortars used in World War II.
- Fort San Pedro – The fort defended the Spaniards from the attacks of the Dutch, British, American and Japanese Troops.
- Molo District – It used to be the Chinese quarters during the colonial era and is home to many intellectual and political leaders.
- Visita Iglesia – The city is famous for its magnificent heritage churches.
Iloilo City Art & Culture
- Dinagyang Festival – This vibrant and vivacious celebration honours Santo Niño and the arrival of Malay settlers.
- Museo Iloilo – Here you can find collections from pre-historic Iloilo, plus the colonial era and modern art of Ilonggo artists.
- Magdalena Jalandoni Museum – Contains the fascinating creations of this first republic cultural awardee in literature.
- Rosenda Mejica Museum – Valuable memorabilia and Hiligaynon, Spanish and English literature can be spotted here.
- Jaro – Known as the “seat of Catholicism” in Western Visayas. It is where you can find the colonial houses of the sugar barons during the Spanish era.
Iloilo City Shopping
- Valeria-Delgado Food Strip – The place is dotted with restaurants and cafés that serve the freshest seafood, delectable Ilonggo cuisine and delicious coffee.
- La Paz Market – You can sample a scrumptious bowl of La Paz batchoy at either Ted’s or Deco’s. Enjoy a delicious cup of coffee at Madge Café.
- Deco’s Pasalubong Shop – A one-stop souvenir shop where you can find Ilonggo pastries, key chains, crafts and T-shirts.
- SM City Iloilo – The most popular mall in Iloilo City. You can find boutiques, restaurants and so much more.
- Robinson’s Place – If you want a less-crowded place to shop, this is the place to go.
Gay & Lesbian Iloilo City
- Paraiso Gay Bar – Men are clad in intricate masks and costumes and the show never stops.
- Smallville – A community of clubs, bars, cafés and restaurants. There is something for everyone.
- Mo2 Ice – The club is definitely packed especially on weekends.
- Aura – If you want something high-end, this place allows you to bump into a more upscale crowd.
- Rooftop Brewery – This unique Iloilo spot offers a wide array of both local and foreign beers.
Iloilo City Outdoor
- Tinagbauan Beach – This magnificent and picturesque beach basks in crystalline white waters.
- Bulabog Putian National Park – Go spelunking in numerous caves and then take a dive at Lake Bito.
- Villa Beach – This Iloilo City beach is lined with many restaurants that serve gastronomic feasts and the tastiest seafoods.
- La Paz plaza – Inarguably the most beautiful public park in the city.
- Nadsadjan Falls – The breathtaking site is located 39km south of the city.
Iloilo City Sport
- White-water river kayaking at Tibiao is not just for the adrenaline junkie.
- Experience Lambaklad fishing on the Malabor coast.
- Take a stroll or ride a bike along Riverside Boardwalk.
- Try skim boarding along Iloilo’s pristine beaches.
- Sail using a Paraw and stride the strait between the city and Guimaras Island.
Iloilo City Events
Feast of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria is a paramount civic holiday on February 2.
Paraw Regatta is a major 36.5 km maritime race and cultural festival held over one week in February.Dinagyang Festival is a venerable religious and cultural festival held in late January.
When To Go
Iloilo City has a tropical climate not atypical of the Philippines and Southeast Asia. The wet season moves in on the city from June to November, with relatively dry conditions the rest of the year.
Of the 80 in (2,032 mm) of rain to fall on Iloilo every year, a full 85% occurs over the six month monsoon season.
On the whole, temperatures waver between 73°F (23°C) to 90°F (32°C) for the year.
Iloilo International Airport is a vital hub on the island of Cebu. The airport serves 1.5 million passengers per year and destinations like Manila, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro and Davao.
The ferry is a vital mode of transport in Cebu and the Visayas. Countless operators flit from island to island and port to port.
Within Iloilo, taxis, jeepneys and tri-shaws populate city streets.
Iloilo City General Information
Iloilo City is a heavily urbanized area of 420,000 people in the Western Visayas of the Philippines. A metropolitan conurbation with the nearby island province of Guimaras, Iloilo City is also relatively close to Bacolod City in Negros Occidental and a short flight from both Cebu and Bohol.
Iloilo’s handsome architectural landscape and pedestrian-friendly promenades evince the fact that the city is the most dynamic in the Visayas, with the possible exception of Cebu City. What is now Iloilo was a settlement in the early days of the Spanish Colonial Period, from about 1566 on. First and foremost a defensive stronghold, Iloilo’s development grew two hundreds later with the advent of a lucrative fabric industry. Indeed, some still refer to Iloilo City today as the “Textile Capital of the Philippines”. While the moniker is no longer germane, visitors can witness impressive relics of the colonial past, from the Customs House to Old Calle Real, the Museo Iloilo to Iloilo Central Public Market. Myriad festivals populate Iloilo’s annual events calendar as well, from the venerable Feast of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria to the colourful Dinagyang Festival. Bulabog Putian National Park is a small but worthwhile day trip destination, profuse with vivid wildlife and tropical foliage. Visitors should also endeavour to sample traditional Iloilo cuisine, available at a host of fine city restaurants, and try the local nightlife on for size as well.
Attractions & Activities
- Iloilo City Customs House
- Old Calle Real
- Iloilo Central Public Market
- Iloilo Fish Market
- Vila Beach
- Chinese New Year
- Feast of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria
- Paraw Regatta
- Dinagyang Festival
- Bulabog Putian National Park
Restaurant & Nightlife
- Mang Inasal
- Kublai Khan’s
- The Mellow Mangrove
- Tijuana Restobar
- Salsa Sudada Bar & Restaurant
- La Terazza
- MO2 Bar and Restaurant
Iloilo City has a tropical climate, with a wet season from June to November and annual temperatures between 23°C and 33°C.