Iloilo: The Haven Gateway in Western Visayas
Iloilo City is the economic center of the Western Visayas Region in the Philippines and is also the capital of Iloilo Province. It has a busy international airport that connects the city to major destinations in the country and the rest of the world. The city's fish port complex is just as busy with millions of kilograms of fish shipped in and out yearly. Iloilo City also has a strong banking industry with different sizes of banks operating.
The place has enjoyed a growing economy even before the Spanish came to colonize the territory. It once had a strong textile industry sometime in the 18th century. After that, the city's sugar industry gained strength. Even after World War II and its accompanying devastation, Iloilo City was able to regain economic strength at a moderate pace.
The weather here is pretty much the same with most of the country. The best time of the year to visit Iloilo City is from October to May, which are the dry months. The months from June to September are within the season for tropical rains. Many of the attractions here display the city's historical heritage while others showcase the natural beauty that abounds in the place.
Iloilo City Attractions
The following are some of Iloilo City's historical attractions. Plaza Libertad was the flag-raising site when the city was surrendered to the First Philippine Republic in 1898. The Panay Liberation Marker was erected to commemorate the liberation from Japanese rule in 1945. Other historical attractions of the city include a host of buildings that date back to the Spanish and American colonial eras. Some of these are Tigbauan Church, which was erected in 1592, and San Joaquin Church.
Natural attractions here will become fascinating havens for wandering souls. You may want to visit the palm-fringed white sands of Sicogon Island. There are several waterfalls that are worth hunting for like the San Juan Falls, which is a series of waterfalls surrounded by lush foliage, that is just around six kilometers from the town of Sara. Other natural attractions here include Mount Napulac, Isla De Gigantes, and Tinagong Dagat.
Yet another reason to visit Iloilo City are the many wonderful festivals that are celebrated year round. January nights are made bright in blazing displays during the annual fireworks contest. Colorful parades and street dancing are major highlights during the city's Ati-atihan Festival. If you would love to see bullfights then come over to the Pasungay Festival in January. Water buffaloes will make you eat their dust as you watch the Carabao-Carroza Race in May.
Where to Eat in Iloilo City
The people of Iloilo City are renowned for their cooking. A very huge favorite among the many delicacies here is the ever-famous La Paz Batchoy. Restaurants in the city will most likely have this in their menu. This dish will usually cost around P50 to P60. The best of Filipino delicacies are served in restaurants like Deco's La Paz Batchoy, Afrique's Restaurant, and Barrio Inasal.
Other restaurants in the city of note are Breakthrough Seafood and Restaurant in Santo Niño Norte, Mansion Garden Restaurant in 6 P. Gomez Street, Krua Thai Restaurant in Smallville Business Center, Mang Inasal Restaurant on Valeria Street, Tatoy's Manokan and Seafood in Santo Niño Sur, and the South Park Grill in Barangay Nanga.
However, if you crave for other cuisine then two places in the city that will definitely have what you're looking for are the malls. SM Iloilo and Robinsons Place house many restaurants that serve various dishes and flavors. You'll most likely find fast food stalls and restaurants here as well.
Accommodations in Iloilo City
There are some first class hotels in Iloilo City for visitors to choose from. Some hotels of this class are Hotel del Rio on M. H. Del Pilar Street, which is only 10 minutes away from the downtown area, Amigo Terrace Hotel at the corner of Iznart and Delgado, and the Sarabia Manor Hotel in 101 General Luna Street. Rates for in these hotels start around P1,000 or about $23 to $30.
If you prefer to stay in standard class and mid-range hotels then you'll find a lot of those here in Iloilo City. Some probable choices are Days Hotel, Four Seasons Hotel, Iloilo Grand Hotel, Grand Dame Hotel, and Iloilo Business Hotel.
Being the economic hub of the Western Visayas Region of the Philippines, Iloilo has its fair share of visitors coming not only for business but for its many sights and scenes. Be sure to sample the Iloilo cuisine to get a lasting impression of fine Filipino flavors.
A province in Western Visayas is blended with different cultural heritage, languages, getaway vacation spree with unique scenic spots that are lavishly enjoyed by tourists and locals.
This is the province of Iloilo considered to be the haven gateway in Western Visayas owing to its beauty in culture, delicacies and colorful festivals. The locals of Iloilo are proudly called as Ilonggos. They speak two kinds of local dialects namely Ilonggo and Kinaray-a. The former is usually spoken by people living in the city while the latter is spoken by those living outside the city.
Spanish architectural structures are widely seen across the province showing the intricate Spanish homes that marked the long term stay of the Spanish government and its influence on Iloilo’s trading market with China and India.
It is remarkable to find that most business entrepreneurs in Iloilo comprise of Chinese families or a mixture of Chinese-Filipino bloodline. Known for its town fiesta celebration, Iloilo has become one of the tourist attractions of the Philippines.
The most popular of all fiestas in Iloilo is the Dinagyang Festival which becomes a major annual celebration in Iloilo province. People from nearby towns, faraway provinces and even tourists flock to witness the colorful street dancing and dance festival that showcase the ancestral history of Iloilo abounding the Dinagyang Festival.
Dinagyang festival is one among the favorite events in the province that depicts Iloilo’s rich culture through merry making, food festivals and cultural presentation in honor of its patron Señor Sto. Niño.
Watching the Paraw Regatta Festival can be a delightful sight to watch as sea farers race on colorful sailboats called Paraws along the straits of Guimaras Island and Iloilo city. Other fiestas celebrated in Iloilo include its religious fiesta of Candelaria where devotees from other provinces travel to go to Iloilo to hear the mass offered at the Candelaria Church.
Iloilo City is also rich in tourist destinations and one among the favorites include the 100 feet high Nadsadjan Falls famous for its cool Prussians blue waters that attract tourists. The falls spews water into the cauldron-like giant swimming pool.
Moreover, Iloilo city is also a stop over destination among tourists to the different beaches along the province. It is also a 4 hour drive away from the world famous beach – Boracay. Most tourists make a point of stopping over Iloilo City when going to various destinations and try out their special delicacies of sumptuous Lapaz batchoy, pork and chicken inasal.
A visit at Iloilo province is a worthwhile tourist destination where night life brings out a lively city among its people and tourists visiting the place. Iloilo is truly a remarkable place in Western Visayas that is worth a visit.