As the borders open and the restrictions on traveling loosen, we get to discover more places once again. For our first trip outside Luzon this 2022, we found our way to the heart of the Philippine archipelago, Iloilo City. Did you know that the name of Iloilo was derived from the shape of the city? The city forms two nose-like shapes cut by the river. This is only one of the few interesting facts we learned from our recent trip.
Also known as “The City of Love,” “The City of Firsts,” and “The Queen’s Favored City in the South,” we were able to explore the rich history of Iloilo and understand why it is loved and treasured by many.
Jetsetters and leisure travelers know so well it is important to find the perfect location to stay in when traveling. For our stay, we settled in downtown Iloilo City which is very accessible to the spots in the city rich in history and stories. For this listicle, we rounded up the must-see places in Iloilo for everyone to experience and, maybe just like us, fall in love with.
1. Camiña Balay Nga Bato
A monument built in the 1860s, this heritage spot is a place you cannot pass on. You can book a heritage tour of the place and listen to the history of how it was built and how it stood the test of time. From the “almacen,” grand staircase, the original interiors, rooms, and sculptures, the panorama will truly take you to the timeline of the heritage house.
Location: Camiña Balay Nga Bata is located in Villa Arevalo District, Iloilo City, Iloilo.
2. Miag-ao Church
There are a lot of churches to visit in Iloilo but one very notable site in the province is Miag-ao Church. A UNESCO World Heritage site completed in the 1790s, this Baroque Romanesque-style church is magnificent to say the least. Built with bricks, eggs, corals, and limestones through forced labor under the supervision of Fray Francisco Gonzales, the church’s foundation is six meters deep and its walls 1.5 meters wide. The façade of the church features bas-relief, two belfries, which served as watchtowers during the war, and designed with visuals of St. Christopher, St. Thomas of Villanueva, St. Henry of Bavaria, Pope Pius VI, and prominent flora and fauna during that time.
Location: Zulueta Ave, Miagao, Iloilo
3. Pangabuhian Weaving and Fiber Processing Center
A few minutes away from Miag-ao church, you can find a cooperative centering in Hablon, which is a textile made of local fibers like pinya, abaca, jusi, and cotton. Fabric production is one of the municipality’s biggest providers of livelihood and this cooperative has also been a part of many travelers’ itineraries. Local weavers can be found in the process of making the textile which are turned into “Patadyong” (a pre-Hispanic loose skirt), scarves, bags, face masks, and others.
Aside from wearable pieces, the textile can also be turned into home accents like table runners, throws in bedding, and the living room displays visually transforming spaces with its vibrant and striking details.
Location: Brgy. Indag-an, Miagao, 5023 Iloilo
4. Citadines Amigo Iloilo
Comfort, safety, and the famous Ilonggo treatment, this is what this property promises. Located in downtown Iloilo City, this first and only serviced “apart’hotel” in the city is perfect for business and leisure travelers who are looking into staying in a property that gives the feel of being in one’s own element. From local scenes where you can find the place’s famous delicacies like the La Paz Batchoy and Pancit Molo, historical landmarks from Hispanic times, local markets for pasalubongs, to everyday essentials like malls, supermarkets, banks, and the likes, this property is one of the top spaces to consider when you stay in Iloilo City.
Aside from the accessibility, Citadines Amigo Iloilo (CAI), which is under real estate giant CapitaLand and its subsidiary The Ascott Limited Philippines, is complete with amenities like pool, fitness center, and launderette. The property is also pet-friendly so you don’t have to worry about leaving your fur babies behind when you travel.
Location: Iznart St, Iloilo City Proper, Iloilo City, Iloilo.
5. The Molo Mansion
Also known as Yusay-Consing mansion, this grand structure was built in the 1920s by one of the most influential families in the Molo district, the Lacson-Yusay family. Later on, the mansion was occupied by Iloilo governor Timoteo Consing Sr. who hosted Philippine Presidents Manuel L. Quezon and Sergio Osmena during their trips to the city.
After years of neglect and ruin, the mansion has been bought and renovated to its former glory by the SM group. Now, the mansion boasts its original Neoclassical balustrade with graceful arches and serves as a tourist spot with a cafe and souvenir shop available within the premises.
Location: Locsin St, Molo, Iloilo City
6. Iloilo River Esplanade
If you prefer to go for a walk, a run, or bike with a view, this esplanade is a perfect spot. Boasting almost 10 kilometers in length, the esplanade (formerly known as Trenas Boulevard) traverses five Iloilo city districts: Molo, Mandurriao, La Paz, Lapuz, and the city proper.
Just like the city as a whole, the esplanade is clean and pristine. This site primarily caters to pedestrians perfect for exercising, dating, and other leisure activities. As the bike capital of the Philippines, the Iloilo River Esplanade also serves a lot of bikers in form of transportation, leisure, and hobby purposes featuring bike lanes and ramps for exhibitions.
Location: Stretches from Carpenter’s Bridge in Mandurriao to Muelle Loney Bridge in Iloilo city Proper.