|Relatives in Pototan, Iloilo.|
|Relatives in Pototan, Iloilo.|
Iloilo is a province of the Philippines located in the Western Visayas region. Iloilo occupies the southeast portion of Panay Island and is bordered by Antique to the west and Capiz to the north. It's capital is Iloilo City. People from Iloilo are called Ilonggos. There are two local languages spoken in the province: Hiligaynon sometimes called Ilonggo, and Kinaray-a. Hiligaynon and variants of it are spoken in Iloilo city and a few towns of the province. Spanish architecture can be seen in old buildings in downtown Iloilo. Chinese Merchants and Indonesians were trading with the Ilonggos long before the Spaniards came. The ruling Spanish government encouraged these foreign merchants to trade in Iloilo but they were not given privileges like ownership of land.You can still see the old buildings that surprisingly are European and American inspired such as stately mansions, majestic century-old churches, and heritage commercial buildings. The town fiesta is one of the most important events for Ilonggos. Almost every town (municipality) in Iloilo has a fiesta and festival celebrated annually.
Getting in to Iloilo is easy by a 1 hour plane from Manila to its new airport located at Cabatuan. Other options can ride buses (then through RORO) or shipping lines but via airplane is the fastest travel time. Iloilo Airport is new and has modern touches. The moment I stepped out of its jetway (they have jetways now before disembarkation is through stairs) you can feel an atmosphere of modernity and light-spacious ambiance. It is beautiful. And the landscapes of ornamental plants and manicured gardens are a plus to its modern look. There are baggage conveyor already which makes it easy for baggage claiming.
|The new Iloilo Airport.|
- Plaza Libertad (Iloilo City) - Where the flag of the First Philippine Republic was raised in triumph after Spain surrendered Iloilo, her last capital in the islands, to the revolutionaries led by Gen. Martin Delgado on December 25, 1898. Available transport – jeepney.
- Molo District - Called Parian in the old days. It was the Chinese quarters of La Villa de Arevalo; Athens of the Philippines. Has produced many intellectual and political leaders. Available transport - jeepney.
- Museo Iloilo (Bonifacio Drive, city proper) - Museo Iloilo is the first government sponsored museum outside Metro Manila. It is a great place to explore Iloilo’s history through its impressive collection of Iloilo’s cultural heritage
- Jaro Belfry - Ruined by a 1948 earthquake, but now restored. One of the few belfries in the country that stands apart from the church. Available transport – jeepney.
- Guimbal Watchtower - 29 km. southwest of Iloilo City proper; called "bantayan: built to warn the people of pirates. Available transport – jeepney.
- Old Buildings at Downtown Area (Downtown Iloilo) - J.M. Basa St. or Calle Real boasts of buildings that date back during the Spanish and American colonial periods. Available transport - jeepney.
- Sicogon Island - A 1,104 hectare white sand palm-fringed island gradually sloping down to some 350 feet beyond the shoreline; 5 km. from the town proper of Estancia, 137 km. northeast of Iloilo City. Isla de Gigantes - where 15th century burial caves are still found. One cave has a stone elephant and a natural swimming pool; 12 km. east of Estancia.
- Nadsadjan Falls - Located in Igbaras, 39.9 km. southwest of Iloilo City; a 100-foot high falls dropping on a giant cauldron-like natural swimming pool.
- Balbagon (Carles, Iloilo) - A flat, palm-fringed island with white sand near Gigante
- Concepcion's Islands - there are many island attractions of the municipality but the notables were Agho Island (Concepcion, Iloilo) - The home of Tabon birds that lay oversized eggs and Baliguian Island (Concepcion) - A coral reef rising only a few feet above sea level with its lighthouse and beach of white corals and shells. Contact local tourism office for more infos.
- Ajuy - see Marbuena Island Resort and a lighthouse in Calabazas Island. Enjoy its white sand beaches and azure waters to swim. Island hopping to the islands are available for arrangement.
|Miag-ao Church - a UNESCO World Heritage Site.|
|Calle Real in Iloilo City downtown.|
If Cebu is known for its Sinulog Festival, then Iloilo is popular for its Dinagyang Festival. The Dinagyang is a religious and cultural festival held on the fourth Sunday of January, or right after the Sinulog In Cebu and the Ati-Atihan in Aklan. It is held both to honor the Santo Niño and to celebrate the arrival on Panay of Malay settlers and the subsequent selling of the island to them by the Atis. Various festivals in different Iloilo municapalities are held in various dates making Iloilo known also for its festivals. Recently, Paraw Regatta Festival is gaining attention. The festival centers mainly among seafarers race on colorful sailboatsa called Paraw in the straits between Guimaras and Iloilo City.
|Paraw Regatta Festival.|
|Batchoy - a favorite dish in Iloilo.|
|Butterscotch - Iloilo's yummy treat.|
I had a chance to visit Guimaras on my trip to Iloilo in 1998 but it was only a brief period with my Ilongga grandmother. I heard that Guimaras is famous for its resort beaches and mangoes - the best produced in the country. The island once dependent to Iloilo is now a separate province and famous for sidetrips when visiting Iloilo. If given a chance, I would like to visit this place again and explore it islands.
I do hope that in the near future, I'll be able to explore the wonders of Iloilo for I know that it has greats sites to discover for every visitors. It hidden gems are just waiting to be discovered.
Explore Iloilo and the rest of Panay Island by visiting Explore Iloilo.