I am proudly raised by two parents from Iloilo City, Philippines. Though I was born in Manila, have resided in other countries, and am currently based in Singapore, a greater part of my growing up years were in Iloilo City. This beautiful city has always had a special place in my heart.
Recently, my family and I came home to Iloilo City to visit our families and relatives and to reintroduce our kids to the beauty of our city. My husband is also an Ilonggo. There are a lot of nice hotels in Iloilo now and we got accommodations at Richmonde Hotel for a couple of days because our room at my husband’s parents’ house was under a few renovations. It was our first time staying there and it was a very comfortable experience.
I am amazed at the wonderful improvements in my hometown. I can’t help but sing praises about Iloilo City and I want to encourage my friends who have never been to our province to come and visit. I have gathered 5 reasons why they should visit Iloilo City (though I can give more than 5 actually.)
1. A hub of endless food establishments for every palate
Ilonggos are food-lovers and are great cooks. They appreciate a good huge meal shared with family and friends. Iloilo is currently booming with new infrastructures and food places that would cater to different types of taste buds. You will get to enjoy a lot of delicious food in Iloilo City and would make you learn to say, “Namit gd” which means very delicious.
If you are in Iloilo, you have to try these various kinds of food:
– Batchoy at Ted’s, Deco’s or Netong’s
– Seafoods at Breakthrough
– Lechon Manok (Chicken) and Lechon Baboy (Roasted Pig) at Tatoy’s
– Adobado at Joy-Joy’s
– KBL and Leche Flan De Tocino at Ang Kamalig
– French Toast, Querida Burger & Pulled Pork Sandwich at Dova
– Pancit Molo
Be sure to bring home some biscocho at Biscocho Haus or get some Rgies’ butterscotch. You can enjoy the classic kapeng barako (native coffee) at the quaint coffee shop at Madge Cafe at Atria.
2. It has a wonderful mix of urban and rural atmosphere
I love the vibe of the city. It is a perfect mix of the urbanization of the city from its never-ending options of cool hang-outs, hipster cafes and classy restaurants that is at par with the metropolitan Manila as well as the laid-back carefree vibe & simplicity of a small province.
You can check out Atria Park, Megaworld or Smallville for a night of food & drinks. You can also do a bit of walking at Esplanade in a breezy late afternoon.
Everything is a few minutes away. You can be in the hub of city activities then 45 minutes away from beaches and nature.
I suggest you go to:
– Damires Hills to zip line
– Climb the 456 steps leading to the Divine Mercy Farm at Garin Farm
– Swim in the infinity pool at Bearland Resort
– Check out the mini zoo in Racsos Resort
– Check out the horses at Casa Fiametta
– Stroll the beach or take nap in the hammock at Sol Y Mar
3. The preservation of the Spanish architecture and beautiful churches
Iloilo City’s Spanish influence are very visible still by carefully maintaining the old Spanish houses in the city as well as the beautiful churches. It is like travelling back in time when visiting the ancestral houses. During holy week, it is a great way to visit the different churches made of durable bricks and stones. Miagao Church was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.
Other places to visit are:
– reserve an afternoon at Balay na Bato for a tour of the house and you get to enjoy classic hot chocolate (tablea) and a bowl of pancit molo
– take lots of jump shots in front of Nelly Garden White House
– check out the old weaving machine and buy some Mama’s Kitchen‘s chewy cookies at Sinamay House
– visit the Señora De Candelaria statue that they grow bigger and bigger every year at Jaro Catedral.
– take a photo of the sunken Jaro Belfry
– say your prayers in Molo St. Anne’s Church
– check out Casa Real also
4. A few hours from Boracay Island and a few minutes from Guimaras Island
Guimaras Island has several nice beaches. It is just a 15-minute ferry ride from Iloilo. Do try out their sweet ripe mangoes which they are known for. Also if you are visiting Iloilo, why not head after to one of the world’s beautiful white beaches, Boracay. It is a 6 hour ride in comfortable big bus to Caticlan Port and from there you ride a ferry to Boracay. No need for plane rides.
5. The sweet people
But I think one of the charm of Iloilo City is its people. You see, Iloilo City is called City of Love. We speak in a singsong sweet dialect that give us a reputation of sounding too loving even when we are mad. Ilonggos are simple people with a ready smile. They would willingly take you around the city and offer you food & refreshments.
So, did I convince you already to come visit Iloilo City? Lakat na!