Iloilo City Travel Guide: Top Tourist Spots, Things To Do, and Where To Stay
Iloilo City is a growing locality in the Visayas region. It has a big airport, a rich history, and a growing economy that’s worth experiencing.
Your Essential Iloilo City Travel Guide
When Is the Best Time to Visit Iloilo City?
The answer would depend on your preference ― do you like festivities?
If you do, the best time to visit is around January as this is the month when the Dinagyang Festival is celebrated. Tourists come flocking the streets of the city. February, too, is a festive time but because of the Paraw Regatta on the Ilo Strait. It’s the oldest traditional boat sailing event in Asia.
Summertime in Iloilo City is also a good time to visit. The clear sky paves the way to smooth sailing trips to local sites, historical spots, and beaches.
How Do You Get to Iloilo City?
- By Air (for locals)
There are direct domestic flights coming from Manila to Iloilo International Airport and back. These are also available to and from Davao, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos City, and Puerto Princesa.
- By Air (for foreigners and international travellers)
There are direct flights going to and from Singapore and Hong Kong.
- By Sea
Riding a ferry boat to Iloilo City is cheaper compared to going by a plane ride. There are direct routes heading to the city from Cebu, Dumaguete, and Manila. You can take Negros Navigation, 2GO, or Cokaliong lines.
How To Get Around
Getting around Iloilo City is simple and very Filipino. You can take tricycles, jeepneys, or cabs. Ride-hailing apps work in the area as well.
Top Things To Do in Iloilo City
1. Find a Place to Eat
First of all, eat, especially la paz batchoy and seafood. Savour the taste of Iloilo.
Here are a few restaurants worth visiting:
- Tatoy’s Manokan and Seafoods – Baluarte – Calumpang – Villa – Oton Boulevard, Villa Arevalo District
- La Paz Market (Deco’s, Ted’s, and Netong’s) – Public Market, Rizal St., La Paz
- 7 Fishes by Coco Veranda – 21 Avenue Place, Diversion Rd, Mandurriao
- Popoy’s Original La Paz Batchoy – Central Market, Guanco St., Iloilo City
- Camina Balay Nga Bato – Villa Arevalo District
- Ponsyon by Break Through – Plazuela De Iloilo, Mandurriao
- Madge Cafe – La Paz Public Market, Cor. Rizal-Huervana Sts., La Paz
2. Visit the Historical Churches
Historical churches with ornate interiors are part of Iloilo’s heritage. Here are three Catholic churches which have been around since the Spanish colonization period:
This is a UNESCO World Heritage site which completed construction in 1797. Back in the day, it was a fortress against Muslim raiders. It has been destroyed multiple times throughout history by revolution strikes, fire, and earthquake, and has been restored each time.
San Jose Church
This was the first church established in Iloilo. Built in 1607, it served as a support to the military.
Our Lady of Candles National Shrine
This church also goes by another name, Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral. The statue of Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria was canonically crowned by the late Pope John Paul II in 1981, making it the official Catholic patron of Romblon and Western Visayas.
3. Enjoy the Dinagyang Festival
The Dinagyang Festival is a religious and cultural celebration paying homage to the Sto Nino, the young Jesus. As mentioned, it happens in January of every year. Locals — children, the Ati tribe, beauties, citizens — participate in the colourful merriment.
4. Swim and Take Photos in Islas de Gigantes
Islas de Gigantes in Iloilo is Palawan and Boracay combined. It prides in its white sand beaches, rock formations, emerald blue waters, rich marine life, and luscious islands.
5. Watch the Sunrise or Sunset at the Iloilo River Esplanade
The “Esplanade” is a product of the city’s efforts to promote healthy living and protect the Iloilo River. It’s a romantic riverside walkway-park best visited in the early mornings or in the late afternoons.
6. Visit Garin Farm
Coming to Garin Farm allows one to experience three activities at once: enjoy the green view of crops and plants, go on a pilgrimage, and spend some quality leisure time at the small parks.
7. Experience Local Nightlife at Smallville Complex
If it’s the Iloilo nightlife you’re looking for, head to Smallville. It’s situated along the Diversion Road in Mandurriao District and connected to the Iloilo River Esplanade. Eat, drink, dance, and have fun under the Visayan sky.
Where Are the Good Accommodations in Iloilo City?
Budget Options $
- Ong Bun Pension House
- Circle Inn Iloilo City Center
- Injap Tower Hotel
- Riverside Inn
- One Lourdes Dormitel
- Highway21 Hotel
- Harbor Town Hotel
- Go Hotels
- City Corporate Inn
- Urban Inn
Mid-range Options $$
- People’s Hotel
- Harbor Town Hotel
- Diversion21 Hotel
- Urban Sands Iloilo Hotel
- Smallville21 Hotel
- Days Hotel Iloilo
- Hotel del Rio
- The Grand Dame Hotel
High-budget Options $$$
- Sheridan Boutique Resort
- The Mansion
Iloilo City is another spot in the country where history meets modernity. Its rich background and growing tourism are promising aces for its economic growth. Let’s support our own and drop by the beautiful city of Iloilo this year!
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