Iloilo, Philippines · 83 hotels available
Iloilo is known to be the heart of the Philippines, probably because it is located in Panay Island, a heart-shaped province in the Visayas region. As one of the first few cities to be founded by Spanish colonizers in the mid-15th century, Iloilo City is rich in culture and history with numerous heritage homes and even more festivals.
Iloilo City is also a few kilometers away from some of the Philippines’ best beaches and other natural landscapes, making it a good start for travelers who want to be more intimate with the country, both culturally and naturally.
All major cities in the Philippines have direct flights going to Iloilo City via Iloilo International Airport. There are also direct flights to and from Hong Kong and Singapore.
2Go Travel sails to Iloilo from Manila four times a week, while a weekly ship goes from Cagayan de Oro.
If you arrive at Caticlan Airport in Aklan, find a Ceres Bus Terminal that will take you to Iloilo City. It’s a 7-hour trip, so plan accordingly.
Because Iloilo City is progressive, there are public utility vans, buses, and jeepneys that can bring you anywhere you want.
Iloilo City is one destination with a million things to do, so your vacation will be worth the travel. If it’s your first time to visit the city, you can start with heritage sites. A good place to start would be St. Anne Parish in Molo—one of the oldest churches in the Philippines, and known to be a “feminist” church because of the statues of female saints inside. Feminist or not, be sure to step in and say three wishes.
If you still would like to visit other churches, another place to try would be Jaro Cathedral. It is the first and only cathedral in the island of Panay. It was built in the mid-1800s in Baroque and Gothic architectural styles.
Visiting the Molo Mansion should be in everyone’s list. Originally built in the 1920s as the Yusay-Consing Mansion, it was recently renovated after decades of neglect and has been turned into a heritage museum, showcasing local art and delicacies.
You can never run out of things to do in Iloilo city. On top of anyone’s Iloilo City to-do list is to go on a food trip. Iloilo City is popular of its La Paz Batchoy—made pork, chicken stock, beef loin and round noodles—and Molo Soup, made of ground pork and mixed with carrots, green onions, and other spices.
Visiting heritage sites within the city and around the province is also a must; taking a side trip to Guimaras Island and trying out their famed mangoes is also something fun to do.
Most restaurants, if not all, serve the famed La Paz Batchoy, but the restaurants to find the best-tasting ones are in “batchoy houses” like Ted’s Oldtimer Lapaz Batchoy, where else but in La Paz District, Iloilo City. However, if you’re more into molo soup, get it at Tita Paz The of Pancit Molo in the district of Molo.
Yuppies will enjoy the nightlife in Iloilo City because it is cosmopolitan yet affordable. The Foodville along Diversion Road is where all the young kids hang out these days because of the cheap chow and varied (wholesome) nightly entertainment.
For simpler nights, head to Downtown Iloilo for some beer and BBQ in Calle Real. If you really want a real and casual local dining experience, best to go to Food Park Iloilo behind the Iloilo Supermart Molo Branch to shake hands with fun-loving Ilonggos.
Iloilo City is a city for everyone and anyone, so it won’t be hard to find budget hotels as well as luxury accommodations. Backpackers can choose to stay at Go Hotels Iloilo for as low as P950/night. For luxury travelers, they can stay in big hotels like Richmond Hotel Iloilo.
• Most establishments accept major credit cards but do bring cash in your wallet for side-road souvenirs.
• Taxi fares can be quite expensive in the city, so use the jeepney as much as you can.
• Iloilo City is near to several other Visayan Islands, so you can take a ferry and visit them during the day.