"Waxing nostalgic..." Top 5 Page for this destination Iloilo City by Tijavi

Iloilo City Travel Guide: 283 reviews and 888 photos

...and a rediscovery of roots

I can't help but feel nostalgic while doing a travelogue on my hometown - Iloilo City. Traipsing through the streets of this old and genteel city (2nd oldest in the Philippines founded by the Spaniards, after Cebu), I was greeted by familiar sights, sounds, scents and smiles of people known to be the most gentle and soft spoken of Filipinos.

It felt great to relive the days when I shopped at the old downtown area, entered Iloilo's grand churces for the first time (I'm not Catholic, in case you're interested), and enjoyed the treats of my childhood years - Iloilo-style burgers (read: lots of ketchup and a slice of pickle) and hotdog waffles - and rediscovered the town, which will always be my home.

Brief background

Iloilo City is the capital of the province of Iloilo - so named because of its nose-like shape - nose in local language, Ilonggo or Hiligaynon, is "ilong."

Besides being the provincial capital, Iloilo City is also the capital of the Western Visayas region, an agglomeration of six provinces - Iloilo, Aklan, Capiz, Antique, Guimaras, and Negros Occidental - in the Visayan group of islands in central Philippines. Thus, Iloilo City occupies a pre-eminent position among the many cities in Western Visayas serving as the economic, industrial, cultural, and educational hub of the region. Nationally, its importance equals that of other tier two cities like Davao, and Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao, and Bacolod, the capital of neigboring Negros Occidental.

Given its importance, Iloilo City does generate a substantial economic pull that lures migrants, mostly from neighboring provinces, to work and live in the city. As of 2000 census, Iloilo City's population was about 366,000. The people, called Ilonggos, speak the local dialect Hiligaynon (also known as Ilonggo) as well as English and Tagalog, which are the country's offical languages for business and government.

As a major entrepot, Iloilo City is easily accessible from Manila by air (Philippine Airlines, Air Philippines, Cebu Pacific) and sea (WG&A, Negros Navigation). And from Iloilo City, nearby cities of Bacolod (capital of Negros Occidental, and oftentimes regarded as Iloilo's more flamboyant twin city), Roxas (seafood capital of the Philippines), and the paradise island of Boracay are within easy reach.

Ever genteel, ever graceful

As the Spaniards' second urban settlement in the Philippines, Iloilo City is endowed with an old-world charm and elegance that is reflected in the many facets of the Ilonggo culture - from the heavily Spanish-influenced local dialect, the delicate pastries, the palatial homes of the old rich, the imposing cathedrals, to the gracefulness and modesty of the Ilonggo lasses, the Ilonggas.

Indeed, grace and gentility have been deeply embedded in the Ilonggos' psyche and character, and the city remains a living showcase of the best of the Phillipines' colonial era.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Old world charm, small town values
  • Cons:Eroding physical heritage, congestion
  • In a nutshell:A living showcase of old world charm and gentility
  • Last visit to Iloilo City: Jan 2007
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (32)

Comments (33)

  • mircaskirca's Profile Photo
    Jul 30, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    Iloilo Museo seems to be a good place to learn about Iloilo's art, culture and history! As for the street food, my choice would be sweet and juicy fruits. Love custard apple too! But will mostly visit your hometown for the colourful Dinagyang Festival :)

  • jayjayc's Profile Photo
    May 8, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    Very helpful tips about Leoning's!!!! thanks

  • kemisteryoso's Profile Photo
    Sep 7, 2010 at 7:34 AM

    How about nightlife tips in Iloilo City?

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo
    Aug 25, 2010 at 9:37 AM

    haha...I also like those waffle hotdogs....great pages indeed on Iloilo :)

  • icunme's Profile Photo
    Oct 13, 2009 at 9:57 AM

    Outstanding tour of Iloilo here with you. Grazie for lovely photos and detail. Ciao, Carol

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Sep 17, 2009 at 10:44 AM

    I most certainly enjoyed the tour of this lovely historical and beautiful city. Hats off to you for the great trivia information. I like that a lot! Your tips are detailed and the photos are wonderful. Thanks for the tour!

  • Pinat's Profile Photo
    Aug 21, 2009 at 3:29 AM

    I am really thankful to you for the great virtual tour in a city I have never heard of before. Great page and pics. Greetings from Ankara, Pinar

  • monina_c's Profile Photo
    Jan 11, 2009 at 9:56 PM

    i missed eating la paz batchoy at the palengke by a heartbeat! we were supposed to have some after visiting miag-ao but somebody suggested dinner at breakthrough. :( hay... maybe next time...

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Oct 5, 2008 at 11:48 AM

    I've enjoyed "visiting" your home town with you :-) I liked your account of Our Lady of Candles, and the sound of mango chewies (not sure about bacon in my fave pesto sauce though!). What a shame that buildings are being allowed to fall into disrepair.

  • Aug 24, 2008 at 1:45 AM

    can u send the number to this email add....missyaerok@yahoo.com

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