In the first part of this article, I wrote an overview on world-class and best island destination in the world in 2012, Boracay. Now, here’s Boracay Island’s twin attraction in this part of the region, Metro Iloilo. (Apart from hundreds of other tourist spots in Western Visayas region.)
This metropolis, located 169 miles south of Boracay, consists of the city of Iloilo and adjacent five townships, namely, Oton, San Miguel, Pavia, Santa Barbara and Leganes. Iloilo City is one of the oldest cities in the Philippines and has a rich cultural heritage.
A visit to Metro Iloilo fills the senses with sights, sounds, aroma, feel and taste of the place. From a diverse choice of local food to international fare, modern accommodation and places to visit, expect remarkable experiences in visiting locales that have deep roots in the history and development of this exotic and modern metropolis.
Judge for yourself how much you’ll want (just like the millions of tourists from around the globe who visit this city annually) to get involved with all the fun and excitement in Metro Iloilo. Watching the video isn’t even half the fun.
Things to do
Immerse yourself in a variety of unforgettable activities, starting off the fun from making a splash in water sports in its beaches to practicing your golf swing in the country’s oldest golf course in Santa Barbara, to dancing in the streets of Calle Real to the beat of a thousand drums along with competing tribes during Dinagyang festival in the 4th weekend of January.
On its beaches, Iloilo City is home to the oldest traditional craft racing event in Asia held annually on February, the Paraw Regatta festival. It’s a week-long event and a combination of watersports, art and lifestyle, whereby a pre-race sails-painting competition is held, a racing of the traditional seacraft in colorful sails, as well as a beauty pageant and winners are awarded and crowned in the same festival.
Night life is at its best at the Smallville complex, where you can enjoy good food and amusement amenities like getting fresh air over a cup of tea in open space bars, testing your singing score at videoke, digging your heels at the Ice Disco or bar hopping.
For laid-back tourists, they can go malling, kill time on local coffeeshops like Starbucks, or feast their eyes with colors and the smell of flowers in tropical gardens shops in Villa and Pavia. At the city center stands Museo Iloilo, a repository of artifacts and contemporary art. Also, pottery shops in Pavia offer a variety of indigenous and contemporary designs, materials, sizes and shapes for the avid collector and amateur souvenir hunters alike.
Take an early morning stroll or jog at the Esplanade along the Iloilo River that reminds you of Singapore’s own. A dragon boat race is held annually in this waterway.
Or, make a detour and find something different. Take a quick trip through time by visiting hand-woven textile and lace factories in Villa de Arevalo and Santa Barbara. In the 18th and 19th century, Iloilo City was the textile capital of the Philippines. Get your hands on the wooden frame loom of old, the traditional weaving machine, and witness how hand woven textiles and fabrics like the hablon are made. These products are of the finest quality and exported worldwide. Indigenous fiber materials used include sinamay, jusi and piña.
For pilgrims or the religious, you can visit the centuries old Jaro cathedral and the Molo church and appreciate the gracious character of the edifices in Gothic architecture.
Didn’t you wish you were here? There’s a lot more in Metro Iloilo – events and places – that’s waiting for you!
Nowadays, there’s a boom in housing and condo development in this metropolis, catering to foreign buyers and OFWs under the pabahay para sa OFW program. You may want to discover some exclusive clubhouses and take a swim in pools such as at Parc Regency Residences, Savannah City and Metropolis.
In the late Spanish colonial period, Iloilo City was etched in the minds not only of the governors and military leadership of the colonizer but the ruling royalty itself in Europe.
In the outbreak of an insurrection against Spain, the Revolution in Manila in 1896, the Ilonggos (as local are called) in Iloilo were the first to defend the Spanish Crown, affirming its allegiance to Spain. Consequently, Queen Regent Maria Cristina, in a Royal Decree, honored the city with the title “La Muy Leal y Noble”, in appreciation for the chivalry of the Ilonggo.
In October 1889, due to the strong economic development in textile manufacturing and sugar trading in Iloilo, the Queen Regent Maria Cristina of Spain through a royal decree changed the status of this bustling town into a city. In 1890, the government of the city of Iloilo was established. Hence, Iloilo City has been known as the “Queen’s City of the South.”
Hope you enjoyed this post’s travel through time and history, and current festive events and places in Metro Iloilo.
Learn more about Metro Iloilo at the Region VI Office, Department of Tourism, Bonifacio Drive, Iloilo City. Call +63 33 3375411 and +63 33 5093550 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Like Tourism’s Facebook Page: DOT Region VI.