7 Tourist Spots for Your ILOILO ITINERARY

Iloilo in Western Visayas is a province that deserves more attention. Its capital, the namesake city of Iloilo, has an old-world ambiance and charm where past and present collide. You’ll see distinct, traditional homes and centuries-old churches along with high-rise condominiums and malls. Outside the bustling metropolis are beautiful islands and beaches worth a day trip or an overnight stay. Iloilo is easy to access with many direct flights from Manila. Its attractions are also accessible with public transportation available.

If you’re interested in visiting this part of the Philippines, here are the things to do and places to visit.


Explore the City’s Heritage Center

Iloilo City is an interesting mix of old and new, you’ll see ancestral homes that remind you of bygone days because of their distinct design amid the urban jungle. Enter a time warp by walking around Calle Real where you’ll see a number of heritage buildings that tell of the city’s storied past. Go into another wormhole by heading to Jaro and Molo. Both districts are home to some of the most beautiful traditional houses and old churches. Notable stops include the beautiful Molo Church and Jaro Cathedral. Don’t miss out on visiting Casa Mariquit and Lizares Mansion.

 

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Visit Islas de Gigantes

These islands provide an idyllic getaway for those who want to relax and unwind. Despite its rising popularity over the years, it has managed to retain some of its laidback and middle-of-nowhere charm. The most popular activity here is island-hopping. During your trip, you’ll see white sand beaches, azure waters, and beautiful beach and landscapes. Go swimming, take several photos, bum around and enjoy the company of friends or family. The jump-off point to Gigantes is Carles in the northern region of the province. Some of the notable places of interest are Cabugao Gamay Island (the most recognizable attraction), Antonia Beach, Bantigue Island, Tangke Lagoon, and the Lighthouse.

You can get to Carles from either Iloilo City or Roxas City in Capiz by boarding a bus bound for Carles. Make sure to alight at Bancal Port. Here, there are passenger boats that depart at around 10am. Joiner tours for island-hopping costs P999 per person.

 

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Experience Dinagyang

Iloilo is home to one of the country’s biggest religious festival, Dinagyang. The festivities bring out the fun-loving side of locals and tourists alike. Join the merrymaking and activities during your visit. There are parades, music, dancing and everything in between. Ati performers take over the streets in January. If you plan to visit, book accommodation in advance as hotels fill vacancies quickly.

 

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Miag-ao Church

Iloilo has a rich cultural heritage exemplified by the old colonial churches located in different parts of the province. Miag-ao Church is one such place you shouldn’t miss when you’re in town. The church is one of the baroque churches included in UNESCO’s Heritage list. Miag-ao has a beautiful façade with detailed religious carvings. The centerpiece of this artwork is a sculpture depicting St. Thomas Villanueva, This church is easily accessible by public transport from the city. You can board a jeep that’s southbound or bound for Miag-ao.

 

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Iloilo Esplanade

After learning about the city’s rich heritage, head on over to the Esplanade. This is a popular destination for leisurely walks or jogging for those who want some exercise. Grab a bite or something to drink in one of the restaurants or cafes near the river. Wait until blue hour and sunset because this is a good spot to watch both.

 

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Bulubadiangan Island

Also known as Sandbar Island, this beach destination off the coast of Concepcion is an ideal spot to get away from the crowds and have a relaxing day. It gained popularity with both tourists and locals because of its rawness, cerulean waters, and whitish shore. Spend a day swimming and sunbathing. Part of the beach’s charm is its lack of development. Electricity isn’t 24 hours and tap water is salty. A hut rental for up to ten people costs around P800.

 

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Agho Island

If you can’t get enough of the beach, include Agho Island to your itinerary. The island has powdery, bone-white sand to sink your feet in and turquoise waters that will draw you in to swim. The island has a raw but beautiful appeal and a rustic charm that makes you want to stay. Go up the nearby hill to get beautiful overlooking views of the environment. Bring camping gear and food if you plan to spend the night. If you do, your reward is a spectacular sunrise.

 

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Where to Stay in Iloilo

The province has a variety of accommodations for all budgets. There are guesthouses and hotels in the capital city that are affordable. The city center is a possible base for exploring Iloilo and nearby attractions. You can rough it out on one of the islands in Concepcion, but make sure to bring your own gear. There are also places to stay in Gigantes for those who want to go island-hopping.

Photo was provided by the resort via Agoda.

For more options, search here: Iloilo Hotels


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