Iloilo City

The City of Iloilo (Filipino: Lungsod ng Iloilo, Hiligaynon: Ciudad sang Iloilo or Dakbanwa sang Iloilo, Spanish: "Ciudad de Iloilo") is a highly urbanized city in the Philippines and the capital city of Iloilo province. It is the regional center of the Western Visayas, as well as the center of the Iloilo-Guimaras Metropolitan Area. In the 2007 census, Iloilo City had a population of 418,710 with a 1.8% population annual growth rate. It is bordered by the towns of Oton in the east, Pavia in the north, Leganes in the northeast and the Iloilo Strait in its eastern and southern coastline. The city was a conglomeration of former towns, which are now the geographical districts, composing of: Jaro, Molo, La Paz, Mandurriao, Villa Arevalo, and Iloilo City Proper. The district of Lapuz, a former part of La Paz, was declared a separate district in 2008.

The history of Iloilo City dates back to the Spanish colonial period, starting out as a small and incoherent grouping of fishermen's hamlets from the Iloilo River by a large swamp which after 1855 became the second most important port of call in the colony due to transhipment of sugar products from the neighboring Negros Island. It was later given the honorific title of "La Muy Noble Ciudad" (English: The Most Noble City) by the Queen Regent of Spain . At the turn of the 20th century, Iloilo City was second to the primate city of Manila, with stores along Calle Real selling luxury products from all over the world, an agricultural experimental station established at La Paz in 1888, a school of Arts and Trades which opened in 1891, and a telephone network system operating in 1894.

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Map of Iloilo City, Philippines

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A Brief History of Iloilo

Iloilo City was derived from “irong-irong”, a reference to the native word “irong” which means “nose”.

The term “ilong-ilong” was popularized because of the Chinese traders who mispronounce the “r” sound with “l” sound. It later then evolved into what is now “Iloilo”.

Iloilo City was also referred to as “La Muy Leal Y Noble Ciuded de Iloilo” in Spanish which means “Most Loyal and Noble City”. This is an inscription in the coat of arms from the Royal Decree of 1896 in recognition of the local people’s loyalty to the Spanish crown.

What to Do in Iloilo?

  • Barotac Nuevo Football for the famous field where the Azkals play.
  • Gigantes Island - a new discovery up northern Iloilo is a must visit. Island hop and trek to waterfalls and beautiful blue waters then feast on fat juicy scallops.
  • History Church hop: Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral, St. Anne’s Church, Miagao Church and Navalas Church
  • Bulabog Puti-An National Park in Dingle to visit the home of endangered animals plus 35 caves with swimming holes.
  • Go back in time and take a stroll at Calle Real to see heritage structures
  • Witness the Paraw Regattaevery February for sailing events and races from Iloilo to Guimaras!
  • Dinagyang Festival yearly every January to celebrate far out costumes and dances from Sto. Nino.
  • Visit the Lizares Mansion in Jaro City that is rumored to be haunted by tortured nuns and prominent Ilonggo family members during the Japanese occupation
  • Jog at Iloilo River Esplanade, a 1.2 km river wallk stretch

Did you Know?

  • You can take a road trip to Boracay from Iloilo! There’s a mountain that meets the see you pass through Antique/ Travel time: 4-5 hours
  • It only takes a 15-minute boat ride from Iloilo to Guimaras Island, the home of sweet mangoes

Where to Eat

  • Breakthrough for some scallops and seafood (dampa style) overlooking the sea and Guimaras Island.
  • Smallville Compound for a strip of restaurants and good old eateries and fabulous nightlife.
  • Must try La Paz Batchoy showdown: Ted’s Old Timer Batchoy, Netong’s and Deco’s Original La Paz Batchoy.
  • Sweet potato buns or camote bread and pili tarts in Tinapayan
  • **Fort San Pedro for Iloilo’s version of chicken inasal!
  • Have hot tsokolate at CamiƱa Balay nga Bato / Tsokolate House


Your trip won’t be complete ‘till you buy some pasalubong! Our suggestions:
  • For all the sweet treats, go to Biscocho House. The butterscotch is a must try!
  • Get some crunchy barquillos at Deocampo
  • Go to Pavia for the town’s specialty: baye-baye.

How to Get There

From Manila, you can fly to Iloilo. From Iloilo Airport, you can hail a cab and ask to be dropped off at your destination.

Need to know more?

Grab a copy of New Iloilo City Tourism Brochure!

Thanks and Enjoy! #iamiloilo