Fall in Love with the Captivating Charm of Iloilo

What comes first to mind when you hear the place Iloilo? Well, Ilonggos can’t blame us if we have different answers. It is really hard to pick from the things worth visiting in Iloilo as it has friendly people, delectable dishes and historical sites which we all agree are among the bests in the country. 

Iloilo City, tagged as the city of love, continues to live by its title. The city and the province are packed with attractions that can win anyone even on the first visit. With all the promising things Iloilo has to offer, it is helpful to have a handy list for you to explore and fall in love with in this gem in Panay. Worry not as we got you covered! Below are the things Iloilo has that will capture your heart. 

Fall in love with the sweet and soft-spoken Ilonggos. 

Priscilla Du Preez Photo on Unsplash 

People are among the top factors that make us want to visit places. The way they approach and interact with someone they just met speaks so much of their character. 

Filipinos are generally known to be friendly and happy people. But people in Iloilo are an exception as they exceed the level of friendliness you expect. Ilonggos, always with a smile on their faces, will make you feel at home in an instant. You will feel at ease with anyone living here – from professionals, jeepney drivers, or a random Ilonggo stranger you bump into on the streets. With their naturally warm and sweet demeanor, you will find yourself sharing personal life experiences like you’ve known them for a long! 

You will love how Ilonggos dearly call people “palangga” – or its shortened terms “langga” or “ga” – which literally means beloved or sweetheart. Isn’t it the sweetest? They also address others like a younger brother or sister, calling them “toto” or “nonoy” and “nene” or “inday”. Apart from the most used term of endearment here, Ilonggos’ way of speaking and conversing will melt your heart. Ilonggos use the Hiligaynon language and their accent sounds like a mother’s lullaby. They speak in a soft and sweet manner that even a curse does not sound threatening. 

Fall in love with historical sites and scenic places. 

If you are looking for a trip that can be relaxing and educational at the same time, Iloilo will not disappoint. Iloilo has exerted its best effort to both develop and preserve its historical landmarks, mountains, beaches and parks. You can start your heart flutter with a tour in Iloilo City that is only 30 minutes away from the Iloilo International Airport. You will certainly learn and get captivated with these history-rich and lovely places. 

1. Jaro Cathedral 

Jaro Cathedral/Photo by Christian Lucas Sangoyo – Lakad Pilipinas 

Built in 1864, Jaro Cathedral in Jaro district takes pride in its baroque style with additional Gothic elements. It has undergone restoration after being struck by an earthquake in 1984. Tourists and the religious community frequent this church for the Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria (Lady of the Candles) that devotees believe is miraculous. 

2. Lizares Mansion 

Iloilo’s once-thriving sugar industry is reflected by Lizares Mansion also in Jaro district. The beautiful mansion was constructed by a sugar tycoon, Don Emilio Lizares of Jaro, in 1937. With its American and Spanish architectural styles, the Lizares Mansion is truly a head-turner. Currently, it serves as the Anglicum School Iloilo’s chapel. 

3. Iloilo River Esplanade 

If you are looking for peace within the city, Iloilo River Esplanade is the place to be. The esplanade spans along both sides of the Iloilo River. It is the perfect spot for a morning jog or a sunset walk – all while you love how Ilonggos have rehabilitated and protected this body of water. You can also mingle with local fishermen along the Iloilo River and witness how nature gives back the blessing to Ilonggos through a bountiful catch. 

Iloilo River Esplanade is 15 minutes away from Camella Savannah, the most prominent developer of house and lot for sale in Iloilo. 

After exploring some sites in the city, you might not also want to skip the must-love locations in the province, including the following: 

4. Miag-ao Church 

In the town of Miag-ao in the southern part of Iloilo, you will find an architectural jewel that reflects the culture and Christian faith of the locals. Miag-ao Church or the Church of Saint Thomas of Villanova has been standing beautifully since 1797. You will fall in love with its baroque architecture and artistic sculptural elements. This church also tells so much history, having served as the fortress against Muslim invaders. Miag-ao Church is not only the pride of Iloilo but also of the country being listed among the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. 

5. Islas de Gigantes 

You will love Iloilo further once you lay eyes on its beaches and seascapes. Going northeast, in the off-coast of Carles and Estancia towns, lies the Islas de Gigantes. This tourist destination is best known for its white sand beaches and fascinating rock formations. You might not want to miss the most visited sites here like Cabugao Gamay Island, Pawikan Cave, Antonia Beach, Tangke, and Bantique Island. You can seize your stay here through getting a perfect view of the sea, especially during sunset, by standing at the Spanish-colonial lighthouse located on the island’s northern shore. 

6. Bucari Pine Forest and Waterfalls  

Leaning pine tree in Bucari, Leon/Photo by Leon Tourism and Information Center 
Leaning pine tree in Bucari, Leon/Photo by Leon Tourism and Information Center 

If you are more of a mountain-loving traveler, go ahead and explore Iloilo’s humble town of Leon. Embark in a little adventure on an upward road towards the Bucari Pine Forest and Waterfalls. The warmth of the people here is directly opposite to the coolness of the climate, which is comparable to that in Baguio. You can set up a picnic while being treated to a view of the surrounding forests or take photos in its famous leaning pine tree. If you are looking for a more physical trip, you can also hike towards the Mansiga View Deck or dip into the clean Imoy Falls. 

Fall in love with mouthwatering dishes. 

The adage “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” does not apply to men alone. Iloilo proves this over and over again. Men and women alike keep on coming back to Iloilo because of its delectable food. Once you take a bite of any Ilonggo dish, you will definitely crave for more. 

Other than the famous La Paz Batchoy, Pancit Molo, and the classic KBL or Kadyos (pigeon peas), Baboy (pork) and Langka (jackfruit), there are more new and time-honored dining establishments in Iloilo serving must-love dishes. Let them capture your heart for your next visit. 

1. Tatoy’s Manokan and Seafoods 

Satiate your hunger right after you hop off the plane to Iloilo with native fresh dishes at Tatoy’s Manokan and Seafoods at Iloilo International Airport in Cabatuan town. Like their airport branch, its main location at Villa Arevalo district and another at Mandurriao district are always busy serving tourists and locals alike. Tatoy’s is a food institution everyone loves and knows about. Customers keep coming back to its fresh seafood dish selection – from their best baked talaba, buttered garlic shrimp, and kinilaw (fish ceviche), among others. Without a doubt, you will ask for more cups of rice with Tatoy’s signature native lechon manok (roasted chicken) and lechon baboy (roasted pig) with crispy skin! 

2. Marlu’s Restaurant 

Iloilo gained another charm last year with the establishment of Marlu’s Restaurant at Iznart St. Located near the Filipino-Chinese Friendship Arc, Marlu’s serve Filipino-Chinese dishes including crispy pata, chicken inasal, wonton noodle soup and pancit. If you are passing by for a drink, you will not run out of options here with their milk tea and coffee choices. Marlu’s is well-manned and will not make you wait long for your meal. Apart from the very good food, this restaurant will also treat you to a view of the historic Calle Real.  

3. Padi Beach Resort 

Are you craving for seafood for lunch but want to have something different – maybe some Korean or Japanese food for dinner? Iloilo will not make it hard for you as Padi Beach Resort in Oton has it all. This place serves fresh seafood dishes including their mouthwatering steamed talaba, chili crab and grilled bangus. You will also love to de-stress here while enjoying samgyeopsal or Japanese noodles by the beach. 

Fall in love with lively festivals. 

The naturally happy Ilonggos love to celebrate their culture and tradition and as someone who visits here, you will definitely love it, too! The world-renowned Dinagyang Festival featuring the vibrant-colored dancers and the adrenaline-pumping drumbeats is a must-see event in January. While everything was affected by the pandemic, Dinagyang Festival, known as the “Mother Festival of the Philippines”, continued to wow spectators virtually for the last two years. 

In addition to the Dinagyang Festival, almost every town in Iloilo province celebrates its festivities. There’s Pintados de Pasi Festival in Passi City, a celebration of cityhood of the Iloilo’s component city; Haw-as Festival in Dumangas, featuring the bountiful Bangus (milkfish) harvest in town; and Bantayan Festival Guimbal, recognizing the heroism of Guimbal natives who fought against the Muslim invaders. 

More to love in Iloilo 

Iloilo does not run out of reasons to make someone fall in love. Apart from its people, places, food, and events, Iloilo’s continued development pumps it towards new stature. Industries are growing and new infrastructure projects are emerging. These are on top of the already-present business parks, farm-to-market developments, and accessible sea and airports. 

Iloilo also takes pride in its topnotch healthcare and education sectors. Iloilo looks after your health. It makes sure that you maintain an active lifestyle through its parks and bike lanes while having health facilities ready in case you need them. There are plenty of hospitals in the metro, including Iloilo Doctors’ Hospital and St. Paul’s Hospital. Government hospitals are also made accessible in the province as they are present in every district. 

If you love learning, you will definitely love Iloilo. There are several nationally-acclaimed state universities here including the University of the Philippines Visayas, West Visayas State University, and Iloilo Science and Technology University. Students from other cities and provinces also opt to pursue their education in Iloilo where different private schools are located. Present here are the Ateneo de Iloilo, Central Philippine University, and the University of San Agustin, among many others. 

Live where the love is 

Iloilo has everything you need and want. It is very hard to say no to its captivating charm. If you feel like it’s about time to follow your heart and move to the City of Love, Camella Homes is here for you. 

The 500-hectare Camella Savannah in Pulo Maestra Vita, Oton is the perfect community that can assure your family’s satisfaction and security. Oton makes an ideal location as it is accessible to both the city and province of Iloilo. It is great to reach places fast when you need to, right? From Camella Savannah, it will only take you ten to 15 minutes to reach the Iloilo River Esplanade, Iloilo Convention Center, and Iloilo International Airport, along with several other government offices and tourist destinations. 

Camella Savannah must be your top priority if you are looking for a house and lot for sale in Oton. It is complete with features and amenities open for your family to enjoy. Among these are: 

  • Shuttle and metro-bus services 
  • Community services and utilities center 
  • St. Pio Church 
  • Georgia Academy 
  • Vista Mall Iloilo 
  • Football field and basketball court 
  • Clubhouse and swimming pool 

Camella Savannah, an eco-friendly and pet-friendly community, also assures fast return of investments with 85 percent value appreciation in five years. Apart from this, there are also several units to choose from that suit your family size. Aliyah and Bella units are perfect for you if you are a family of two to three; Cara for a family of three to four; Dani for a family of four to six; and Ella for a family of five to seven. 

Take a huge step for what you love today and your future self will thank you.

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