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Iloilo - The City of Love: A Walking City Tour!

Cebu City is generally known as "Queen City of the South". But before, Iloilo has also a similar title as the "Queen's City of the South" or "Queen's Favored City in the South" for its loyalty to Spain during the Philippine uprising. Now, Iloilo has been known as the "City of Love" and we'll find out why.
Jaro Bellfry

How to get there

Iloilo can be reached via air or sea travel. Its airport serves domestic and international flights. There are also some fast crafts and roll-on roll-off (RoRo) ferries that you can take for sea travel.
Iloilo International Airport
The flight from Manila (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) to Iloilo (Iloilo International Airport) usually takes 45 minutes and 30 minutes from Cebu (Mactan–Cebu International Airport). Travelling by sea is around 12-14 hours from Cebu and up to 27 hours from Manila.

  • From Iloilo airport, you can take a public transportation like a van or cab. Travel time is usually 45 minutes from the airport to the city.
  • Cabs have a fixed rate of PhP 300.00 from the airport to your specific destination in the city proper.
  • Public vans cost PhP 50.00 per person that can take you to SM Iloilo, where you can ride a jeep to your destination.
Iloilo - Bacolod Ferry Port

There are available flights that can take you from Bacolod to Iloilo. But if you are looking for a cheaper way to get there, you can take a fast craft ferry for PhP 400.00. Iloilo River Wharf is the seaport for Iloilo-Bacolod fast crafts. Travel time is approximately an hour.

A walking tour

After checking into our inn, we started the tour by walking to Graciano López-Jaena Park or Jaro Plaza. Jaro Bellevue Pensione, the place we stayed is just a walking distance to the park. Locals relax and hang out in the park. There are also some "tiangge" inside where you can buy cheap clothes and other stuff.
Jaro Bellevue Penso

From the park, we saw the century-old Jaro Belfry. The belfry was around 3-storey high made from bricks and limestone blocks. Just across the belfry is Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral, built in 1864, it is one of the oldest churches in Iloilo. It is also the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Candles (Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria).

A century-old belfry
Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral
The interior of the cathedral

It is believed that the image of Our lady of the Candles grows and can't fit anymore in its original casing so they transfer it to a bigger one.
Our Lady of the Candles

We started to get hungry even it was just a short walk (LOL). Anyways, we wanted to try the pride of Iloilo, La Paz Batchoy. And when you say Batchoy in Iloilo, there's always one place you must try. Netong's Original Special La Paz Batchoy inside La Paz Public Market. You can read more of Netong's in this post.

They serve one of the best La Paz Batchoy in Iloilo
It's a little far when you will be walking from Jaro Cathedral to Jaro Public Market, so we just rode a jeep to the market. Usually in Manila, when you reach your stop, you'll be saying, "para" for the vehicle to stop and in Iloilo, they say, "sa lugar lang" (in a 'malambing' way).
"Lugar lang"

After a very nice bowl of La Paz Batchoy in Netong's, we decided to relax for a bit and have coffee in Madge Cafe also inside La Paz Public Market. They serve the best native coffee in town. The coffee costs PhP 25.00 and they also sell some bread to pair with your coffee.

Madge Cafe
The barista preparing the coffee
The place is quite jam-packed even though it's a weekday. Regular customers enjoy hanging out here having a conversation with friends and enjoying a coffee in their personalized mug.
Personalized mugs, including Drew's
Coffee + Puto = Perfect!

We continue our walking tour From La Paz Market to Museo Iloilo in the city proper. Inside the museum are modern art paintings and sculptures of Ilonggo artists, native pottery and fossils, old clothing and weapons, war relics and artifacts and religious statues all from the Western Visayas. Museum entrance fee is PhP 50.00 per person.

Museo Iloilo
Artworks by some Ilonggos inside the Museum
Century old artifacts
Just a few steps from the Museum is the new Provincial Capitol of Iloilo and the newly restored Casa Real, the old Provincial Capitol. In front of Casa Real is the Arroyo Fountain which serves as the point of reference for Panay Island or Kilometer 0.
The new Provincial Capitol of Iloilo
Zooming into the Capitol
Newly renovated Casa Real, the old Provincial Capitol
Arroyo Fountain, start of Kilometer 0 of Panay Island

From Arroyo Fountain, we then continued walking straight in Iznart Street and reached a monument in the middle of an intersection. This monument is named Plazoleta Gay, in honor of an ancestral family in Iloilo City. In Manila, we had Mendiola or EDSA shrine where we held rallies and protests while this site is for the Ilonggos.

Plazoleta Gay
After taking some photos in Plazoleta Gay, we went straight ahead to JM Basa Street and reached historic Calle Real which is filled with commercial establishments. This is where old buildings that were built during the Commonwealth Era are located. It is also declared as a heritage site of Iloilo.

Javellana Building built in 1902
We got hungry again from all the walking we did so we looked for a place to eat. We then saw Roberto's in Javellana Building and there are a lot of people at the restaurant at the moment, so I guess it's a good place to eat. I googled Roberto's and found out that it is quite popular for their siopao so that's what we ordered, oh and an extra order of lomi. The queen siopao is huge! they don't serve sauce with their siopao, but it tastes good.

Siopao Prices
The Lomi is good

Roberto's Queen Siopao, Galaxy S5 for size comparison

Rich siopao fillings 

Time to burn that siopao we ate so on with our walking tour. Continuing our walk to JM Basa street, we reached the Iloilo City Hall. Too bad, it's already closed when we reached it since it's already 5 pm. Anyways, we went back to it the next morning before we went to Guimaras. On the ground floor is a small gallery where you can learn about Iloilo's history and on the 7th floor is an access to the rooftop where you can have a 360-degree view of the city and a view of Guimaras Island.

Entrance of Iloilo City Hall
Stuff you'll see in the gallery
At the top of the City Hall
View from the right side, Plaza Libertad with Guimaras Island (Negros is the island behind Guimaras)

View from the left Downtown Iloilo

View from the middle, the River wharf
Wide view of San Jose Church (left-most structure), Plaza Libertad and Guimaras Island 
In front of the city hall is Plaza Libertad, a historic plaza where the Flag of the First Philippine Republic was raised in Iloilo City. At the side of the Plaza is San Jose Church, a heritage church which was built around 1617 by the Augustinians.
Statue of Jose Rizal in Plaza Libertad
Plaza Libertad
San Jose Church
Interior of the church

We're on to our last destination in tour walking tour, which is a little far from the city hall, located on San Pedro Drive, near the domestic port. We didn't reach the main site since it started to rain so we just took some pictures and rode a jeep back to our inn.

Fort San Pedro Road
Oysters for sale along the road
Baywalk near Fort San Pedro

On the wy back we saw Pat Pat's Kansi House. Since it's already dinner time, we decided to have dinner in it. Kansi is also a popular dish in Iloilo. It is somewhat like Bulalo but a little sour. So it's like Bulalo and Sinigang. We wanted to order the Kansi Lawas or the bone part, but only the Kansi Unod or the meat part is available.

Pat-Pat's Kansi House
Kansi Unod
It was fun walking around a city or place you are not familiar with. It lets you see and learn things about that city. Though I haven't completely explored Iloilo city, I really think it really deserved the title, "The City of Love", for its culture, history and most of all, the people. Thanks for reading!
Cheers from Iloilo!


Hey there, thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed reading my article and helped you out with some travel tips and ideas. Please do leave a comment if you have some comments or suggestions and I'll gladly answer it. Cheers!


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