Take part of Iloilo’s most celebrated and enduring annual cultural festival. Watch ordinary people transform into bombastically colored warriors, as they parade around the city with their impressively choreographed chants, and dance to the beat of resounding drums and percussions. It all culminates in a performance competition to determine which school best exemplifies the traditions of Iloilo’s past.
Location: Scattered around Iloilo City
As odd as it may seem, the Philippines celebrate New Year’s Day twice. This is due to the both the American and Chinese influence when the country was under colonization. The Chinese culture and traditions have been heavily ingrained into the Pinoy ethos, as millions of Chinese people have come to consider our country home away from home. Thus, on the 4th week of January or the 1st of February (depending on the Chinese lunar year), both Filipinos and Chinese citizens alike take part in a massive cultural celebration of Chinese heritage in the heart of downtown Iloilo.
Location: Scattered across Iloilo City
Venture out to the seaside to witness an annual tradition of skilled seafarers competing in heated sailboat races. Each craft, called ‘paraw’, boasts sails sporting meticulous designs that harkens back to the age of nautical prominence, as well as encapsulates the heart and soul of the Philippines’ roots. The Paraw race course is a 30 kilometres long, running up the coast of Panay and then down the coast of Guimaras, before returning to the finish at Villa Beach.
Location: Tatoy’s Manokan, Sto. Nino Sur, Villa, Iloilo City
Museo de Iloilo
If you fancy taking in the history of Iloilo firsthand, take the time to visit Museo de Iloilo – a building pleasingly modern in aesthetic despite its archaic collection. Built in 1971 as a tribute to Ilonggo cultural heritage and ancestry, some of the items it houses includes fossils, ancient tools, weapons, pottery, ornaments, jewelries, and burial coffins. Almost all items are distinctly Ilonggo in its style. This place is a must-see for all history buffs and tourists alike.
Location: Bonifacio Drive
Iloilo River Esplanade
Situated along Iloilo’s renowned river bank, this now famous recreational park is perfect for strollers, joggers, or people who generally want to take in the breathtaking view of the river, or even the gorgeous sunset. There are various restaurants and commercial establishments within walking distance of the Esplanade, thus, for the young and young-at-heart, strap in your sneakers and give this place a go.
Location: Mandurriao, Iloilo City
Isla de Gigantes
Off the coast of Carles and and Estancia lies a mysterious and serene island chain called Isla de Gigantes. For the adventurous types who enjoy island hopping, spelunking, or even diving into crystal clear waters to observe the deep-sea fauna, this is the go-to place for an exemplary castaway experience. For the really daring, a hike to Tangke Lagoon – hidden between rock formations and cliffs – is the perfect secluded getaway of your summer.
Location: Carles, Iloilo
Article written by: Dan Canong