It’s that time of the year again when parades, fireworks, and performances take the spotlight. A week after Sinulog in Cebu, everyone trooped to Iloilo to enjoy other things the city has to offer apart from the world-renowned Dinagyang Festival.
With the steady rise of seat sales in flights, it comes as no surprise that tourism and traveling has become even more accessible. From its pristine beaches to the warm smiles of its people, Iloilo is undeniably an underhyped destination. Exploring the province is a delight that every Filipino should experience!
If you’re wondering what else can you look forward to other than the usual hyped parades and performances, here are the things that make the City of Love a place worth visiting!
The story of Iloilo River Esplanade is one of hope and success through a collective effort and focus of making something happen. Once called a sewage dump of the city, River Esplanade is now tagged as the one of the cleanest urban rivers in the country.
Original Biscocho Haus
When one visits Iloilo, it’s improbable not to grab a pack or two of its famous biscocho. In Jaro, one will find the original home of this delicacy! Iloilo Convention Center – Found within Iloilo Business Park, this convention center is a must-visit for its beautiful architectural design reminiscent of Paraw Regatta sail boats and abstract designs inspired by the Dinagyang Festival.
Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art
Dubbed as the first ever contemporary museum in Visayas and Mindanao, ILOMOCA is designed to showcase the progressive art scene in the region. Occupying 3,000 square meters and at three storeys, ILOMOCA has 5 exhibit rooms and a merchandise shop. Helmed by UP Visayas Vice Chancellor Martin Genodepa as the museum’s curator, ILOMOCA features the works of local and international artists, rotating shows, and personal art collection from its patron Edwin Valencia.
Camiña Balay Nga Bato
You can actually taste the heritage of Iloilo City in this ancestral “house by the river.” Take a sip of its sinful hot chocolate and dumpling soup.
More than the food however, the architectural design of the house – a spot on example of Spanish influences and indigenous Filipino inspiration – is worth a trip.
An hour drive south of Iloilo City, this restaurant garden will bring you to the meditative environment of Japan. As you enter the gates of the restaurant, you’ll immediately feel the soothing vibe of the place.
Other than being a stunning piece of architecture, this Baroque church was also close to the hearts of Ilonggos for being their safe haven against Moro invaders in the olden days.
Included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list, Miag-ao Church is only one of the four baroque churches in the country.
Museum of Philippine Economic History
Opening only last year, this place has become one of my favorite places in the province. Showcasing how trade, economics, and development have evolved in the Philippines has just become exciting. Found at the old Elizalde Building, the site was originally owned by Ynchausti y Compania.
Go to Iloilo for the festival, but stay for its charming places, mouth-watering delicacies, and warm people. There is more to love in this city other than Dinagyang.