Iloilo City

Iloilo City
City of Iloilo
Ciudad sang Iloilo
—  Highly-urbanized City  —
From top, left to right: Calle Real – Iloilo City's historic city center, The Aduana/Customs House of Iloilo and Muelle Loney, Saint Anne Church of Molo District, Smallville Commercial Complex in Mandurriao District, Nelly Garden, and the Arroyo Fountain and Casa Real/Old Iloilo Provincial Capitol

Nickname(s): "La Muy Leal y Noble Ciudad", "Reina La Ciudad del Sur", "City of Love", "City of the Future", "City of Many Firsts"
Motto: Sulong iloilo, Uswag Iloilo! (Onward Iloilo), Adelante Iloilo!
Map of Iloilo Province showing the location of Iloilo City
Map of Iloilo Province showing the location of Iloilo City
City of Iloilo is located in Philippines
City of Iloilo
Map of the Philippines showing the location of Iloilo City
Coordinates: 10°41′24″N 122°33′0″E / 10.69°N 122.55°E / 10.69; 122.55Coordinates: 10°41′24″N 122°33′0″E / 10.69°N 122.55°E / 10.69; 122.55
Country  Philippines
Region Region 6 (Western Visayas)
Province Iloilo
Districts Arevalo, City Proper, La Paz, Mandurriao, Molo, Jaro, Lapuz
public 180
  • 1581: La Villa Rica de Arevalo[1]
  • 5 October 1889: Established as a City by the Royal Decree of Queen Regent Maria Cristina of Spain
  • 1890: Establishment of Ayuntamiento of Iloilo
  • 1 March 1898: Given the title as "Muy Noble" by the Royal Decree of the same Queen Regent Maria Cristina
  • July 16, 1937: Incorporation of five towns and re-establishment of the City of Iloilo by the Government of the United States of America, nicknamed as the "Queen City of the South"
 - Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog (Liberal)
 - Vice Mayor Jose S. Espinosa III
 - City Representatives Jerry Treñas (Liberal)
 - Highly-urbanized City 78.34 km2 (30.2 sq mi)
 - Metro 972.3 km2 (375.4 sq mi)
Elevation 2 m (7 ft)
Population (2007)
 - Highly-urbanized City 418,710
 - Density 5,981/km2 (15,490.7/sq mi)
Time zone PST
ZIP code 5000
Area code(s) 33
Gentilic Ilonggo

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.[2] 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.[3]

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 .[4][5] 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.[6]



Even before the Spanish colonizers came, Iloilo had a flourishing economy. Lore has it that in the 13th century, ten Bornean datus came to the island of Panay and gave a gold hat (salakot) and a long golden necklace as a peace offering and to the Ati natives of the island. It was said that it was also a way of the ten Bornean datus to barter the flat lands of Panay from the Ati. One datu, named Paiburong, was given the territory of Irong-Irong.[6]

Early Spanish colonial period

In 1566, as the Spanish conquest of the Philippines was underway and moving north toward Manila, the Spaniards under Miguel López de Legazpi came to Panay and established a settlement in Ogtong (now Oton).[1] He appointed Gonzalo Ronquillo as deputy encomiendero, a position which would later become governor in later years.[1]

In 1581 Ronquillo moved the town center approximately 12 km east due to recurrent raids by Moro pirates and Dutch and English privateers, and renamed the area La Villa de Arevalo in honor of his hometown in Ávila, Spain.[1]

In 1700, due to ever-increasing raids especially from the Dutch and the Moros, the Spaniards again moved their seat of power some 25 km eastward to the village of Irong-Irong, which had a natural and strategic defense against raids and where, at the mouth of the river that snakes through Panay, they built Fort San Pedro to better guard against the raids which were now the only threat to the Spaniards' hold on the islands. Irong-Irong or Ilong-Ilong was shortened to Iloilo and with its natural port quickly became the capital of the province.[1]

The Sugar Boom era and the late Spanish colonial period

The Customs House of Iloilo City and Muelle Loney

In the late 18th century, the development of large-scale weaving industry started the movement of Iloilo's surge in trade and economy in the Visayas. Sometimes referred to as the "Textile Capital of the Philippines", the products were exported to Manila and other foreign places. Sinamay, piña and jusi are examples of the products produced by the looms of Iloilo. Because of the rise of textile industry, there was also a rise of the upper middle class. However, the introduction of cheap textile from UK and the emergence of the sugar economy, the industry waned in the mid-19th century. Museo Iloilo is the repository of Iloilo's past.

The waning textile industry was replaced however by the opening of Iloilo's port to world market in 1855. Because of this, Iloilo's industry and agriculture was put on direct access to foreign markets. But what triggered the economic boom of Iloilo in the 19th century was the development of sugar industry in Iloilo and its neighboring island of Negros. Sugar during the 19th century was of high demand. Nicholas Loney, the British vice-consul in Iloilo developed the industry by giving loans, constructing warehouses in the port and introduced new technologies in sugar farming. The rich families of Iloilo developed large areas of Negros, which later called haciendas because of the sugar's high demand in the world market. Because of the increase in commercial activity, infrastructures, recreational facilities, educational institutions, banks, foreign consulates, commercial firms and much more sprouted in Iloilo.

On 5 October 1889, due to the economic development that was happening in Iloilo, the Queen Regent of Spain raised the status of the town into a city, [7][8] and in 1890, the city government was established.[9]

In 1896, the initial reaction of Ilonggos in the outbreak of the Revolution in Manila was hesitant. However, the Capital City of Iloilo was the first to offer assistance to the Spanish Crown in quelling the insurrection, owing allegiance to no other Country than Spain before the Philippine Independence. Because of this, the Queen Regent Maria Cristina honored the City (in the name of her son King Alfonso III) with the title "La Muy Noble", in appreciation of the most noble virtue of Ilonggo chivalry.[10][5] Due to the Spanish blow by blow defeat by, at first, the Katipunan, and later by the Americans, the Spaniards left Manila and established the last Spanish Capital in the Orient in Iloilo City. Sooner, however, through the leadership of General Martin Delgado, the towns of Iloilo got involved in the struglle for independence, except for Iloilo City, Molo, and Jaro[11] (also a Chartered Spanish City and seat of an Ecclesiastical Province of the Catholic Church covering Western Visayas and some parts of Mindanao).

On December 25, 1898, the Spanish government surrendered to the Ilonggo revoltionaries in Plaza Alfonso XIII (Plaza Libertad today), and in that place the Filipinos and Spaniards parted ways as friends. In the name of the last Spanish Governor General, Don Diego de los Ríos, Brig. General and Military Provincial Governor Ricardo Monet, together with Lt. Col. Agustín Solís, formally handed over Plaza Alfonso XIII to the Republic of the Philippines through the person of the Filipino General Martin Delgado, who represented President Emilio Aguinaldo in Iloilo. Martin Delgado was named Governor of the Province afterwards.[12]

The newly found freedom of Ilonggos was short-lived, the American forces arrived in Iloilo in late December 1898. By February 1999, the North Americans started to mobilize for colonizing anew the City and Province. Resistance was the reaction of Ilonggos upon the invasion which lasted up to 1901.[6]

American colonial era and Japanese occupation

In 1900, the Americans reverted the city's status into a township again. Yet because of its continuous commercial activities and because it was an important port of call in the Visayas-Mindanao area, it regained the cityhood status on July 16, 1937, through Commonwealth Act 158. Incorporated as part of Iloilo City were the towns of Molo, Jaro, Mandurriao, La Paz and Villa de Arevalo.[13]

Sometime after its re-establishment, the City adopted a seal with the title given to it by the Queen Regent Maria Cristina, together with another title: "Muy Leal". Thus, the City's title became "La Muy Leal y Noble Ciudad de Iloilo", which remains inscribed on its seal until the present.

However, prosperity did not continue as the sugar's demand was declining, labor unrests were happening in the port area that scared the investors away and the opening of the sub-port of Pulupandan in Negros Occidental, has moved the sugar importation closer to the sugar farms. By 1942, the Japanese invaded Panay and the economy moved into a standstill. During the Commonwealth era, Iloilo was prosperous and was popularly known as "The Queen City of the South".

During World War II, Iloilo was controlled by several Japanese Battalions, Japan's ultimate goal was to entrench itself deeply into the Philippines so that at the close of the war they could occupy it just as the Spanish and the Americans had years before. However, when Filipino & American forces liberated Iloilo from Japanese military occupation on March 25, 1945 the remnants of these battalions were held in Jaro Plaza as a make-shift detention facility.[6]

Post-war period

By the end of the war, Iloilo's economy, life and infrastructure were damaged. However, the continuing conflict between the labor unions in the port area, declining sugar economy and the deteriorating peace and order situation in the countryside and the exodus of Ilonggos to other cities and islands that offered better opportunities and businessmen moved to other cities such as Bacolod and Cebu led to Iloilo's demise in economic importance in southern Philippines.[14]

By the 1960s towards 1990s, Iloilo's economy progressed in a moderate pace. The construction of the fish port, international seaport and other commercial firms that invested in Iloilo marked the movement of the city making it as the regional center of Western Visayas.


The skyline of Iloilo City
The skyline of Iloilo City

Iloilo City is located in the southern shores of Panay Island. The city faces Iloilo Strait and Guimaras Island across it, making it a natural harbor and a safe anchorage for ships. The city lies on a flat alluvial plain, reclaimed mostly from the swampy areas due to urbanization and industrialization in the late 19th century until the present. Traversing the city are the rivers of Iloilo, Batiano, Jaro and Dungon Creek. Iloilo River is an estuary that separates the districts of City Proper, Molo and Villa Arevalo from the rest of the city. On the other hand, Jaro River is fed by its tributary rivers, Aganan and Tigum and passes by the flood plains of the Jaro and La Paz districts. Iloilo City is 337.6 nautical miles from Manila. The city has a total land area of 70.3 km² and is divided into 180 barangays with seven aggregate districts.[15]


Iloilo City has a tropical wet and dry climate as according to the Köppen climate classification system, with pronounced wet season from June throughout November; then dry season from December to May.[15]

Climate data for Iloilo, Philippines — NOAA Station Id: PH98637
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 29.7
Daily mean °C (°F) 26.1
Average low °C (°F) 22.7
Rainfall mm (inches) 39.9
humidity 82 80 75 73 77 82 85 85 85 84 84 83 81.25
Source: "Climate (Average Weather) Data". Retrieved March 13, 2011. 

Political subdivisions

The Geographic Disrtricts of Iloilo City

Iloilo City is politically subdivided into 180 barangays, which are grouped into seven geographical districts: [16]

All of the geographical districts of Iloilo City were once individual towns, excluding Lapuz, which was a sub-district of La Paz until 2008. They were incorporated into one city when Iloilo gained cityhood status and was inaugurated as a charter city on August 25, 1937. All districts have their own churches, which are subordinate to the Archdiocese of Jaro. The districts of Jaro, Mandurriao and Molo are considered commercial areas, while Arevalo and La Paz are residential areas. Molo was once a residential district, while Mandurriao is home to the old Iloilo Airport (Mandurriao Airport) as well as the city's largest shopping mall, SM City Iloilo. City Proper is also a commercial area and the political center of the city and of Iloilo province. It is also home to the Iloilo's domestic seaport and river wharf. The newly-formed geographic district of Lapuz is primarily an industrial and residential area, with shipping companies, oil depots and a milling factory are located.

The city of Iloilo has only one legislative district.


The art-deco Iloilo Central Public Market

The strategic location of Iloilo City at the center of the Philippines makes it an ideal hub for trade, commerce and industry. Its universities and colleges provide the skilled and talented labor which together with its port facilities, telecommunications infrastructure and utilities have a major impact in attracting businesses and industries focused mainly in banking and finance, retail trading, and business process outsourcing or BPO. The BPO industry has been one of the most active economic sectors as of the current period. The city draws on the region's extensive range of raw materials and its large consumer market. The local government has provided incentives to business in preferred investment areas, such as income tax holidays and free issuance of permits and licenses.[18]

Trade and industry

There were 8,407 business establishments as of December 2003 in Iloilo City, of which 1,182 are new. Total capital investments for new business establishments is P365,506,020.92. However, both new and renewed capital investments for the year 2003 amounted to Php 13.02 billion.[15]

Of the employed person by type of industry from primary occupation 82 % belongs to service sector, 14 % belongs industry sector and only 4 % are in agriculture (as of April 2003 FIES, NSO).[15]

Average annual family income (at current prices) is P 283,604 or a percentage increase of 32.3 between 1994 to 1997 while Average Annual Family Expenditures is P 226,887 or a 25.6% increase (2000 FIES). Average per Capita Income is P 65,036 and Average Per Capita Expenditures is P 51,557 (FIES 2000). Average Inflation Rate is 3.2, the Average Purchasing Power of the Peso is 0.62 and the Average Consumer Price Index (CPI) is 162.6 in 2003. (Source: NSO, Prices Section).[15]

Shopping centers

There are many malls in Iloilo city, one of them is the SM City Iloilo, It was the biggest shopping mall in the Western Visayan Region and second to SM City Cebu in the entire Visayas Region. Iloilo City also boasts the First SM Mall outside Metro Manila, the first Hypermarket outside Metro Manila and has the most number of SM branches in one City outside Metro Manila. aside from SM, the two Gaisano branches and Robinson malls some of the many malls in Iloilo City. Iloilo City is home to the first department store in the Country, the Hoskyns & co. which opened in 1897.


Although Iloilo City is the provincial seat of government for the province of Iloilo, it maintains its independence from the province. Only the city government officials are voted by the residents of the city. The provincial government has no political jurisdiction over local transactions of the city government, as mandated by the 1937 Charter of Iloilo City.

The city has only one legislative district to represent in the Congress of the Philippines. The current representative of Iloilo City is Geronimo "Jerry" Pontenciano-Treñas of the Liberal party, after three-terms serving as the city mayor. The mayor is Iloilo City's chief executive and heads the city government. The current mayor of Iloilo City for 2010–2013 is former city councilor and vice mayor, Jed Patrick Escalante Mabilog of Partido Liberal. The current vice-mayor seat is held by former councilor José Espinosa III. The vice-mayor heads the legislative branch of the local government, which is composed of twelve duly-elected city councilors.

Being the regional center of Western Visayas, regional offices of national government departments and agencies are located here and are managed by regional chairpersons. Agencies such as the National Bureau of Investigation, Professional Regulatory Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission, Departments of Education, Tourism, Foreign Affairs, and Health handle transactions coming from the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, Negros Occidental and the cities of Iloilo and Bacolod.

Twin cities

Iloilo is twinned with:


Public transport

The passad jeepney, Iloilo City's primary public transport

Iloilo City is served mostly by passenger jeepneys, white metered taxis and tricycles within the city limits. The passad jeepneys of Iloilo are known for its sleek and sedan-like design. These often serve fixed routes and mostly plies on city's major and secondary roads. Jeepneys are also the main mode of transportation to MIDC (Metro Iloilo) towns. Tricycles serve most secondary roads and city communities.

Large passad jeepneys and buses link Iloilo City to the rest of the province and the island of Panay. Buses bound for Manila are also available due to the Roll-on, Roll-off ferry services of the Strong Republic Nautical Highway. Mini-shuttle vans also serve provincial towns.

Since the opening of the new airport in the town of Cabatuan, air-conditioned airport shuttle vans have served the passengers, crew and the employees of Iloilo Airport from the designated strategic locations in the city, such as in SM City Iloilo and Plaza Jaro.


The Metro Iloilo's roadways are among the country's busiest. The Diversion Road, Gen. Luna St., Mcarthur Drive, Iznart are Metro Iloilo's major roads. The highway from Diversion Road to Vice President Fernando Lopez Avenue was renovated and widened into a 4 lane road. It connects Iloilo City, Pavia, Sta. Barbara and the Iloilo International Airport. There are two Flyovers in the City, the Infante Flyover and the Gen. Luna – Jalandoni St Flyovers.


The Iloilo International Airport Passengers Terminal

Iloilo International Airport (Iloilo Airport) is the airport serving the general area of Iloilo City. It is located 19 kilometers (12 mi) northwest of Iloilo City on a 188-hectare (460-acre) site in across the towns of Cabatuan, Santa Barbara and San Miguel. It opened to commercial traffic on June 14, 2007 after a decade of planning and construction, replacing Mandurriao Airport in Iloilo City which had been in service for over seventy years. The new airport inherited its IATA and ICAO airport codes, as well as its position as the fourth-busiest airport in the Philippines, from its predecessor.[19] It is linked to the city through Tomas Confessor Highway and served by metered taxis, airport shuttle vans and multicabs. The airport is also considered as the Best Airport of The Philippines.


The Port of Iloilo, is the port serving the general area of Iloilo and the premier port on Panay Island. The new port of iloilo is strategically located at a new site away from the older port facilities. Situated in the Southern coast of Panay Island, in the Panay Gulf, it has one of the country’s safest and most natural harbors. Guimaras Island guards the port from violent storms and makes it ideal for harboring ships and vessels.

  • The Iloilo Commercial Port Complex (Iloilo International Port/Loboc Wharf)
Iloilo International Port/Loboc Wharf
It is located on 20.8 hectares of reclaimed land. It has modern facilities that include 11,400 sq. meters of open space for unhampered operations, supplemented by a backup area of 97,000 sq. meters, a crane,[1] rails of 348 lineal meters; roll-on-roll-off support; a 7,800 container freight stations; and a 720 sq. meter passenger shed. The port complex is ideal for ships plying international routes having a berth length of 400 meters, a width of 26.26 meters and a berthing depth of 10.50 meters.
  • The Iloilo Domestic Port (formerly the Old Foreign Pier)
The Iloilo Domestic Port or popularly known as "Fort/Port San Pedro", serves inter-island passenger and cargo ferries which serves the routes Manila, Bacolod, Cebu, Zamboanga and Cagayan de Oro. It is located near Fort San Pedro and the mouth of Iloilo River at the City Proper district. It is also the port of call for several domestic shipping companies such as SuperFerry, Negros Navigation, Sulpicio Lines, Cokaliong Shipping, Trans-Asian Shipping and others. The colloquial name "Port San Pedro" refers to the old Spanish fort besides it that was destroyed during World War II.
  • Muelle Loney/Iloilo River Wharf
It is the original port of the city. Opened to international trade in 1855, it has served as the trans-shipment docks for muscovado sugar in the late 19th to the first half of the 20th century. It has undergone several times of expansion and improvement. Today, it serves smaller cargo ships, roll-on roll-off ferries bound for Guimaras and Negros Island and fast ferries that ply Iloilo-Bacolod route regularly.
  • Iloilo-Guimaras Jetty (Banca) Ports
Jetty ports for Guimaras outrigger ferries are located at Calle Ortiz and Parola. The terminal at Calle Ortiz serve Jordan, Guimaras-bound passenger and cargo outrigger boats, while Parola terminal serve Buenavista, Guimaras-bound ferries. On the other hand, the City Government of Iloilo plans to construct a modern ferry terminal serving Iloilo and Guimaras through public-private partnership.[20]

Roll-on/roll-off ferry service, known in as RO-RO, is available from to Iloilo City. There is also a ro-ro service to Cebu via Negros. It is ranked third in terms of shipcalls at 11,853, fourth in cargo throughout at 491,719 million metric tons and fourth in passenger traffic at 2.4 million annually.


The presence of advanced telecommunications infrastructure not only makes the Philippines readily accessible through the Internet, but also allows investors to ignore limitations imposed by the inadequacy of physical infrastructure. Iloilo’s economy benefits from the presence of key players in the telecommunications industry, which provide the necessary “info-structure” for commerce.

Available communication services in Iloilo are: telephone services including domestic and international direct dial, facsimile; mobile communications, internet, telegraph and telex stations, post offices and other messengerial and courier services.

There are three (3) telephone service providers in Iloilo providing landline connections to almost all of the municipalities. These are: PLDT, INNOVE and BayanTel. These companies are capable of providing fiber optic, copper and microwave T1 and E1 lines.

Cellular telephone facilities are also provided by three (3) cellular companies namely SMART Communications, Globe and Sun Cellular.

Medical facilities

Among the top medical facilities of Iloilo City is the St. Paul Hospital, founded by the Dennis Joseph Dougherty, the American Bishop of Jaro who later became Archbishop of Philadelphia and Cardinal of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. There is also the Iloilo Mission Hospital, which was founded by American Protestant Missionaries in 1901 as the first mission and Protestant hospital in the country, Iloilo Doctor's Hospital, West Visayas State University Medical Center (formerly the Don Benito Lopez Memorial Hospital), Amosup Seamen's Hospital; the Western Visayas Medical Center, St. Therese Hospital, The Medical City – Iloilo (formerly Saviour International Hospital) and Western Visayas Medical Center.

Soon to cater to the emerging health needs of the city are the Medicus Medical Center and the Park Medical Center.

The Iloilo City Emergency Responders is a response unit established in 2003 which caters to emergency cases within the city. It has provided a hotline that would expedite emergency response similar to that of United States' 911.



Hiligaynon is the language spoken in Iloilo City. English is used as the language of business and education. In addition, Tagalog and other local dialects such as Karay-a (also known as Kinaray-a) are also spoken. Spanish is still spoken by the elderly and some wealthy families and also the elder members of the micro-community of sugar-plantations related families. The Spanish language was the official language of Iloilo since the colonial period and it was removed in the 70's, But it is still been spoken. Hiligaynon is part of the Austronesian language branch spoken in Western Visayas, It was heavily influence and based on the Spanish language and it's orthography. The Austronesian languages are a family of languages widely dispersed throughout the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, with a few members on continental Asia. Hiligaynon is concentrated in the provinces of Iloilo and Negros Occidental.

The language is referred to as "Ilonggo" or "Ilongo/Ylongo" in Iloilo and in Negros Occidental. More precisely, "Ilonggo" is an ethno-linguistic group referring to the inhabitants of Iloilo and the culture associated with native Hiligaynon speakers. The distinction between the terms, Ilonggo and Hiligaynon, is unclear.


Iloilo City has numerous fiestas and events, from the barangay religious feasts all the way to a city-wide mardi-gras. The city itself has four main festivals which are secular, cultural, and religious in nature. These are held during the "festival season" in the months of January and February.[21]

  • Dinagyang Festival (every 4th weekend of January)
The Dinagyang is a religious and cultural festival in Iloilo City, Philippines held on the fourth weekend of January, is the city's largest festival and is held to honor the Santo Niño, and to celebrate the arrival on Panay of Malay settlers and the subsequent selling of the island to them by the Atis. The highlight of this week-long revelry is the street dance competition.[22]
  • Jaro Fiesta/Candelaria Fiesta (every February 2)
Jaro Belfry during Jaro Fiesta.
Jaro's celebration of the Feast of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria (Our Lady of the Candles), the Patroness of Western Visayas, every February 2. The celebration religious celebration, which is well-known in the Philippines, is also an occasion of more secular events like the pageantry of the daughters of the rich families in the District during the coronation of the Jaro Fiesta Queen, and cockfigthing.
  • Paraw Regatta (3rd week of February)
the Paraw Regatta is a race among seafarers on colorful sailboats called Paraws (claimed as the oldest traditional seacraft in Asia) in the Iloilo Strait between Guimaras Island and the city of Iloilo.[23] The present-day Paraw managed to maintain its original design from the sailboats of the first settlers from Borneo who were in search of a peaceful home in 1212 A.D. Surviving centuries, the paraws have become a vital part of the Filipino seafaring life. The first race started in 1973 with the mission to preserve the historic value of the paraws. It is held every 3rd weekend of February at Villa Arevalo District in Iloilo City. Today, the event has grown from being a boat race to a festival with various interesting and exotic activities.
  • Chinese New Year (variable)
Chinese lion dancers pass by Arroyo Fountain at Chinese New Year Celebrations in Iloilo City
Celebrated by Ilonggos of Chinese descent, the festivity is highlighted by cultural presentation of the Chinese schools in the city, Chinese food festival and grand fireworks display.


The city and the province of Iloilo is served by mostly tabloid-type English newspapers such as Panay News, The Daily Guardian, News Express, and Sunstar Iloilo. Hublas of Panay News is the sole Hiligaynon tabloid newspaper. It has one glossy,full color magazine established in 1989,CREAM Magazine.

Iloilo City is the main headquarters and the flagship of Bombo Radyo Philippines, which owns Bombo Radio AM stations and Star FM stations across the country. Being the urban center of the province, most of the AM and FM radio stations serve the province of Iloilo and Guimaras, mostly local stations of national radio stations.

In 2004, ABS-CBN launched TV-10 serving Iloilo City and the neighboring towns. GMA Network also has TV-6 as their local television station serving Iloilo City, Guimaras and Panay Island provinces and some parts of Negros Occidental. The government television station, NBN (VHF 2) and IBC (VHF 12) are also broadcasting local programs for Iloilo. In the first quarter of 2010, QTV-28 Iloilo (UHF 28) & UNTV-42 (UHF 42) commenced operations in the city. Aksyon TV UHF 34 of NBC/TV5 and TV5 UHF 46, reported to broadcast soon. Some network also announce there plans to broadcast are SMNI on UHF 30 and GNN on UHF 54.


Iloilo is the educational center of Western Visayas. St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary, the first institution of Higher Education in the Region, was established in the City, through the Papal Bull of Pope Pius IX, dated 27 May 1865. In this Seminary Ilonggo heroes and many distinguished citizens, such as Graciano Lopez Jaena, Martin Delgado, Archbishop Gabriel Reyes, and Jaime Cardinal Sin, obtained their education.

The City also boasts of the presence of state universities and colleges such as The University of the Philippines Visayas, West Visayas State University, and Western Visayas College of Science and Technology. There are six private universities: University of San Agustin which is managed by the Order of Saint Augustine Fathers located in the city proper, the Protestant founded Central Philippine University (Baptist) in Jaro district, University of Iloilo, St. Paul University which is managed by the Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres and John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University with its flagship on maritime courses.

Iloilo is also home to numerous private colleges and schools such as the Iloilo Doctors College, Western Institute of Technology (WIT), De Paul College, AMA Computer University, STI, Informatics, ACSI College Iloilo, ABBA Institute of Technology, Iloilo Central Commercial High School, Sun Yat Sen High School, Cabalum Western College, Ateneo de Iloilo, Assumption Iloilo run the Congregation of the Religious of the Assumption, Ateneo de Iloilo – Santa Maria Catholic School run by the Society of Jesus, Angelicum School Iloilo run by Order of Preachers, Philippine Science High School-Western Visayas, and one PAREF affiliated high school, Westbridge School for Boys, Colegio de las Hijas de Jesus which is run by the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus, or simply Hijas de Jesus, Colegio de San Jose, and Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus which are both run by the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul. The city government mulls to establish the Iloilo City Community College in Molo District.[24]

The Department of Education – Division of Iloilo City covers 88 private schools[25] and 52 public schools.[26]


Iloilo City's urban planning and architecture reflect the plans of the Spanish colonial and the American colonial administrations. Since Iloilo City is a conglomeration of towns, the districts have their own plaza complexes or town squares which are surrounded by establishments of political and ecclesiastical influence, such as churches and old administrative halls. In 1930, Juan M. Arellano of the Bureau of Public Works designed the schematic plan for Iloilo City, which was influenced by Ebenezer Howard's "Garden City."[27]

Historical sites

Jaro Cathedral Facade.
Jaro Cathedral Belfry. One of the few freestanding bell towers in the country.
Molo Church 
A Gothic renaissance church made of coral rock, located three kilometers from the City proper. It was completed in 19th century. The church, which is also referred to as the "Church of Women" because of the statues of women saints that decorate its pillars, was visited by Jose Rizal on hi way to exile in Dapitan, Mindanao.
Jaro Cathedral 
The seat of Jaro Archbishopric (comprising the Metropolitan Ecclesiastical Province of Western Visayas). The Cathedral, which is dedicated to St. Elizabeth of Hungary, is famous for its Shrine of Our Lady of Candles which, according to pious tradition has been miraculously growing. The devotees of the Blessed Virgen, who invoke her under this title of "Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria" come in thousands during her feast day, 2 February. The image was canonically crowned by His Holiness Pope John Paul II, during the Roman Ponriff's visit to Jaro in 1981. Until the present, the miraculous image is the only sacred icon in the Philippines ever crowned personally by a Pope.
Jaro Belfry 
One of the few belfries in country that stands apart from the church. It was constructed by the Spaniards to serve also as a watchtower to monitor Muslim invasion from Mindanao. The colonial structure was ruined by an earthquake in 1948, but was restored decades later, in the mid-1990's.
St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary 
The first institution of higher education in Western Visayas. Following the Papal Bull of Pope Pius IX, dated 27 May 1865, the Dominican Bishop Mariano Cuartero, O.P., the first Bishop of Jaro, laid the foundation of this seminary in 1869, in honor of St. Vincent Ferrer.
University of San Agustin 
An institution of Catholic Higher Education founded on July 15, 1904 by Spanish Augustinian friars belonging to the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus of the Philippines and their American confreres from the Augustinian U.S. Province of St. Thomas of Villanova. Elevated as a University on 1 March 1953, the University of San Agustin holds the title as the "First University in Western Visayas".
Central Philippine University 
The first Protestant higher education institution in Iloilo, which was founded by the Baptist missionary, Rev. William Orison Valentine. Central Philippine University (CPU) is a non-stock, non-profit Christian institution of higher learning in Iloilo City, Iloilo, Philippines. It was founded in 1905 by American Baptist missionaries as an elementary school for poor boys which eventually opened up a high school in 1920. It converted into a college in 1923 and attained university status in 1953. CPU is the home to the largest library in Western Visayas, the Henry Luce III Library, with more than 200,000 volumes including holdings of special collections like the 40,000 United Nations documents, World War II documents, American Studies Resource Center, Meyer-Asian Collection, Food and Agriculture Organization and Elizabeth Knox Sacred Music Collection. CPU is also the pioneer in Nursing Education in the Philippines. In 1906, the Union Mission Hospital (now Iloilo Mission Hospital) set the stage for nursing as a profession in this country. Nursing education in the Philippines was pioneered by Dr. and Mrs. Andrew Hall, Presbyterian missionaries. Like other professions, nursing in the Philippines evolved from the apprenticeship system. The apprentice system laid the foundation upon which the Iloilo Mission Hospital School of Nursing (then Central Philippine College-College of Nursing and now Central Philippine University College of Nursing) was built and after which other schools of nursing were patterned.
Villa Lizares/Angelicum School Iloilo 
The imposing building, which was once the mansion and villa of the Lizares Family. It is one of the most beautiful mansions in Iloilo. The Lizares mansion was sold to the Dominican Order of the Philippines in the late 1970s, and is now the seat of Angelicum School Iloilo- a private, Catholic school run by the Order of the Preachers (Dominicans), who made the school a pioneer in a non-graded, open-classroom education system in the Philippines. The Angelicum is the most popular landmark visited by local folks every Christmas because of the fabulous display of Christmas lights that decorate each inch of the Lizares Mansion – its oldest building set within a sweeping lawn of green grass – the main feature of the panoramic view of the school.
Distrito Jaro 
The old section of the City boasts of the mansions and Hispano-Filipino houses of the sugar barons and elite families during the Spanish regime. It is also seat of Catholicism in Western Visayas.
Archbishop's Palace 
(Spanish: Palacio del Arzobispo) The residence of the Archbishop of Jaro. It is located southwest of the Jaro Cathedral and southeast of the Jaro Plaza.
Calle Real (Downtown Iloilo City Heritage District) 
Old buildings that were constructed in the Commonwealth era in J.M Basa (Calle Real), Iznart, Aldeguer and Guanco were declared as a heritage site of Iloilo. It showcases the unique architecture of the downtown area.
Museo Iloilo 
Repository of Iloilo's cultural heritage.
Muelle Loney 
The River Port of Iloilo named after British Consul Nicholas Loney, who is considered the father of sugar industry in Panay and Negros. Protected by the Island of Guimaras from typhoons, Muelle Loney is one of the safest harbours in the Country. It was opened to international market in 1855.
Arroyo Fountain 
The regional kilometer zero point.
Jaro Evangelical Church, 
The first Baptist Church in the Philippine Islands established by the Northern Baptists (now American Baptist Churches).
La Villa Rica de Arevalo 
6 kilometers southwest of city proper; 2nd capital of the Alcaldia of Panay; flower and firecracker district of Iloilo City. This is also home to the 3rd oldest image of the Sto. Nino in the Philippines. Also found in the plaza is the replica of the crown given by the Spanish Queen Isabela in 1896.

Night spots Smallville Entertainment Complex in Mandurriao district is famed in Iloilo City to be the center of night life activities. Hotels such as Westown Hotel and Convention Center, Iloilo Business Hotel and newly opened Smallville21 Hotel are located here. It is home to several bars, clubs, cafés and restaurants.

Paseo Iloilo of Robinsons Place Iloilo is located in De Leon Street in the City Proper district. Several bars and restaurants are located there.

Paseo de Arcangeles is home of bars and resto such as Stufyerface, B-code, Langford others u/c.

Notable people

see List of People from Iloilo


  1. ^ a b c d e Fernández, Juan; Jose Espinoza Jr. (2006). Monografias de los pueblos de la Isla de Pan-ay. Iloilo City: University of San Agustin Pub. House. p. 220. ISBN 9789710381050. 
  2. ^ Philippine National Statistics Office (2007). "Census of the Republic of the Philippines 2007". Government record. Government of the Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  3. ^ City to recognize Lapuz as separate district from La Paz. (2008-12-22). Retrieved on 2011-11-07.
  4. ^ Real Decreto de La Reina Regente Maria Cristina (Marzo 1, 1898) in Gaceta de Mardrid,No. 63, 4 Marzo 1898, p. 750.
  5. ^ a b TIF file
  6. ^ a b c d Lopez Group Foundation (2008). Iloilo: A Rich and Noble Land. Pasig City, Philippines: Benpres Publishing. p. 278. ISBN 9719390409. 
  7. ^ The actual words of the Royal Decree says: "A propuesta del Ministro de Ultramar, y teniendo en cuenta el creciente desarrollo que en la industria y el commercio ha alcanzado la cabecera de la provincia de Ilo-Ilo, la más importante de las islas de Filipinas, despues de la de Manila; En nombre de mi Augusto Hijo el Rey D. Alfonso XIII, y como Reina Regente del Reino, Vengo en conceder el titulo de la Ciudad á la cebecera de Ilo-Ilo, en dichas islas. Dado en San Sebastian á cinco de Octubre de mil ochocientos ochenta y nueve. Maria Cristina" Cf. Decreto Real de la Reina Regente Maria Cristina (5 Octubre 1889) en Gazeta de Madrid, N. 298, 25 Octubre 1889, p. 238.
  8. ^ TIF file
  9. ^ Funtecha, Henry (2000). "The Urbanization of the Town of Iloilo, 1865–1900". Selected Papers on Cities in Philippine history (Philippine National Historical Society): 89–108. 
  10. ^ "Queriendo dar una prueba de Mi Real aprecio á la ciudad de Ilo Ilo por su honoroso proceder con motivo de haber sido la primera que presentó voluntarios para combatir la insurrección de Filipinas; a propuesta del Ministro de Ultramar, de acuerdo con Mi Consejo de Ministros; En Nombre de Mi augusto Hijo el Rey D. Alfonso XIII, y come Reina Regente del Reino, Vengo en conceder á dicha ciudad el dictado de «Muy Noble», como recompensa á su conducta y estimulo para el porvenir. Dado en Palacio á primero de Marzo de mil ocho-cientos noventa y ocho." These were the actual words (in Spanish) of the Royal Decree honoring the City with the title "Muy Noble" (Most Noble). Real Decreto de La Reina Regente Maria Cristina (Marzo 1, 1898) in Gaceta de Mardrid,No. 63, 4 Marzo 1898, p. 750.
  11. ^ The Iloilo culmination of the declaration of Philippine Independence. (2008-06-06). Retrieved on 2011-11-07.
  12. ^ The incident in Plaza Libertad shows the nobility of the Ilonggos, with whom a great Country like Spain could deal with in an honorable way, and through whom the former colonizers handed over the final affirmation of the inevitable transition of recognizing the birth of a new nation. In Plaza Libertad, the Ilonggos taught the world, in a noble way, how the value of love for one's people could have primacy over alliance with friends.
  13. ^ Commonwealth of the Philippines (1937). Commonwealth Act No. 158 – An Act Creating the City of Iloilo/Charter of Iloilo City. Manila. 
  14. ^ McCoy, Alfred (1982). "A Queen Dies Slowly". Philippine Social History : Global Trade and Local Transformations (Ateneo de Manila University Press): 289–358. 
  15. ^ a b c d e Socio-Economic Profile 2004 of Iloilo City, The City Government of Iloilo, 2004 
  16. ^ Espejo, Jr., Boy. "Pacifico Sudario: The man who coined "Dinagyang"". Sun.Star Network Online. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  17. ^ "City to recognize Lapuz as separate district from La Paz". The News Today. 22 December 2008. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  18. ^ City Government of Iloilo (2010). "Socio-Economic Profile 2010". 
  19. ^ Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (1 March 2010). "Philippine Airports Passenger Movement CY 2009 Report". Retrieved 26 October 2010. 
  20. ^ Pendon, Lydia (24 August 2010). "International firms eye Iloilo infra projects". SunStar Iloilo (Iloilo City, Philippines). Retrieved 26 October 2010. 
  21. ^ (in English) (MPEG) Iloilo – City of Festivals Promotional Video (Part 1) (Youtube). Iloilo City, Philippines: City Tourism and Development Office of Iloilo. 2007. Archived from the original on 10 December 2007. Retrieved 02 November 2010. 
  22. ^ Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation Inc.. "The Iloilo Dinagyang". Retrieved 3 November 2010. 
  23. ^ Grant, Jonathan. "The Iloilo Paraw Regatta". Retrieved 2 November 2010. 
  24. ^ "P25-M city college soon to rise; P10-B hanging bridge proposed". The News Today (Iloilo City, Philippines). 27 October 2010. Retrieved 3 November 2010. 
  25. ^ Philippine Department of Education. "Masterlist of Private Schools Schools in Region VI, SY 2007–2008". Retrieved 3 November 2010. 
  26. ^ Philippine Department of Education. "Masterlist of Public Schools Schools in Region VI, SY 2007–2008". Retrieved 3 November 2010. 
  27. ^ Iloilo City Cultural Heritage Conservation Council, Republic of the Philippines Iloilo City Conservation Planning and Development Guidelines for the Downtown Central Business District (CBD)Heritage Zone, pp. 16–17,, retrieved 04 November 2010 

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