Iloilo Travel Guide

Iloilo Travel Guide

A travel guide to Iloilo, Philippines with essential tips on top tourist spots & things to do, how to get there, where to stay, and more. Updated for 2015.




Iloilo is a major travel and heritage destination located in heart-shaped Panay Island in Central Philippines. Its fertile land nourished a people, the Ilonggos, who are distinguished for the warm and romantic song-like melody of their spoken language, Hiligaynon.

Iloilo is often called as the “Heart of the Philippines.” This is especially true in its multifaceted collection of tourist spots and attractions. Iloilo’s rich heritage is showcased in its delicious cuisine, treasured historical buildings, cultural traditions, captivating natural landscapes, and in many exciting festivals celebrated throughout the province. Intrepid travelers who come to visit often discover that all the best reasons, why travelers love to visit the Philippines, can be experienced in Iloilo.

Iloilo can be reached on direct flights from major Philippine cities including Manila, Cebu, Davao, General Santos, Puerto Princesa, and Cagayan de Oro. Direct international flights are also available from Hong Kong and Singapore to the Iloilo Airport. By plane, travel time to Iloilo takes around 1 hour from Manila, 30 minutes from Cebu, 2 hours and 30 minutes from Hong Kong, and 3 hours and 30 minutes from Singapore.

Tourist Spots and Things to Do

Main guide: Iloilo Attractions

What are the best places to visit and things to do in Iloilo?

Enjoy a city tour of Iloilo – Iloilo City is a tourist hub where the best restaurants, museums, hotels, shopping districts, and nightlife in the province await. It is most known for the annual Dinagyang Festival, exquisite heritage sites, deliciously fresh seafood, and signature Ilonggo dishes. The city is also home to many Spanish-colonial churches, grand vintage houses, and old commercial and institutional buildings dating back to its heyday as the “Queen City of the South.”

Iloilo River Esplanade in Iloilo City, Philippines

Iloilo River Esplanade after sunset.

Molo Church in Molo, Iloilo City, Philippines

Molo Church and Plaza.

Angelicum School in Jaro, Iloilo City, Philippines

Angelicum School during Christmas Season.

Calle Real in Iloilo City, Philippines

International Hotel Building in Calle Real.

Discover Iloilo Province – Venture outside the city to experience Iloilo’s friendly countrysides and hidden gems. Iloilo Province is filled with many natural and cultural spots worth exploring. Picturesque beaches are scattered across the seafood rich waters of Northern Iloilo where the islands of Gigantes, Concepcion, Ajuy, and Sicogon beckon. The southern coast of Iloilo is lined well-preserved marine sanctuaries and many of the province’s oldest churches including Miagao Church and San Joaquin Church. For nature lovers, there are many refreshing waterfalls, hiking trails, and cool highland areas in Iloilo’s central mountains, just waiting to be discovered.

Pan de Azucar view from Agho Island, Iloilo, Philippines

Agho Island in Concepcion, Iloilo

Miagao Church in Iloilo, Philippines

Miagao Church

Viewing Deck, Bucari, Leon, Iloilo, Philippines

Bucari in Leon, Iloilo, Philippines

Gabugaw Gamay Island in Gigantes Islands, Carles, Iloilo, Philip

Gabugaw Gamay Island in Gigantes Islands, Carles, Iloilo

Savor a food tour of Iloilo – Food is undoubtedly Iloilo’s biggest year-round attraction. Most true-blooded locals will, without fail, offer to take you to eat at local restaurants or prepare a home-cooked Ilonggo meal if they find out that you’re a first-time visitor. Don’t miss out on savoring fresh seafood and Iloilo’s native cuisine, especially its signature dishes like La Paz Batchoy and Pancit Molo.

Netong's La Paz Batchoy in La Paz, Iloilo City, Philippines

La Paz Batchoy.

Experience Iloilo’s festivals – Almost all towns and cities in Iloilo celebrate grand festivals and town fiestas at least once a year. The Dinagyang Festival is the city’s biggest and most famous held every fourth week of January to honor the child Jesus and showcase Iloilo’s rich cultural heritage.

Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo City, Philippines

Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo City.

Go on a side trip to Guimaras – A 15-minute boat ride is all it takes to get to Guimaras Island from Iloilo City Proper. This province has a lot of worthwhile sights and activities to offer for visitors who are keen to enjoy its peaceful beaches, crowdless islands, biking trails, and famously sweet mangoes.

Alubihod Beach in Nueva Valencia, Guimaras

Alubihod Beach in Guimaras.

Hotels and Accommodations

Main Guide: Iloilo Accommodations

Where to stay in Iloilo? Take your pick from a wide range of places to stay in Iloilo from first class hotels, relaxing resorts, down to cheap budget pension houses, inns, guesthouses, and hostels.

Iloilo is known for its great value accommodations. Rates for mid-range hotels with standard 3 to 4-star amenities range from PHP1,600 to PHP2,600 per night for a room good for two people. Higher-end rooms start at around PHP4,000 per night. For backpackers on a low budget, cheap single fan rooms start at PHP150 per night while single air-con rooms start at around PHP400.

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Transportation in Iloilo

Main Guide: Iloilo Transportation

How to get to Iloilo? Iloilo is one of the most accessible cities in the Philippines. Iloilo can be reached by plane on regular commercial international flights from Hong Kong and Singapore to the Iloilo International Airport. Direct domestic flights connect Iloilo to major cities in the Philippines including Manila, Cebu, Davao, General Santos, Puerto Princesa, and Cagayan de Oro. Direct ferry routes and roll-on roll-off connections on the Philippines’ nautical highway are also available between Iloilo and all major cities in the country.

By plane, travel time to the Iloilo takes around 1 hour from Manila, 30 minutes from Cebu, 2 hours and 30 minutes from Hong Kong, and 3 hours and 30 minutes from Singapore.

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Places to Visit near Iloilo

Apart from its own collection of tourist attractions, Iloilo serves as a gateway to Western Visayas region and a favored stopover for tourists heading to the beaches of Boracay and the nearby Guimaras, Antique, Capiz, Aklan, Bacolod, and Negros Occidental.

Get Oriented

  • Iloilo is a province of the Philippines located in the central part of the Philippine archipelago. The province comprises the southeastern corner of Panay Island with island-province of Guimaras found off its coast.
  • Iloilo City is the capital and tourist hub of Iloilo Province. This fast-growing modern city is one of the largest urban centers in the Philippines.

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