What makes Iloilo a unique tourist destination?
Legends say that in the island of Madia-as lies a province where the sun kisses the sea, the waves touches the mountains and wind dances with fire.
Named after a river which is shaped like a nose, Iloilo inhales the glory of racial diversification and exhales the products of cultural and tribal artistry.
Each Ilonggo face, speaks of a history worth reminiscing. The Chinitas and their oriental mien, dances with the dragon with skin as white as porcelain and eyes which reflect the early rays of the rising sun. The Spanish Mestizas and their European appeal give the atmosphere an unusual view which blends very well with Iloilo’s colonial milieu. The Brown Malays and their exotic smiles fill the air with delight and hospitability. Their dark hair paints the wind and their golden skin reflects the sun’s rays intimately. The Aetas and their tropical grandeur overflows with history, as their sun baked color emerges from a crowd driven by similar faces.
Iloilo comes in varied facades, here is place clashed with oriental and western influence from high towers of Cathedrals to the dragon-statued roofs of Chinese temples; from European mansions to Asian promenades… Iloilo is truly a showcase to the world.
Iloilo environs colonial architecture from Baroque to Gothic to Neoclassic. Like Miagao Church, a true Filipino-Baroque edifice which stands out with a classic golden entreaty; or the convent of Sta. Barbara which transports a tourist in a timeline bordered with fossil stones and statuary patios.
Iloilo’s skyscape is also conquered with majestic belfries sheltering ancient instruments of religious music, like the spires of Molo Church which limits Iloilo City’s modernity into an ancient historical view; or the domed towers of Cabatuan Church which welcomes onlookers with it’s baroque-renaissance splendor overlaid with solid red bricks that contrasts the blue skies; and the belfry of Jaro which guards Iloilo’s colonial capital, as it dominates the district’s cityscape.
The beauty of their interiors also give these churches a must see eminence, like the rococo- gothic interior of San Jose Church which blends with different colors of ancient beauty; and the well painted Jaro Cathedral which glows with eternal prestige.
The province’s magnificence doesn’t even end within it’s colonial remnants, but extends to natural esplanades like the white beaches of the north, where virgin caves awaits to be unveiled; or waterfalls and their numerous subsistence within the island’s soil highlight every road trip and refreshes not only the throat by the eyes as well. Furtive lakes between mountainous peaks give tourists awe and amazement as they encounter these places unknown to brochures and guidebooks.
Here is a place of sounds, were cheers of strength, courage and power ooze with heart dominating music from drums and gongs.
Here is a place of Divinity conquered with stonewalled chapels, basilicas and cathedrals that will demand a remark.
Here is a place that never fails to welcome guests with smiles and romantic tongues; a place of worthy people which are the real assets of this wonderful province.
So what makes Iloilo a unique Tourist destination?
Come and See Iloilo, the heart of the Philippines.
By Gian Carlo Alvarez