Words by Misha Fabian
Located in Western Visayas just south of the province of Capiz lies the beautiful province of Iloilo. Famous for its many architectural landmarks and its sumptuous food, Iloilo is definitely a place one must visit when in the Philippines. However, if you’re only working with a quick weekend trip and have only 24 hours to spend in this lovely city, no worries as that doesn’t mean you can’t make the best out of it!
Here is a one-day itinerary of things to do if you only have 24 hours in Iloilo:
Visit Miagao Church
You can start your day with a visit to Miagao Church, also known as Santo Tomas de Villanueva Parish Church. It is located in Miagao, Iloilo. This church was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site on December 11, 1993 and is one of Iloilo’s most popular tourist sites. Miagao Church boasts of intricately designed facades and was structured to be like a fortress back in the late 1700’s. The carvings on the church’s facade depict the daily lives of the citizens of Miagao.
Eat a bowl of La Paz Batchoy
If there is one thing you should eat when in Iloilo, it is this. La Paz Batchoy. This hearty soup is a big Pinoy favorite, but it originated in Iloilo, as well as many other Filipino classic dishes. But, La Paz Batchoy remains to be this city’s most popular dish. Many eateries around the city proper serve La Paz Batchoy, but the most popular stalls are the following: Netong’s, which is found inside the La Paz Market, Ted’s, and Deco’s. The last two stalls are both located by the road. A bowl of La Paz Batchoy typically costs somewhere around P50.00 – P80.00 and is very filling, making for a very sulit meal.
Take a trip to the Museum of Contemporary Art
Aside from the usual tourist destinations, Iloilo now has a Megaworld Township or the Iloilo Business Park. Aside from malls, it is also the place where you can check out the Museum of Contemporary Art. It is a cool space where you can check out personal collections from the people of the Province and some are museum-owned. Watch out for the works of Filipino National Artists and of course some international artists like Salvador Dali.
Take a side trip to Guimaras
After eating a hearty meal and strolling around the La Paz district, one can take a side trip to the island of Guimaras, known as home to the sweetest mangoes in the country. One could take a boat ride from Ortiz Wharf in Iloilo to the Jordan Wharf in Guimaras, which only takes fifteen minutes in total and costs somewhere around P20.00. The boat rides are every fifteen minutes and there are rides throughout the entire day. Once in Guimaras, one can take a land tour or go island hopping, whichever one would be preferred. The last boat ride back to Iloilo city departs at 6:30 p.m.
Party at Smallville Complex
Once back in the city, one can opt to enjoy the nightlife of Iloilo which is most celebrated in the Smallville Complex. The area is considered as Iloilo’s nightlife capital where tourists and locals alike mingle over food, drinks, and music. The area is scattered with restaurants, bars, and dance halls where prices range from budget-friendly to pricey. Many of the establishments are open until the wee hours of the morning so visitors are sure to get their fix of entertainment before the night is over. After that, you can kick back and relax at hotels nearby like Richmonde Hotel or Courtyard by Marriott.
There are so many wonderful things to be seen and done in the province of Iloilo, and while one day might not be able to do it justice, it is enough to take a glimpse into the Ilonggo life. These four activities can give you a taste of what the province has to offer and would definitely leave you wanting to experience more.