A Weekend in Iloilo City

Iloilo City Travel Blog

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I went to Iloilo City last July for a friend's wedding. It was my first time in that city, and in Panay Island in general.

My first impression when the plane landed was, "Wow, they've got a very nice airport!" It's true folks, Iloilo's airport is waaay better than that of Manila. I mean, very new, clean, and well-organized. It was built in the middle of a wide-open field about 45-60 minutes from the city proper. Very nice welcome for a weary traveler indeed!

The city is quite sizable, with very minimal traffic jams. It's such a welcoming change from the hustle-and-bustle of Manila, and you can enjoy the fresh air wherever you go, even when driving (something you can never do in Manila, unless you're looking for a major asthma attack). I stayed with a host family so I didn't get the chance to check out the numerous hotels scattered all over the city, but I've heard from the locals that they are really cheap. Transportation is very affordable too, and you can go to any part of the city without wasting an entire day. If I'm not mistaken, Iloilo is one of the biggest cities in the south, so common amenities are available as in other cities in the country.

And need I mention that they have SM Malls there?!? Hehehe. One cannot go to any city in the country without seeing an SM Mall, with the exception of a few smaller ones. So if you want to do some shopping, you can definitely do it in Iloilo. There are other malls in the city and some flea markets as well, but I wasn't able to go to any of them since malling/shopping was not in my agenda and definitely not in my budget. In fact, I was only able to see SM because that's where my hosts (the groom and his brother, no less) picked me up.

In addition, Iloilo has it's own version of Eastwood City called Smallville (for those who don't know Eastwood City, it's a party hotspot in Quezon City). The bars, clubs, and restos are pretty neat, but they don't stay open very late (or so I've heard). They even said that it's pretty much deserted on Sundays. Anyway, if you're looking for a taste of Iloilo nightlife, you should definitely go to Smallville, preferably on a Friday or Saturday night. Oh, by the way, there are a couple of good hotels within the area. I found this website where you can check some of the available hotels in the city: http://www.pbase.com/hammerslag/iloilo&page=4.

We also went to a beach resort called Sol Y Mar (that's sun and sea in English) in Tigbauan, about 30-45 minutes from the city. We went there twice and it was fun although both times the waves were quite big because of a brewing storm. There were small cabanas and some hammocks all over the place, and comfort/changing rooms in the resort were nice and clean. The sand was ok, a little bit on the brownish-grayish side, and kinda coarse. Water was ok too, but it could've been better had the weather been good. But all in all, a fun and relaxing experience. Just don't expect too much (I didn't).

Finally, we went to a seafood restaurant for a very sumptuous dinner. Sorry I can't recall the name of the place. But the food was really nice and reasonably-priced. Too bad I didn't have a camera back then, so this could all be a product of my imagination hehehe. I'll definitely come back though, and next time, I'll make sure to explore not just Iloilo but the entire island of Panay. Maybe when I go to Boracay later this year, who knows? Do you? Cheers! :D

JeAr says:
thanks for the info! :)
Posted on: Sep 17, 2008
geoland says:
On your next visit, try mo Breacktrough kung trip mo seafood! Try their grilled MANAGAT!
Posted on: Sep 15, 2008
JeAr says:
ay kuya, ala ngang pics eh, badtrip! sinama ko lang yan kasi enjoy ako dun sa iloilo, so i guess it's worth mentioning :)
Posted on: Feb 19, 2008
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Iloilo City
photo by: mabby