Things To Do and Sites to See In Iloilo and Backpacking To Get There
Iloilo is a province in Panay with Iloilo City as its capital city. Home to centuries old churches, the province of Iloilo is situated in Western Visayas region in the Philippines. If Cebu has Sinulog Festival and Aklan has Ati-Atihan Festival, Iloilo has Dinagyang Festival. All 3 festivals are held in honor of Santo Nino and is celebrated every January.
|Garinfarm Pilgrimage is one of the fastest tourist attractions in Iloilo today. It is situated in San Joaquin, Iloilo. When you reached the top, you get goosebumps. The feeling is so surreal. Indescribable!|
|Dinagyang Festival - Photo: https://calendarofeventsguide.com|
BACKPACKING ILOILO TOURIST SPOTS
The transport system in Iloilo is very convenient and I was very comfortable using jeepneys on my travels to most of the destinations/attractions mentioned below. TIP: The way to do the tour is to start from the farthest town, in this case San Joaquin for Garinfarm and then break down your trip from there. If you love historical sites, this blog is for you.
DESTINATION 1: GARINFARM
As the name suggests, Garinfarm is a farm situated in the southern town of San Joaquin, Iloilo. Aside from it being a farm, it is also a place for pilgrimage and leisure activities. You can even stay there for a night or two. Cottage rooms range from Php1500-Php3500. Some of the activities that you can do there that goes with a separate fee include swimming, ziplining, horseback riding, boating, etc. Entrance Fee for Garinfarm is one hundred fifty pesos (Php150). Travel time from Iloilo City to Mohon Terminal is about 30 minutes and travel time to Garinfarm is 1 hour 30 minutes from Mohon Terminal.
HOW TO GO TO GARINFARM (1.) From Iloilo City, ride a jeepney bound for Mohon Terminal then disembark at the opposite side of Mohon Terminal (along the road). Fare is Php14 (2.) Along the road opposite Mohon Terminal, ride another jeepney bound for San Joaquin and disembark at the corner for San Joaquin Church. Fare is Php65 (3.) From that corner heading for San Joaquin Church, you will see a public market, ride a tricycle from there to bring you to Garinfarm. Fare is only P10 but if you don't want to wait for other passengers, you may want to charter it. Tip generously
DESTINATION 2: MIAG-AO CHURCH
Miag-ao Church aka the Church of Santo Tomas de Villanueva is a World Heritage Site and is one of the 4 Baroque Churches of the Philippines. It is situated in the southern town of Miag-ao, Iloilo. The other 3 Baroque Churches of the Philippines are: The Church of the Immaculate Conception of San Agustín aka San Agustin Church in Manila, Iglesia de San Agustín de Paoay or Paoay Church in Paoay, Ilocos Norte and Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion aka Santa Maria Church in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur.
HOW TO GO TO MIAG-AO CHURCH (1.) From Garinfarm, ride a tricycle to bring you to the corner for San Joaquin Church. If you want, you can do what I did, have the tricycle driver wait for you while doing your Garinfarm tour (2.) Along the road near the corner to San Joaquin Church, ride a jeepney bound for Iloilo City and disembark at Miag-ao Church. The church is along the road. Fare is Php15. If you are coming from Iloilo City, ride a jeepney heading for Mohon Terminal then disembark on the opposite side of the road fronting Mohon Terminal and ride another jeepney heading for Miag-ao or San Joaquin and disembark at Miag-ao Church.
DESTINATION 3: GUIMBAL CHURCH
Guimbal Church aka the Parish of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino is a parish church established in 1774. Guimbal is probably one of the thriving towns in Iloilo Province today.
HOW TO GO TO GUIMBAL CHURCH (1.) From Miag-ao Church, ride a jeepnery bound for Iloilo City. Fare is Php20 (2.) Disembark at Miag-ao Church. The church is beside Guimbal Municipal Hall and Plaza, across the road. If you are coming from Iloilo City, ride a jeepney heading for Mohon Terminal then disembark on the opposite side of the road fronting Mohon Terminal and ride another jeepney heading for Guimbal, Miag-ao or San Joaquin and disembark at Guimbal Church.
DESTINATION 4: TIGBAUAN CHURCH
Tigbauan Church aka the Parish of St. John of Sahagun survived the earthquake of July 13,1787 but the interiors of this church was destroyed by another earthquake in 1948 which was later decorated with mosaic in 1994. The church is situated in Tigbauan, Iloilo.
HOW TO GO TO TIGBAUAN CHURCH (1.) From Guimbal Church, ride a jeepnery bound for Iloilo City. Fare is 12 (2.) Disembark at Tigbauan Church. The church is along the road. If you are coming from Iloilo City, ride a jeepney heading for Mohon Terminal then disembark on the opposite side of the road fronting Mohon Terminal and ride another jeepney heading for Tigbauan, Guimbal, Miag-ao or San Joaquin and disembark at Tigbauan Church.
DESTINATION 5: MOLO CHURCH AND PLAZA
Molo Church aka St. Anne Parish Church is a Neo-Gothic colonial church built in 1831. Also known as the Feminist Church in the Philippines, Molo Church is situated in San Pedro St, Molo, Iloilo City.
HOW TO GO TO MOLO CHURCH (1.) From Tigbauan Church, ride a jeepnery bound for Iloilo City. Fare is 14 (2.) Disembark at Mohon Terminal. (3.) From Mohon Terminal, ride another jeepney heading for Iloilo City and tell the driver if it passes by Molo Plaza. (I forgot the fare, sorry. Just prepare P15). If you are coming from Iloilo City, ride any jeepney that passes by Molo Plaza.
DESTINATION 6: JARO CATHEDRAL
Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral aka the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Candles was built in 1874 and is situated in Jaro District, Iloilo City.
HOW TO GO TO JARO CATHEDRAL (1.) From Iloilo City Proper, ride a jeepney with the sign board Jaro-Liko or any jeepney passing by Jaro Cathedral. I came from Days Hotel Iloilo and fare was P8 (2.) Disembark at Jaro Cathedral.
DESTINATION 7: JARO BELFRY AND PLAZA
The Jaro Belfry and Plaza are situated on the opposite side of Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral. The Jaro Belfry aka Campanario de Jaro was originally built in 1744 and is one of the belfries in the Philippines that stood apart from the church.
|Jaro Belfry aka Campanario de Jaro and Jaro Plaza are located on the opposite side of Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral in Jaro District, Iloilo City.|
DESTINATION 8: PAVIA CHURCH
Pavia Church aka Sta Monica Parish Church is a church in the municipality of Pavia, Iloilo. This structure is also known as the Red Church made from bricks. Another thriving town in Iloilo today that is worth your exploration. When in Pavia, check out Aquafun at Robinsons Place, it is a water playground (no swimming pools) and entrance to Aquafun is Php400 for whole and Php150 for 1 hour; Php250 for 2 hours. Locker rental rate is Php50.
HOW TO GO TO PAVIA CHURCH (1.) This is how I get there. From Iloilo City, ride a jeepney with the sign board Jaro-Liko. Fare is Php8. (2.) Disembark at Jaro Plaza. At Jaro Plaza near Andoks and Seven Eleven, ride another jeepney bound for Pavia. Fare is Php12. (3.) Disembark at Pavia Church.
HOW TO GO TO AQUAFUN AND ROBINSONS PLACE PAVIA (1.) This is how I get there. From Iloilo City, ride a jeepney with the sign board Jaro-Liko. Fare is Php8. (2.) Disembark at Jaro Plaza. At Jaro Plaza near Andoks and Seven Eleven, ride another jeepney bound for Pavia. Fare is Php12. (3.) Disembark at Robinsons Place Pavia immediately after CityMall. Robinsons Pavia is on the opposite side of GT Town Center (one of the malls in Pavia, Iloilo).
DESTINATION 9: MEGAWORLD; FESTIVE WALK MALL
Megaworld is probably one of the newest attractions in Iloilo City. Home to Iloilo Business Park, Festive Walk Mall, Iloilo Convention Center, Casa de Emperador, Richmonde Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott, etc, this new business district is situated in Mandurriao, Iloilo City.
HOW TO GO TO MEGAWORLD/FESTIVE WALK MALL (1.) This is how I get there. I came from Days Hotel Iloilo and I walk myself at the back portion of the Atrium Mall then walk straight to the overpass near the corner of SM Delgado. (2.) Alongside SM Delgado Supermarket, ride a jeepney heading to Mandurriao/Megaworld. Just to be sure, tell the driver that you will be heading to Megaworld. (3.) Disembark at Megaworld/Festive Walk Mall. Fare if I remember it right is Php9
DESTINATION 10: ILOILO RIVER ESPLANADE
The Iloilo River Esplanade is such a long stretch spanning a distance of 1.2 kilometers from Diversion Road to Carpenter Bridge. If you have ample time, have a good hike and stroll along this place like I did, from one end to the other. This is just a few meters away from SM City Iloilo.
HOW TO GO TO ILOILO RIVER ESPLANADE (A.) If from the airport, ride a van bound for SM City Mandurriao and tell the driver to drop you off at the River Esplanade. Fare is I believe Php50 but prepare Php70. (B.) If from the city center, ride any jeepney bound for Mandurriao or Megaworld and tell the driver to drop you off at the River Esplanade. (C.) If you are somewhere near Delgado St or Valeria St, walk your way towards an overpass and alongside SM Delgado Supermarket, ride a jeepney bound for Mandurriao/Megaworld then disembark at the River Esplanade
|Boardwalk at Iloilo River Esplanade. Whenever you get hungry, stop by and have your fill at any of the restaurants there. The Boardwalk is near Diversion Road side of the River Esplanade.|
DESTINATION 11: ILOILO PROVINCIAL CAPITOL AND MUSEO ILOILO
On my last night in Iloilo I stayed at Days Hotel Iloilo, just a walking distance to the Capitol. Their Capitol is awaiting for your cameras, it looks gorgeous at night. Also within the vicinity is Museo Iloilo.
HOW TO GO TO ILOILO PROVINCIAL CAPITOL (A.) If you are staying at Days Hotel Iloilo, the capitol is just a close walking distance. (B.) If from the city center, ride any jeepney that passes by Iloilo Provincial Capitol.
DESTINATION 12: ISLAS DE GIGANTES
Islas de Gigantes is probably one of the top tourist attractions in Iloilo. If you love island hopping, this place is for you. Islas de Gigantes is situated up north in Carles, Iloilo. How to get to and around Islas de Gigantes. How these guys get to Islas de Gigantes via Cebu thru Maya Port
|Islas de Gigantes, Carles, Iloilo - Photo: https://fongleiadventures.wordpress.com|
DESTINATION 13: ILOILO BEACHES
Iloilo is also home to beautiful beaches. Aside from Islas de Gigantes in Carles, check out Concepcion Islands and Beaches.
DESTINATION 14: ILOILO CITY TOUR, MALLS AND OTHER TOWNS IN ILOILO
Iloilo City (aka the City of Love) and Iloilo Province have a lot of malls and attractions to behold and the attractions and towns not mentioned here are also worth your visit, all you have to do is to explore it to enjoy it. Check out Calle Real, Atria and many others.
|Plazuela de Iloilo - Photo: Plazuela de Iloilo|
|SM City Iloilo is situated alongside Plazuela de Iloilo in Benigno Aquino Avenue, Mandurriao. Also on this avenue, you'll find Gaisano Capital Iloilo City Center Mall.|
DESTINATION 15: LA PAZ
The district of La Paz is home to the very famous Iloilo specialty, La Paz Batchoy and the best place to taste it is in La Paz. Your trip to Iloilo would be more complete if you have tasted this ever famous Ilonggo recipe which is available provincewide at any eateries and food courts.
DESTINATIONS NEARBY: GUIMARAS, PANAY ISLAND AND NEGROS OCCIDENTAL PROVINCES
La Paz Batchoy is one of Iloilo's famous delicacy and what a better place to taste it is in La Paz District. You can check out Ted's Oldtimer La Paz Batchoy in Gaisano Capital in La Paz, just a few meters away from Iloilo Provincial Capitol. You can also find Ted's Oldtimer La Paz Batchoy in SM City Mandurriao, etc.
DESTINATIONS NEARBY: GUIMARAS, PANAY ISLAND AND NEGROS OCCIDENTAL PROVINCES
If you have plenty of time, you may want to explore the rest of Panay Island provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz or the nearby Negros Occidental and Guimaras Island. (How to go to Guimaras from Iloilo City) Some of the places you may want to visit are: Bacolod City, Campuestohan Highland Resort and The Ruins in Talisay City, San Carlos City or Boracay Island. Cebu to Bacolod Itinerary.
|Guimaras National Mango Research Center. Guimaras should be on your itinerary when exploring Iloilo. It is just 15 minutes boat ride from mainland Iloilo via Ortiz Wharf. When in Guimaras, remember to stop by The Pitstop for their ever famous Mango Pizza.|
|San Lorenzo Windmills in San Lorenzo, Guimaras (Guimaras Blog to follow soon)|
PLACES TO STAY IN ILOILO
Transport system in Iloilo City in Iloilo is pretty convenient but some of the best places stay are within the mall or a walking distance to the mall, some of those are Days Hotel Iloilo (attached to Atrium Mall near Iloilo Provincial Capitol), Go Hotels Iloilo (attached to Robinsons Place), One Lourdes Dormitel (walking distance to Robinsons Place), Injap Tower Hotel opposite SM City Iloilo or if you want you can stay at Richmonde Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott Hotel Iloilo in Megaworld area or at Seda Atria. Other places to stay in Iloilo.
HOW TO GO TO ILOILO FROM CEBU AND MANILA
- You can go to Iloilo by air from Cebu and Manila or from other key cities via a connecting flight. You can book a flight via Cebu Pacific Air, Philippine Airlines and Air Asia. By boat, you can go to Iloilo via 2GO Travel from Bacolod and Manila or via TransAsia from Cebu. Iloilo Ferry Guide, Seaports, Schedules and Routes.
- You will land in Iloilo in Iloilo International Airport in the town of Cabatuan. From the airport, ride a van bound for Iloilo City. Fare is Php50 they say but fare going back is P70 from SM City Mandurriao. (Just prepare Php70). If you are in a hurry, taxi cabs are widely available. Prepare Php500. If you travelled by boat, you should see a lot of public utility vehicles heading to the city center.
|Iloilo International Airport is situated in the Municipality of Cabatuan, Iloilo. Travel time from the airport to the city center is about 30 minutes.|
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