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Iloilo City: In and Around

PHILIPPINES | Wednesday, 11 March 2009 | Views [3406] | Comments [2]

The Friendly Ilonggos

The first day of my 12-day adventure brought me to the city of Iloilo. I had my first close encounter with an Ilonggo in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport while waiting for my flight. Mang Jim smiled at me and I smiled back. He and his nephew were flying back home. When I told them it was my first time in Iloilo and that I was traveling alone, they immediately informed me of the basic things I should know about the city.

My encounter with the friendly Ilonggos did not stop there. All of the people I tried to converse with actually spent time to talk to me, be it answering my questions regarding how to get somewhere or some small talk. From those I met, I immediately got free guided tours and some contacts for transportation. Ilonggos are really very friendly.

*Ilonggo - an individual from Iloilo; dialect used in Iloilo.

Iloilo Churches

Iloilo hsa an interesting history. During the Spanish era, it became one of the established settlements. This explains the awesome architecture seen in different structures around the place, especially their churches. Some of these structures have been preserved. I visited 5 churches in and around Iloilo City to witness the awesome architecture - Jaro Cathedral, Molo's St. Anne's Church, Guimbal Church, Tigbauan Church and the mighty Miag-ao church. View photos HERE.

The Jaro Cathedral

The Gothic Church of St. Anne in Molo

The Mighty Miag-ao Church

Gerald and His Pedicab

For PhP 100, I was able to ask a pedicab to show me around Jaro (one of the municipalities of Iloilo City) to see some of the old mansions.


Getting around the city is so simple. Jeepneys are everywhere and for PhP 7 one can go farther than 4 kilometers. The routes are also simple, if you get lost or forget where you should stop, just don't step out of the jeepney. It will come back where you rode it.

Note though, life in Iloilo is not as busy as in the other big cities. Life is more laid back here that nobody rushes, even jeepney drivers. I had funny experiences with those jeepney drivers. One stopped, got off the jeep, bought himself a bottle of cold water and chugged in the refreshment while we wait for about 3 minutes. One stopped for around 2 minutes to talk to a relative we ran into.

Iloilo Jeepney

Home Away from Home

I had limited budget for the trip so I tried to look for the cheapest hostel. I wanted to be adventurous so anything will do as long as it looked safe.

I stayed at Ong Bun pension house. It offers rooms for as low as Php 150 but when you want one with a television, it will be PhP 50 more expensive. Toilet and bath though are shared for these rooms.

I slept in the pension house for 2 nights in different rooms. The place is not great but at least it's well-maintained.

My First Rest Place

Ong Bun's Common T&B Area


I had batchoy for lunch and dinner. Batchoy places are just around the area - in the malls, along the streets and in the market. The most popular are Ted's and Deco's. I had no favorite, they almost tasted the same.

And Others....

Staying in Iloilo is relatively cheap. On my first day, I spent around PhP 700 - accommodation, airport transfer, jeepney fare going around and meals.

People there live a simple life. I observed that they still enjoyed hanging out in the plaza, talking to friends or just watching people. I spent an hour in the Molo plaza observing the people. I just can't avoid the smiles people gave me here and there.

You can view my World Nomads Iloilo album HERE.

Tags: backpacking, iloilo, jaro, miag-ao, molo



Hi Lorie Joy, happy to know you enjoyed your stay in my beloved hometown. You're a brave girl travelling alone. Anyhow, Iloilo is a safe place to go. I'm now living in San Diego, CA but I really miss ILOILO. Godbless.

  Rey Ledesma Jun 19, 2009 10:32 AM


Been to Iloilo numerous times. Lots of friendly people. I'm an American living in nearby Guimaras (another great place to visit) and visit Iloilo City to go shopping.

  Dave DeWall Dec 2, 2010 6:11 PM

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