Outdoor Activities In Iloilo – I can’t remember how many times I’ve been to Iloilo, but this city keeps drawing me back. Thanks to its endless adventure and inspiring natural beauty, Iloilo is now one of the Philippines’ favorite destinations. I also love how genuine and gentle Ilonggos make sure their tourists are safe and comfortable.
You’ve probably read dozens of articles on what to see and exciting activities to try in the city of love. Let me share with you my most recommended things to do in Iloilo that you should add to your travel itinerary. Read on!
Outdoor Activities In Iloilo
No trip to Iloilo is complete without passing by the famous Jaro Cathedral. Known as the oldest church in Iloilo, the architecture of Jaro Cathedral is very unique, with the bell tower opposite Jaro Plaza.
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This is one of the must-visit places in the city if you love architecture and history. In fact, religious devotees from all over the Philippines flock here to visit the 400-year-old miraculous image of Mother and Child. But not only that, it is also known as the ‘Church of the Sons’ of Iloilo because the male saints stand on two rows of pillars inside the church.
If you want some downtime to relax or see the sunset in Iloilo, you should visit the Iloilo River Esplanade. It is a multi-functional area that serves as an eco-park, fitness, and leisure venue perfect for locals and newcomers to the city. The city has put a lot of effort into rehabilitating the Iloilo River and promoting an active lifestyle among its locals.
Molo Church, or St. Anne’s Parish, is one of Iloilo’s most popular and photographed landmarks. It is also called a feminist church because the ensemble of female saints is represented only in the 16 statues that rest on the pillars. The church is said to have been built in 1831 using white coral and egg white rocks. Interesting!
Whenever I see batch stalls in Manila, it brings back my fondest memories of Iloilo, that’s why the first thing I do every time I visit the city is to go to Ted’s Batchoy near the airport. It is notable because the soup is usually mixed with round noodles, liver, kidney and heart, chicken broth, beef loin, and shrimp and garnished with chicharon and toasted garlic for a delicious aroma .
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Of course, I also visit my absolute favorite Batchoy place in La Paz Market – Netongs Original La Paz Batchoy.
Suppose you want to immerse yourself and enter the beautiful houses built under the Spanish colonial influence. If so, Camina Balay nga Bato on Osmeña Street in Villa de Arevalo Iloilo City is the place to go.
Here in this house, you will find relics, antique furniture, old photographs and religious altars. To add more excitement, this ancient house offers guests hot chocolate and molo pancit. In fact, you can also buy tablea and local artisanal products on the lower floor of the house. If you plan to visit this place, you can take a jeepney and tell them to take you to Panaderia de Iloilo.
The recently opened Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art (ILOMOCA) gives tourists more reasons to travel to the city of love. ILOMOCA, located within three floors of the Casa Emperador Building, is the first art institution in the region to showcase the works of Filipino and foreign modern and contemporary artists. Apart from works of art, there is also an exhibition for personal collections, a theatre, and an events facility with state-of-the-art sound technology.
Waterworld Iloilo (iloilo City)
Admission to ILOMOCA is Php 100 for regular visitors, Php 80 for seniors, and Php 50 for students.
Located along Ortiz Street in Iloilo City, the Philippine Museum of Economic History exhibits artifacts, photographs, documents and other important items that depict the rich economic history of Iloilo and the rest of the Philippines.
Aside from Iloilo’s famous batch, you can’t miss their Biscocho! It is crusty bread spread with butter and sugar or garlic. As a Filipino coffee lover, Biscocho is best eaten with coffee, especially for breakfast or as a snack at any time of the day.
Aside from most purchased items like key chains or shirts, Biscocho is the most popular pasalubong in Iloilo. For more pasalubong options, you can visit the Original Biscocho Haus.
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Who would have thought that heaven can be found in Iloilo? If you cross the southernmost town of Iloilo Province, you will visit Garin Farm, where the famous pilgrimage site of San Joaquin is located. The site includes a holy installation of large statues, saints, and nothing but white elements to portray the heavenly feel of the place. Need to enter the dark tunnel to reach the white end to reach the top. Make sure you bring your cap and sunglasses to protect you from the heat, especially at midday.
P.S. More than a pilgrimage site, this farm is also one of the most Instagrammable places to visit in Iloilo Province, so it’s best to include it in your itinerary.
Celebrate and join the Ilonggo people who freely participate in the world-class Dinagyang Festival, held every fourth Sunday in January. Some of the highlights of this festival include a street dancing competition, a cultural competition, and a fireworks display to end the event.
Explore the historic area of Iloilo and head to JM Basa Street, known as Calle Real. Here you will find old buildings that survived the Second World War, some of which have been converted into shopping centers and residences. Don’t forget to bring your cameras because some of these places are picture perfect!
The Ultimate Travel Guide To Iloilo
Iloilo is not only known for its Biscocho, Molo noodles, and soups but also famous for its Siopao! Try visiting Roberto’s at JM Basa St. Their shopping assortments range from regular, jumbo, king, and queen. Try the thick and sweet pork chop adobo.
I wouldn’t be surprised if you included the Gigantes Islands in your itinerary. It is a paradise like no other, and a must visit to know why it is a popular destination in Iloilo. Located in the northernmost part of the province of Iloilo, Islas de Gigantes is a paradise to visit if you love the beach and beautiful scenery. To get here, you can take a trip to Carles and Estancia.
Called an architectural wonder, the Miagao Church is also included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. It will take about 30-40 minutes by car from the city center if you want to visit it. It is a beautiful church with ornate carvings and two large watch towers on each side.
If you’re up for it, why not take a side trip to Guimaras? All it takes is a 15-minute ferry ride from the city’s port, and you’re on an exciting adventure. You can snorkel at Ave Maria Islet, take photos at Guisi beach and Tatlong Pulo Beach, visit Baras Cave, or take a walk at Alubihod Beach.
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Did you know that the sweetest mangoes in the world can be found in Guimaras? Visit the Guimaras Mango Farm and pick some mangoes for pasalubong, depending on the season. Mango season or not, don’t forget to try the Mango Pizza. It may sound strange, but your taste buds will definitely want more.
No trip to Iloilo is complete without experiencing its colorful nightlife. In fact, the city is full of bars, coffee shops, restaurants (Ilonggo, Seafood, Filipino, and Western-themed), and KTV bars that most locals and newcomers drop by to have fun and spent the rest of the night. It’s a popular entertainment and lifestyle hub you shouldn’t miss!
The trip from Jari to Leon should be included in your itinerary if you want to be closer to nature and seek adventure away from the city. Bucari Pine Forest and Campground is an ideal place for visitors who want to be in touch with nature at any time. Visitors can pitch their tent, ride their bikes to the campsite, and climb to the top for a spectacular view of the Alimodian and Leon mountain ranges.
Before you leave the city, another option is to drop by the Festive Walk Mall and shop till you drop! This is a perfect meeting place if your group wants to go their separate ways and meet up afterwards. It is also located between Richmonde Hotel Iloilo and McDonald’s IBP.
Best Iloilo Resorts And Hotels (beachfront, Island Resort, Farm Stay, Etc)
One of the famous landmarks of Iloilo is the Molo Mansion which is now a popular place for pasalubong. There is a Kultura stall and souvenir shop on the ground floor, and a painting exhibition on the second floor. This glorious mansion is definitely Instagram worthy! It also faces the Molo District Plaza, making it accessible to all tourists.
Check out our complete list of recommended hotels and resorts in Iloilo City, Philippines, through Agoda, or you can also view Airbnb properties available in the city.
Melo Villareal is an Online Publisher. He is an Accountant by profession who left the corporate world at the age of 23 to explore his beautiful country and the rest of the world. Today, Melo works as a part-time Social Media Manager for local and international clients. His full time job focuses on discovering interesting cultures, exploring different foods and