Known as the heart of Iloilo City, City Proper houses the city’s seat of government which is the Iloilo City Hall. Iloilo Provincial Capitol, the Iloilo Province main government building is also located in city proper.
Among other districts, it has the most number of commercial establishments and several of these establishments have been running for decades.
What to See
This historic street is now officially called J.M. Basa Street but is still popularly known as “Calle Real” by many Ilonggos. Nicknamed “Escolta of Iloilo”, Calle Real is home to neo-classical, beaux-arts and art deco buildings. Even if some of the buildings have deteriorated due to neglect, the area remains to be the destination for budget-shoppers. The area has been restored in 2014 and continuous effort is being done to help preserve this heritage site.
Also known as the Old Capitol Building, Casa Real used to be the seat of office of the Provincial Government of Iloilo. The old edifice, which is made of wood and stone, was built during the Spanish era.
Presently, it is being used as venue for events being organized by the Provincial Capitol.
Eusebio Villanueva Mansion
Just across the New Provincial Capitol stands the Eusebio Villanueva Mansion. It still stands strong and intact up to this day. It’s not open for public, though.
Eusebio Villanueva Building
Not too far from the mansion is where the Eusebio Villanueva Building is stands. Located in the iconic Calle Real (now officially named as J.M. Basa Street), the building used to be a popular international hotel back in 1920’s. It was restored in 2012 and is now being used as commercial space.
When heading to Jordan, Guimaras, you surely can’t miss this mansion. You know you are in the right direction going to Ortiz wharf when you see this landmark. Apart from the grand structure, it is also noticeable for the eagle sculptures lining the property (hence the nickname “Eagle House”).
Old Provincial Jail
Built in 1911, the Old Provincial Jail gets a makeover and now serves as a museum which is now referred to as the Western Visayas Regional Museum. It has five galleries which will house interesting history and culture of the region.
Watch out for the “golden mask of Oton” which was excavated in the town of Oton in 1960’s and fossils believed to be of elephants found in the town of Cabatuan. Both are originally housed in the national archive.
Iloilo Provincial Capitol
This modern edifice amidst the old buildings such as the Casa Real, Old Provincial Jail and Ledesma Mansion is the seat of government of the Province of Iloilo. It is where the Provincial Governor and officials under him old office, regular sessions, and other matters concerning the province.
During Christmas season, the capitol is one of the attractions of Iloilo as it is lighted and decorated for the festivities.
San Jose de Placer Church
Although the first church was built in 1617, the current structure was built in 1873. This renaissance-designed church has Corinthian pillars supporting the nave and vaults over the aisle. The church houses the image of the Our Lady of the Holy Rosary and the replica of the image of Santo Nino of Cebu which is connected to the annual Dinagyang Festival.
Across San Jose de Placer Church lies Plaza Libertad. This historic spot is where the flag of the first Philippine Republic was raised after the military forces led by Gen. Martin Delgado triumphed over Spain.
Some Ilonggos probably didn’t know about the existence of Sunburst Park until the restoration started following the demolition of the old Freedom Grandstand. Sunburst Park was then referred to as Plaza de Aduana (aduana is the Spanish term for custom house) as it houses the historical custom building and its complementary garden. The newly-renovated park houses the 12-foot statue of Gen.Macario Peralta, Jr. as well as chess playground and park benches for everyone to enjoy.
Events and Festivals
Dinagyang Festival is one of the grandest events organized by the city government along with the Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation. The highlight, which is the Ati Tribe Competition, takes place every 4th Sunday of January. The event has become a week-long celebration, though, with so many activities being organized.
The world class event, which is in honor of Santo Nino, is religious and cultural in nature.
Chinese New Year Celebration
Considering the history of Chinese settlers in Iloilo and the number of Filipino-Chinese living in the city up to this day, it makes perfect sense if the city celebrates the annual Chinese Lunar New Year. In fact, it is considered as the second biggest Chinese New Year celebration in the country. The first is of course in Binondo, Manila – the oldest Chinatown in the world.
During the celebration, portions of the streets around and leading to Filipino-Chinese Friendship Arch in Iznart Street, are closed to vehicles to give way to activities such as parade and food festivals.
There are several ways to get around Iloilo City Proper.
Jeepney is the most common and cheapest way to get around Iloilo City. Minimum fare is P8.50. From city proper to almost all points of interest in the city, fare is only minimum.
Taxi is a convenient way to get around the city. You can hail a taxi almost anywhere and have it drop you to any spot in the city. Flag down is P40.00 and goes higher depending on your destination. When traveling within the city, know that it’s always metered. Never agree on a fixed price even if you are traveling from city proper to whatever district you are heading to. Fixed pricing is only commonly used when traveling from the city to different towns in the province.
To save you from having to hail a taxi on the street, you can call one of the several taxi operators to send a unit to pick you up from your place of origin. Here are some of the biggest operators with their contact numbers:
- GDR – (033) 321 1254
- Light of Glory – (033) 320 5147
- Quarry Taxi – (033) 501 0725
If you’re from the hotel, you can ask the front desk to contact a taxi for you.
If you are interested, you can rent a car to take you around. The cost of self-drive rental starts from P2,000 for 24 hours and can go higher depending on the type of car. For tour with a driver, rent starts at P3,500 for eight hours.
To explore the city on two wheels, you can rent a motorcycle that is being offered by several businesses such as Iloilo Motorcycle Rentals in Jaro. You can also use third party booking such as book2wheel.com.
Iloilo is a bike-friendly city. The stretch of Benigno Aquino Avenue (also known as Diversion Road) has lanes designated for bikers and joggers.
Pedicabs are typically used in villages and minor streets but not in major highways.
Where To Stay
88 Plaza Hotel
Delgado St, Iloilo City Proper | +63 928 998 9925
Amigo Terrace Hotel
Iznart St, Iloilo City Proper | (033) 335 0908
Budget Inn Valeria
Valeria Extension, Iloilo City Proper | (033) 329 6724
Century 21 Hotel
Quezon St, Iloilo City Proper | (033) 335 8821
Iznart St, Iloilo City Proper | (033) 508 0000
City Corporate Inn Iloilo
LKI Tower, Rizal corner Guanco Sts., Iloilo City Proper | (033) 508 1976
Days Hotel Iloilo
4F The Atrium Mall, Gen. Luna St., Iloilo City Proper | (033) 337 0791
EON Centennial Express Hotel
Valeria Extension, Iloilo City Proper | (033) 328 1298
EON Centennial Plaza
Jalandoni St., Iloilo City Proper | (033) 337 2277
Fine Rock Hotel
Jalandoni St., Iloilo City Proper | (033) 336 9075
Go Hotels Iloilo
Robinsons Mall Iloilo, Cor. Ledesma St. and Mabini St., Iloilo City Proper | (033) 335 0486
Goldberry Lite Hotel
Rizal Street Corner Mapa Street, Iloilo City Proper | (033) 333 0000
Grand Xing Imperial Hotel
H. Montinola Corner Muelle Loney Street, Iloilo City Proper | (033) 337 0791
GT Hotel Iloilo
15 Majestic Building, De Leon St, Iloilo City Proper | (033) 393 2948
Iloilo Grand Hotel
Iznart St, Iloilo City Proper | (033) 335 1801
Iloilo Midtown Hotel
Yulo St, Iloilo City Proper | (033) 335 0215
Harbor Town Hotel
JM Basa Street, Iloilo City Proper | (033) 337 2384
Highway 21 Hotel
Gen. Luna St, Iloilo City Proper | (033) 335 1220
Lola Corazon Pension House
68 Delgado St, Iloilo City Proper | (033) 300 6466
Delgado St, Iloilo City Proper | (033) 335 3788
One Lourdes Dormitel
(033) 338 4288
Ong Bun Pension House
Ledesma St, Iloilo City Proper | (033) 335 1271
OYO 258 Chito’s Hotel
180 De Leon St, Iloilo City Proper | (033) 337 6135
Price Range: Php 2,000 – Php 4,000
40 Delgado St, Iloilo City Proper | (033) 336 1068
Regatta Residence Hotel
44 General Luna St., Iloilo City | (033) 330 1430
Time Square, Gen. Luna St, Iloilo City Proper | 0922 838 0191
Spaces by Eco Hotel Iloilo
Calle Real Business Center, 12 JM Basa St., Iloilo City
The Grand Tower Suites
TTK Building, Iznart St., Iloilo City Proper | (033) 335 1805
(formerly Sarabia Manor Hotel)
101 Gen. Luna St, Iloilo City Proper | (033) 335 1021
Where To Eat
Al Dente Ristorante Italiano | The Mansion, 101 General Luna St. | (033) 336 7813
Arirang Korean Restaurant | The Mansion, 101 General Luna St. | +63 999 049 4518
BBQ Park | Gen. Luna St. |
Buto’t Balat | Solis St. | (033) 509 6770
Dainty House | 26 Gov Fermin Caram St. | (033) 337 2394
Emilion | 38 General Luna St. | (033) 337 4292
Griller’s Oyster House | Solis St. | (033) 456 7890
HanCook Korean Grill | 9 Ma. Clara Ave. | +63 949 883 3830
Jo’s Chicken Inato | Quezon St. | (033) 337 0624
Kang Byeon Restaurant | Riverside Inn, Gen. Luna St. |
Kulo’s Steaks and Spirits Restaurant | 12 Gen Luna Street | (033) 335 0070
Kusina NaNam | Chito’s Hotel, 180 Jalandoni cor De Leon St. | +63 917 323 2071
Kusina Tsina | 23 Quezon St. | (033) 500 5063
Luna’s Arroz Caldo | AMK Building Gen. Luna St. | (033) 503 4434
Midway | Delgado St. | (033) 311 6388
Ocean City | Gen. Luna St. | (033) 336 9272
Roberto’s | 61 JM Basa St. | (033) 335 0484
Salt Gastro Lounge | Manfreds Place, Gen. Luna St. | (033) 335 4529
The Summer House | Yulo St. |
Uncle Tom’s | Ledesma St, Jalandoni | (033) 336 3706
La Salette Building
Location: Valeria St., Iloilo City
Mang Inasal | (02) 854 5692
Deco’s Original La Paz Batchoy | (033) 508 2020
Location: Delgado St., Iloilo City
American Legacy Pop Culture Food |
Location: Corner De Leon & Quezon Sts., Iloilo City
Buon Gelato | (033) 509 4533
J.Co Donuts & Coffee | (033) 336 0390
Reyes Barbecue | (033) 336 3836
Ted’s Oldtimer La Paz Batchoy
The Gustavian (European)
Where To Shop
The city proper district has the most number of shops and business but we are only listing those you may find interesting and offer a variety of products.
Malls and Commercial Centers
Atrium Iloilo Commercial Center | General Luna St., Iloilo City
City Mall Parola | Parola Wharf, Iloilo City
SM Delgado | Valeria St., Iloilo City
Iloilo Supermart | 70 Ledesma St., Iloilo City
Shopwise | Iznart St., corner Delgado St., Iloilo City
Marymart Center | Delgado St., Iloilo City
Robinsons Place Iloilo | Quezon St., Iloilo City