As a highly urbanized city in the Philippines, the City of Iloilo has became a tourist hub that is blessed with enchanting landscapes, majestic heritage sites and appetizing cuisines. And being a prime province during Spanish Colonial Era, Iloilo is known to hold some of the most stunning historic architectures of the country. Local and foreign tourists will surely love and enjoy a tour to this city.How did we got there? Our group composed of 9 heads rented out a van for 2,500. We met the van owner at the airport of Iloilo. Price may vary depending on how good you are on haggling and to your itinerary. Our group decided to just rented out a van instead of getting tours from agencies because of two reasons: 1) We don't have to follow any time table. 2) We're the one to decide where we want to go. We just give a list of places we want to visit to the van owner and we let him decide the sequence.So, shall we begin the tour?
|Front view of Jaro Cathedral|
First off in our tour is the Jaro Cathedral also known as the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Candles. The church balcony holds the image of the Lady of Candles which is the patroness of the whole Western Visayas.
|Its bell tower is located just across the street|
There are candle vendors surrounding the place. They sell colorful candles which represents something like love, good health, money and others. Those candles can be light up inside the church along with your prayers.
|Pick any color or colors you want...|
|... then light 'em up inside|
|Old yet very elegant|
Molo Church also called as Saint Anne’s Parish is considered to be as one of the most beautiful churches in the country. Not only because of its distinct look but also because of its story and history.The church is built using white corals just like the other churches that has been built during its time and it is one of the Gothic church in the Philippines. Its most distinguished feature is the two spiked bell towers painted in red. Aside from being known as one of the Gothic church, others called Molo Church as the "Women's Church". Simply because this church roofs 16 images of women saints and Sta. Ana on the main altar.
|Molo Church from afar...|
|And it's so clean inside...|
|These are the things you'll see inside|
Molo Mansion also known as Yusay-Consing Mansion is a significant house in Molo, Iloilo. It is located just in front of the Molo Church and sells souvenir items. Based on the story we heard, there has been a resolution for a demolition of this mansion because it was deteriorating but SM (a private developer) saved it and converted it into a shop/heritage museum.
|Look how beautiful it is|
|Some of the items you can buy|
Also, explore the area and you will discover another shop called Table Matters. They sell blue ternate artisanal ice cream and a variety of coolers. Just prepared yourself to be blown away by their flavors and other products! A nice way to refresh yourself from the tour.
|Explore and you'll see this store...|
Camiña Balay Nga Bato
|The Sala Mayor|
So during my visit in Iloilo City, I have been blessed and was able to see an 1860-ish house which is now called Camiña Balay Nga Bato. Balay Nga Bato is a two-storey house that showcases an antique/souvenir shop (ground floor) and living area (top floor). A tour to this aged-house would costs you 150 PhP which includes an experience to taste their signature Tsokolate. I have provided a separate blog for this place -- [Just click here].
San Joaquin Cemetery
We weren't able to look around the area because it started raining. All I know in this place is that it is a Roman Catholic Cemetery and its main entrance and the mausoleum inside it are mostly grandeur.
|One of UNESCO's World Heritage Site|
Popularly known as the Miagao Church, Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish Church is a world heritage site found in the province of Miagao, Iloilo. This Roman Catholic Parish Church is part of the list of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites along side with San Agustin Church of Manila; Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion Church of Ilocos Sur; and San Agustin Church of Ilocos Norte.I have provided a separate blog for this place -- [Click here].
We also visited shops that sold sweet delicacies and souvenirs in this half-day trip -- Margec's and The Biscocho Haus. We also had a taste of their coffee and pastries on Madge Cafe. And lastly, a quick meal at Netong's with their famous Special La Paz Batchoy.
|Margec's famous cream horns|
|Some products from Biscocho's Haus|
|Netong's special La Paz Batchoy!|
|Lastly, the Madge Cafe|
Iloilo City has so much to offer and this is just some of them. You barely need a whole day or more just to visit each one of these beautiful and historic places. Our trip was just short but we definitely enjoyed and learned something from it. Iloilo (in general) is truly a gem of the Philippines and I encouraged local and foreign tourists to visit it!