10 Reasons Why Iloilo City is The Best City to Live in Philippines

Iloilo City, the capital city of the province of Iloilo and the regional center of Western Visayas, is definitely one of the highlights of Panay island, Philippines. Saturated with many spectacular festivals and celebrations, unbelievably kind people and delicious food for almost ridiculously low prices, this city is always filled with relaxed yet joyful atmosphere. If you thought that there is no other place people are celebrating fiestas like in Spain: broadly, even a little bit wastefully, but always  heatedly, affectionately and cheerfully, you thought wrong. Filipinos love their fiestas as much as Spanish. When it comes to holidays, living here reminded me of living in Tenerife, as I remember it felt like they have more fiestas that working days per year in Tenerife.

What are the biggest reasons you should choose Iloilo for living over other cities in Philippines? Keep on reading and I’ll tell you the advantages of living in Iloilo City!

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10. Extremely Kind People

The kindness of Filipinos is something I’m experiencing in every place I visit in Philippines. Still Filipinos living in Iloilo beat them all. They are welcoming every foreigner with sincerity. Everywhere I go people are willing to help me, if I look lost or confused which is normal for a newbie in town. Smiling faces, greetings and helpfulness are features you don’t see everywhere so often but soon get used to them here. It’s just howmost of the people are in Iloilo City: sincere and kind. Other thing you will probably find unusual at first is people wanting to get to know you and asking lots of questions about your country, language etc. in all kinds of places, even on the street, at supermarket etc. That seemed weird at first for a western thinking person like me and even made me become suspicious. That’s because of my European culture. We are not used to such kindness and curiosity, since we are usually more closed and tend to keep many things to ourselves. However soon enough I learned more about Filipino culture. Knowing that’s just how they are, wiped away my suspicion and let me open up to the locals, easily gaining new friends.

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9. Zumba Classes..FOR FREE

This was actually one of the biggest surprises I had. You heard me, they are for FREE!!! (or symbolic maintenance fee in some places, 10-20 php). There are several places around the city where free zumba classes are organized outdoors a few times per week. All you have to do is choose your favorite and jump in. For me that are the classes organized at Plazuela de Iloilo. Why? The professionalism,  engagement and ardency showed by instructors, especially Georey, the lead instructor. The huge work he must be invested to bring these classes to the existing level, it’s just unbelievable. It’s not like I’m making decision on my favorite zumba place in Iloilo City without checking out other popular places. I also took a look at the zumba happening in Sports Complex and once participated the one taking place at the Esplanade. They are not bad, don’t get me wrong. They’re just not as good in my opinion. I am enchanted by the magic Georey and his team is radiating. Dance moves are rhythmic, original and quite easy to perform, and the part I like the most, you can relax and have fun while burning a lot of calories. Perfect! The schedule is: Tuesday and Thursday at 5:45 PM and Saturday 6:00 AM.

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I wonder why something like that is not organized so much in Europe? Sport activities and dance classes are usually quite pricey. It seems like here in Iloilo City they really care about keeping their people healthy and fit. That’s something we could learn from.

8. Food is Sooo Good

Another great advantage of living in Iloilo City, is food! It’s just heavenly good. As a City located at the coast side of Panay island, fishing is one of the major industries here. That means lots and lots of delicious seafood restaurants! I would recommend Ponsyon at Plazuela de Iloilo. They have the best garlic buttered shrimps and grilled Bangus (milkfish) is just excellent there. Fresh, deliciously cooked seafood and refreshing buko juice (coconut water): what more can you ask for?

Besides Ponsyon, Steps of Rome is also a nice place for dinner at Plazuela. Then of course there is the famous Breakthrough at Villa Beach. And there are also many great restaurants at Smallville  and along the Esplanade.

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7. Home City for Dinagyang Festival

Dinagyang Festival, organized every year on the forth weekend of January, is definitely the biggest highlight of Iloilo. It’s what this City is famous for and there’s a damn good reason for it. Spectacular tribal dancing performances, rhythmical drum beats, impressive decorations and colorful costumes  draws you into completely different world of Filipino religion, history and culture. If you haven’t attended this festival yet, you should add it to a calendar for next year. Other major festivals you could check out here are Paraw Regatta and Jaro Fiesta.

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6. Less Traffic = Happier People

To be honest there are several traffic jams every day in Iloilo City, but if you have ever visited Philippines, you now how bad it can get, especially in the big cities. Manila was even named as the world’s third worst city for driving by CNN’s travel website CNNGo.com. When it comes to traffic it is so much better in Iloilo City. Even though there are a few traffic jams during the day, due to less people and vehicles on the streets as well as the relatively small size of the city, they are reasonable, so you can still get from one point to another without the need to pull out your hair from stress. Less time spent on going to work is probably why people seem much more happier here than in Manila.

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Less traffic jams is certainly a huge advantage for people living in Iloilo City, since Filipinos perceive traffic congestion as their number one problem. Other huge problem Filipinos are facing with is flooding.  In 2009  the The Iloilo Flood Control Project was initiated in Iloilo City as a the long-term solution to the perennial flooding in the city and outlying areas. They managed to solve most of the flooding problems in the area, which has lead to increase of development and investments coming into Iloilo City. Downside is that The floodway has also been blamed for erosion of creeks and riverbanks in Pavia, Iloilo.

5. Iloilo River Esplanade for Relaxing Walks

One of the cleanest and most beautiful areas for having a relaxing evening walks or jogging is Iloilo River Esplanade. Opened quite recently, on  August 18, 2012, it serves as a park development on one of the riverbanks of Iloilo River. The best time for walking is early morning (around 5 AM until 7 AM) or evening (starting from 5 PM) to avoid the hot sun. However in this time of the day it can get quite crowded since it a preferred place for many citizens of Iloilo City. If  you want to escape the crowds and spend some time alone with your thoughts, the best time to visit this beautiful embankment is just the opposite to the one mentioned before.

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4. Boracay is Sooo Close

Boracay, one of the most beautiful islands in Philippines that has lots of incredibly beautiful white sand beaches with crystal clear, turquoise blue water, is just a few hours away from Iloilo City. The best way to go there from Iloilo is to take a bus going to Caticlan at Tagbak terminal in Jaro, Iloilo. There is at least one bus every hour going to Caticlan, first one leaves at 3 AM, last at 1 PM. It’s about a 6 hour drive. After the bus trip, you have to take a ferry at Caticlan Jetty Port going to Boracay. After about 10-15 minutes  you’ll step a foot on the beautiful Boracay island.

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3. Guimaras is Even Closer

Iloilo location is just perfect for exploring many stunning places of Philippines. Guimaras is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and undamaged tropical places I have ever seen. Lush green trees, many hidden beaches and great hiking and biking places are some of the best features Guimaras is holding, making it the perfect place for getaway to a secluded beach with your friends. And the best part is, this island group is still undiscovered by the masses, keeping it’s natural serenity and seclusion. And the second best part is, it is so close to Iloilo City! Just a 15 minute ferry ride from Ortiz Wharf in Iloilo City to Jordan Wharf in Guimaras and entering the green, tropical world of Guimaras, you have escaped from all the hustle and bustle in the city. Schedules and rates for ferry can be found on Guimaras official website.

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2. Active and Healthy People

This city is really paying attention to its people’s health. There are countless running and cycling events (fun runs, marathons, call them how you want, that’s still awesome!) happening all over the area. More detailed information of the dates and locations for running events can be found on RunClub Iloilo Facebook page. When it comes to cycling Iloilo City is aiming to become a bike-friendly city by promoting the use of bicycles as a daily transport to work or school or simply for hobby. The bike festival held on March 30, 2014 was a success revealing the people’s appreciation on the use of bicycles in Iloilo City.

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1. City of Opportunities

More and more investors are noticing the great location and the big potential this city is holding. It’s developing very fast, especially in the last few years, after taking care of most of the flooding problems in the area. iloilo City is gradually turning into next big business center. Lots of good schools and universities here provides companies with smart, intelligent employees. Today Iloilo City is preparing to do the honor of hosting two meetings of the Asia Pacific Economic Council (Apec) conference in October 2015. This is a very big event for people in Iloilo, especially when it comes to drawing attention to more investors of the city.

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And More and More

Ok, I was mistaken. There are more great reasons for living in Iloilo City. I just can’t stop coming up with them. Another gorgeous place with great beaches, a group of islands called Isla de Gigantes is located just a few hours from the city. There are also many sightseeing places in Iloilo, like plazas and churches. Iloilo Museum is a nice place to visit if you want to get to know more about the history and culture of Iloilo. There are not many exhibits, but the people in charge of the place are making up for it, telling interesting stories about the history.

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And still there are many places to visit and lots of other reasons for living there, but the ones revealed before are the most outstanding ones. I’m actually not a big city person and would rather live closer to the nature in a little town next to the beach or in the mountains. However when it comes to a city life, Iloilo City is definitely the best city to live in Philippines.

Have you ever visited Iloilo City?  I would be happy to hear what are the things you liked the most about this city. Please share your insights using the comment section below.

250 replies
      • ronald tolentino
        ronald tolentino says:

        thank you for this blog! very honest indeed.. ilonggo welcomes every foreigners who have a keen eye for beauty… this makes me more proud being an ilonggo.. cant thank you enough! my gratitude..

        Reply
      • Jesse
        Jesse says:

        Hey Anna, I am a 26 yr old girl from the US. I am getting ready to move to the Philippines next week. Looking for a good spot, low key, by the water, to settle for a bit, maybe volunteer or teach english. Any advice?

        Reply
        • Cris
          Cris says:

          Hello Jesse! I’m an Ilongga. I don’t think English is a problem for the locals since we, ourselves, teach English to foreigners. There are so many English centers here. Most are for Koreans or Japanese. Maybe you can apply in one of those. :)

          Reply
      • Garry E Lewis
        Garry E Lewis says:

        I have a fiancee in Iloilo i visited this May 2016 stayed 23 days total, love the city, the people, everything about Iloilo. I plan to return next spring 2017 and stay and retire there most likely get married there as well. I found a wonderful woman and her family was very sweet and friendly. We took some family trips to some of the beaches there in Iloilo beautiful, the cost of living very reasonable for a retiree like me, will be able to live comfortable there on my modest Social security each month, State side i would have to return to work just to survive. Hard to retire in the US to expensive for seniors.

        Reply
      • Celine DE los Reyes
        Celine DE los Reyes says:

        Thanks Ana for the wonderful write ups for our city. Proud to be an Ilonggo. Hope to see more visitors visiting our place. Enjoy your stay… God bless .

        Reply
      • brian
        brian says:

        can’t find the comments, but I am going there in 21 days and I really hope to enjoy myself and relax. thank you for the article.

        Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      No I should be the one thanking you Georey! You are such a huge inspiration for all the zumba adherents in Plazuela, icluding me! Keep up the good work and thanks to you there will be more and more active and healthy people in Iloilo City :)

      Reply
      • Lalet Hernandez
        Lalet Hernandez says:

        To Georey Bhoy, I was able to attend ur cardio fitness but only for one day, it was Saturday when I was there for vacation. My sister brought me there, I guess she’s one of ur pioneer, Dra Melinda of Prov. Capitol, sounds familiar? I have fun that morning, keep it up, and thank you.

        Reply
  1. Benny Gref
    Benny Gref says:

    Great article and great photos! Even made me have tears of joy :)

    I’m happy to say I grew up there before migrating to Oz

    How long is your stay in Iloilo? Seems like you are having a great time. I have read somewhere that another spectacular place to see are the Northern Isles of Concepcion and Carles (e.g. Islas de Gigantes, Bulubadiangan Is., etc)

    Cheers!

    Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      I’m so happy you liked it Benny! :)
      How’s the life in Australia? I have some friends there, though haven’t still visited it.
      I’m going to stay here for another 2 months, so I hope to visit most of the great places around here. I had heard about Isla de Gigante (it’s on my list), but didn’t know about Bulubadiangan. Will check it out. Thank you for suggestions 😉

      Cheers!

      Reply
      • samie
        samie says:

        Bulubadiangan is close to Carles ( where isla de higantes is located) Bulubadiangan is in Concepcion (probably two hours away from Carles). If your starting point is from Iloilo City, go to Tagbak Terminal and find the buses bound for Sara or Concepcion.If you take the bus bound for Sara you have to ride a motorcycle for 15 to 20 minutes to be in Concepcion and go visit the tourism office and ask for someone who can help you find a pumpboat that can take you to islands like Bulubadiangan but I would recommend Agho island in Concepcion.. you can circle the whole island in an hour or two and the place is so serene. it is like boracay without the noise and party.. just nature. white sand beach.. you and your book. =) ..

        Reply
        • annabirzgale
          annabirzgale says:

          Thanks for so detailed information Samie! I googled it! It looks simply amazing! You’re right, looks exactly as Boracay without all the hotels and parties. Added to my list! 😉

          Reply
        • abajacadabra
          abajacadabra says:

          I was in Isla de Gigantes this Jan and enjoyed the place tremendously. What’s in Bulubadiangan and Agho. What to see, do, eat and where to stay? Contacts? Thanks.

          Reply
          • Roselle
            Roselle says:

            Hi,
            I’ve heared about this Isla de Gegantes. How to go there? How far is it from Iloilo? Also how to get to the island? Thnx

          • Anna
            Anna says:

            Hi Roselle!
            Me and my friends hired a van to go to Isla de Gigantes! I’m not sure if I remember correctly but I think it was about 4 hour ride to get from Iloilo to the port. At the port you can get a ferry to get to the island. And there are some cottages on the island where you can stay overnight and arrange island hopping etc. It’s best to arrange it all before going.

            Best wishes,
            Anna

      • Ali
        Ali says:

        Hi Anna! You can visit our Miagao Church. It is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. Miagao is a town in Southern Iloilo. It’s just about a 1-hour ride from the city. You might be also interested to check out other Baroque churches here in the south, starting from Tigbauan up to San Joaquin. You can take a jeepney ride from the Super Terminal Market or a bus ride from Molo Bus Terminal. :)

        Reply
      • Sheila
        Sheila says:

        hi Miss Ann,try to explore the southern part of iloilo,im sure you will be amaze on what you see…good hear you are beginning to love Iloilo.

        Reply
  2. Jocelle
    Jocelle says:

    Bacolod city is just a ferry away from iloilo,so if you are in Iloilo u might as well visit bacolod city ..It is known as the City of Smiles because of its MassKara Festival, Bacolod is also known as the Land of Sweet People, and for its culinary heritage, including its inasal and sweet dessert treats.

    Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      Thanks for a great suggestion Jocelle! I have heard so many great things about Bacolod, and you are convincing me to visit this famous place even more :) Until now my favorite Filipino sweet is turon. Maybe after visiting Bacolod I will have a new favorite dessert 😉

      Reply
      • Rene
        Rene says:

        you got me with the “turon” part! LOL
        that crispy on the outside, soft banana on the inside,
        coated with lots of sugar..damn!
        stay safe!

        Reply
        • annabirzgale
          annabirzgale says:

          Hi Rene! I understand you completely. After mentioning it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and eventually bought a few today :)

          Reply
  3. emj
    emj says:

    I totally agree with this!

    Most of the reasons listed are the same reasons I decided to move here except that I’m still waiting for that opportunity. lol

    Reply
  4. Jayson
    Jayson says:

    Wow, This is really something great to read specially for us, Ilonggos. We are glad you were happy and enjoying your stay in our beloved city, Enjoy even more as you explore the city. Thanks and God Bless. :)

    Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      Thanks Jayson! And it’s also something really great for me to have this opportunity and explore the beautiful Iloilo City and its surroundings! Since my country is so far away, these places seem exotic and incredibly beautiful to me :)

      Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      You’re welcome! It is a beautiful city. Hope you will have the opportunity to visit it again soon and enjoy have it is developing and getting better and better 😉

      Reply
  5. Danie
    Danie says:

    I hope you can visit Cinematheque Iloilo located at B&C Square Bldg Corner Iznart Solis St. We show local,national and International films there. Please check our sched in our facebook account Fdcp Cinematheque Iloilo. We have an artspace as well that showcases the works of local artists. Enjoy your stay!

    Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      Hi MarieCor! I would like to get to know more about culture and native art. Hope to visit this place. Thank you!

      Reply
  6. Niña Martinez
    Niña Martinez says:

    Thanks for the great post! From a foreigners’ point of view it is very much overwhelming that u notice us. It feels great to be an Ilonggo and always will. Thank you so much from the bottom of our heart!

    Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      You’re welcome Niña Martinez! Iloilo is amazing city! I’m admiring the love you have for your city :) And you have all the reasons to do so! This kind of appreciation and patriotism is something many nations could learn from!

      Reply
  7. Franco
    Franco says:

    will be sharing this great article….thanks for posting this ms anna…as what our mayor said…Iloilo City is under construction….so we are expecting lots of opportunities in the coming years…great job…

    Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      Thank you very much Franco! I’m sure there will be great opportunities for Iloilo City! It’s developing very fast

      Reply
  8. JP Jimena
    JP Jimena says:

    Thank you for such a wonderful review of my hometown Ann. I live in the US now and haven’t been home for 11 years now, and having read your article it really makes me want to come home for a visit even more. There’s plenty of new places that weren’t there when I was living there and you have piqued my interest. Thank you again for the wonderful article about my hometown.

    Reply
  9. Maemay
    Maemay says:

    try to visit the little Baguio of Iloilo in Leon, Iloilo. There is also a falls located in that place. it is known as the summer capital of Iloio

    Reply
  10. Imelda Gequilapo
    Imelda Gequilapo says:

    My City my pride.. we Ilonggos are well known for our soft nature.Thank you for your article. I am proud to be one and you are very much correct when you mentioned our people, yes we are a little bit in awed when foreigners come to our city and couriusity is always there. But we are always willing to extend our hospitality and help. Iloilo City is called The City of Love and as you observed it’s quite true with our folks. Thank you for writing this one Ms. Anne , we Ilonggos are grateful for this. Kudos.

    Reply
  11. Kristian
    Kristian says:

    Thank you anna for the compliments! I was born and raise in that city! Jave a great time staying in our city. Take care And god bless! :)

    Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      Hi Ajie! While loving Iloilo City, I miss my home in Latvia as well! That’s how it always is, you miss your home no matter where you are! The good thing is that it makes you appreciate and love it even more! Take care 😉

      Reply
  12. James
    James says:

    Missing Iloilo all the time, i dunno why i ever left iloilo for New jersey (of all places! lol) , I left Paradise! I try to visit iloilo every other year. The best time to visit is December to February. With the long Christmas celebration that pinoys ae known for, to the Dinayang festival in January.Plus the Jaro fiesta and Paraw Regatta and Chinese New Year happening in quick succession.

    Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      I hope you can visit it more often James! Yes, I noticed the same, it’s a great time to visit, if you want to get the most of it! Take care 😉

      Reply
  13. Louis John Capadosa
    Louis John Capadosa says:

    Hi Anna,

    Am so happy about how you appreciated our hometown. This mean so much for us Ilonggos especially our society is trying to stand-up. I hope our people will read your article and may this inspire them to be who they are. In return, am sure more tourists will flock and will benefit us Ilonggos… Am currently in London and I always follow and support everything good about Iloilo. I hope one day we will be a strong nation again and our city will set as an example to all Filipinos.

    – Louis

    Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      Those are great words Louis! Ilonggos should be really proud of their origins! And by reading the comments I can tell, they are truly proud and grateful for who they are and where they come from!
      And it’s good that you support your hometown and people even from being so far away.

      Reply
  14. Jerry G. Ela
    Jerry G. Ela says:

    Thanks a lot annabirzgale.. I have posted your link to our city mayor’s facebook account. Surely they will appreciate your blog..:)

    Reply
  15. Melchor Cirujano
    Melchor Cirujano says:

    From Quezon City to Iloilo for 18 long years and definitely loving it! I love your article about us Anna! Thanks for promoting us and by the way for a photography enthusiast, your photos are awesome! Love Love love!

    Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      That’s great Melchor! Thank you for the kind words! Regarding to photography, I’m still quite new at it, but I love it and willing to learn more about it!
      Thank you very much, appreciate it :)

      Reply
  16. Karie
    Karie says:

    Hi Anna, this is a really good and detailed description of Iloilo, thank you! :)

    You may want to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site Miag-ao Church, just 40+ kms from the city. Actually, the churches in Iloilo Province are fantastic – Molo, Tigbauan, San Joaquin, etc. San Joaquin beach is also good to visit for sunset and rock formations.

    Nogas Island of Anini-y, Antique is not that far away also, as well as Sibalom, Antique where you could find the biggest flower in the world, Rafflesia.

    You didn’t mention about the mangoes of Guimaras or Leon, I hope you did try them! As a fact, Guimaras mangoes are the sweetest in the world. :) I could keep going because I just love talking to travelers but I’m sure you’ll discover more about my lovely city and province. Enjoy the rest of your stay. Chau! :)

    Karie

    Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      I agree with you Karie! Churches are wonderful here, beautiful witnesses of history.
      Haven’t heard of the Rafflesia before. Looks really huge! Thank you for great suggestions 😉
      I have been to Guimaras 4 or 5 times already. It’s so undamaged and serene. Love it! And those mangoes! Yes, they’re perfest! I also wrote an article about it: http://www.balticmuse.com/2014/03/19/guimaras-getaway/

      Thank you Karie! Čau 😉

      Reply
  17. Pauline
    Pauline says:

    I grew up in Pavia Iloilo 7km from the City.. The municipality was officially declared as the Regional Agro-Industrial Center (RAIC) of Western Visayas in 1990 but now the rice-field was turn into subdivision to subdivision (I miss my old hometown). The worse is that traffic was crazy especially when you commute or ride by a jeepy. I know our government was making new route on it or solution.
    Jocelle is right Bacolod is just a ferry away and not soo much traffic. Everything is close too from mountain resorts, hotsprings, falls and beaches. Don’t forget to visit Punta Bulata and Danjugan Island. But Yes you should visit Isla Gigantes its the scallops capital of the Philippines people just don’t know it. Thank you for the Blog and Loving Iloilo..

    Reply
    • rico remurin
      rico remurin says:

      medyo huya-huya man gamay bi. para ni sa iloilo ang artikulo. kun gusto mo i promote ang bacolod promte mo lnag pero indi mo na tani pagpakalainon ang iloilo. kahuluya sg batasan nyo.

      Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      Hi Pauline! I’m sorry, your childhood place has changed so much. But let’s hope it’s for good after all. And it’s good that the peaceful and natural Guimaras is so close to the city.
      The traffic is not so bad anymore! And the fact I love the most is that Iloilo city is so compact, everything is reachable. Even if you happen to get in a traffic jam, you still manage to get to your destination quite fast 😉

      Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      Thank you very much! It’s an honor to be here and experience the hospitality of people in Iloilo! Keep the good work and effort in developing the city and taking care of the people!

      Reply
  18. Pauline Lauron
    Pauline Lauron says:

    Wow! This really made me feel homesick! Haha. It is good place to live in indeed, and I’m lucky I’m one of those people who grew up in Iloilo. I had to move here in Manila for college, and I would always, always, always opt to go home during vacation time and long weekends because nothing makes me feel more at home than Iloilo. Awesome post! Enjoy Iloilo.

    Reply
  19. Ambino
    Ambino says:

    Thanks for the flattering write up, Anna! This is my birthplace and though the land of the maple leaf has been good to me, I yearn to come back and be with the gentle people and unhurried in their languid pace…

    Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      You are welcome Ambino! Precisely described. That’s how I see it, unhurried and relaxing place filled with kind people.

      Reply
      • Ambino
        Ambino says:

        You are so generous of your time and kind, responding to our comments! I’d like to return the favour by visiting Latvia in our next trip to Europe. Could you recommend some place to start… say your hometown? I’m into art and I’m sure there are beautiful museums, buildings, plaza mayors and of course wonderful and pretty faces like you in your country! Of course I could google the info but I prefer the first person account from the locals. Thanks beforehand!

        Reply
        • Anna
          Anna says:

          That’s great Ambino :) It depends on what you like! If you lice cities and architecture, our capital Riga is a must see. The Historic Center of Riga has been included in world heritage list by UNESCO: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/852. If you enjoy nature and fresh air, you should rent a car and go to a countryside. Lake Usma in the west side of Latvia is great for that purpose. There are also many great lakes in the south, like lake Razna, lake Dridzis etc. One of the biggest tourist attractions is a small city called Sigulda, it has a beautiful park area and not too far from Sigulda there is Turaida Museum Reserve with a medieval castle. There are also as well as many activities like zipline and some paths for climbing in the trees at Kaķīškalns, beloved by children. If you go to Sigulda, Gauja National Park with nice views and Ligatne nature trails is also great places nearby. Other beautiful small cities worth visiting are Cesis, Bauska and Kuldiga. I personally love beaches, for that purpose we have Jurmala, but it can get quite crowded during the summer. Two very beautiful cities located on the coast in the northwestern and southwestern side of Latvia are Ventspils and Liepaja, definitely worth visiting. These are some of the places I would recommend. I also find a good source of more suggestions here: http://www.latvia.travel/en
          Hope you will find something you like from my suggestions! If you have more questions, you can send an e-mail me through the contact section. 😉

          Reply
  20. Noy
    Noy says:

    Great writeup. We have the same impression about Iloilo. It is as well on top of my list of most livable cities in the Philippines. I’ve just visited it again last month and I can’t wait to plan another trip there.

    Enjoy the rest of your stay in the country. Mabuhay ka!

    Regards,
    Noy

    Reply
  21. Criziel Quinn
    Criziel Quinn says:

    Anna, thank you for the wonderful article about my hometown. Last time I went home was in 2004 and I am glad that there has been significant progress in Iloilo. Can’t wait to see it soon. By the way, I believe the Zumba instructor is Georey (not Jurry). I remembered going to grade school with him and heard how he has become Iloilo’s best Zumba instructor. :) All the best and take care!

    Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      Thank you for correcting Criziel! Already edited. He is indeed a master at teaching zumba 😉
      Thank you! All the best to you too :)

      Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      You are soooooo welcome Georey! :) And thank you! You’re zumba classes are so inspiring, that I could write a whole article about you and still couldn’t express my gratitude! Keep inspiring people to be healthy and active 😉

      Reply
  22. Janus McKinley
    Janus McKinley says:

    Hello Anna,

    I have been living in the Philippines for the past 9 years and have lived in Cebu, Boracay, Romblon and Cagayan de Oro. I am currently living in Manila with my wife and we are looking for a city to live in. My biggest concern is crime. Would you know how the crime rate is in Iloilo? In Cebu, an American friend and his family were killed during a break-in. In Boracay, we were robbed while we were out of town. The thieves sawed our steel grilled windows and found a way in. In Romblon, we were constantly hounded by people knocking on our door begging for money. And in Cagayan de Oro, we witnessed a murder when tandem riding bikers shot a man in broad daylight. We have remained vigilant through the years but as you know, Manila is not the safest place to live in plus the noise from inconsiderate videoke machines have made living here unbearable.
    I found your article by chance and we are considering on transferring in Iloilo. Please do fill us in on how the crime rate is in Iloilo.
    We are hopeful in finding the right city for our children and we are one step in leaving the Philippines for good if most of the cities here are not safe.
    Thank you for your time and awaiting your reply.
    Cheers,

    Janus

    Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      Hi Janus!
      I’m really sorry about your friend and your experiences.
      I tried to research the crime rate in Iloilo before, but didn’t find a lot of information. Most of it was outdated. I can only answer you from my experience. It seems safe enough, especially if you have a guard, which is a usual in subdivisions. I have also gone out at evening by myself, though I take taxi in these cases. As I have heard it is safer than most of the big cities in Philippines. It also depends on where (which area and what kind of place) you live of course. I am satisfied with the place we’re living, which is quiet and peaceful.
      Hope I could help. Will try to ask around for more information.
      Regards!

      Reply
    • Gina
      Gina says:

      Hi Janus,

      There are lots of new subdivisions in Iloilo with security guards. Try to look in Pavia area. Take care and goodluck :-)

      Reply
    • al luz
      al luz says:

      Janus,

      Like most cities, Iloilo has its share of problem regarding crime. But its still a lot safer to live here (iloilo city) as compared to most Philippine cities.

      An option is Guimaras island which is only a 15 minute boat ride from Iloilo city. Aside from being named as one of the safest provinces in the country to live in , you’ll have close proximity to great secluded beaches and the sweetest mangoes around.
      The drawback is that the better schools and universities are all in Iloilo city, But then that is only 15mins away, University of Iloilo and Ateneo de Iloilo Grade School is only a block away from the docks

      Now is the best time to live there, since Guimaras is not yet commercialized and real property is still very affordable.

      Al

      Reply
      • Anna
        Anna says:

        I agree about Guimaras! If you aren’t necessarily aiming for city, Guimaras is a wonderful place for living, very peaceful and undamaged.

        Reply
        • veen
          veen says:

          I can recommend a land for sale if Janus is really interested to stay in Guimaras. I assure Janus that I am NOT making money out of this. Just wanna help.

          Reply
  23. evelyn
    evelyn says:

    As always iloilo is the best….two thumps up. I suggest Garin farm and resorts has something to offer and amaze you..and also experience Bantayan Festival in Guimbal..

    Reply
  24. Ember
    Ember says:

    Hi Anna,

    It’s really great to know that you like Iloilo. As an Ilongga, I’m overjoyed with what I just read. You’re amazing. :) But another thing, have you heard the music from Iloilo bands? :)

    Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      Hi Ember!
      Thank you very much! :) No, I haven’t actually. I have heard only people singing in all kind of places to themselves, which, by the way, is so great! It reminds me of Spanish I met in Tenerfie who were whistling cheerful melodies, a sign of happiness. And Filipinos do have great voices :)

      Reply
  25. Wolf Gemora
    Wolf Gemora says:

    Great article, Anna! Iloilo is actually not as popular a destination as Cebu or Baguio (and I think the locals prefer it that way) but it is most definitely one of, if not the finest city in the Philippines. My family is from there and I miss it very much! A couple of great restaurants would be Roberto’s for great dimsum and Chinese food. And Buho (which means ‘hole’) for some great pandesal. Also, check out Afrique’s for some great pizza. It is literally a hole in the wall. Just ask locals where to find it.
    If you are also in to football, the football capital of the Philippines is in Barotac Nuevo which is 30 mins. south of Iloilo city. My uncle runs an international football school there and all the best players come from that town. My uncle also runs a ranch resort in that town called Casa Fiametta. He also runs a mountain resort called Pineridge Bucari in the city of Bucari in Leon, Iloilo. You mentioned that you prefer being close to nature so these places would be perfect for you. You can check out their website at http://www.casafiammetta.com/ and if you get to go tell him his nephew, Wolf recommended it to you. Happy travels! =)

    Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      Thank you Wolf :) Is that your name or nickname? Anyways, it’s cool 😉 So many suggestions, thanks! Now I wonder, where I was earlier with this article. Would have had more time to check out all these places and restaurants!
      When it comes to mountains, you have been sent from a universe to me, because as much as i love islands, beaches and small towns, I have been thinking of going to some place in mountains to do some hiking, which is also something I like to do from time to time! :) Will look at your uncle’s resort, thanks 😉

      Reply
      • Ambino
        Ambino says:

        Anna, it’s great to know you are into hiking…You want to scale Mt. Napulak in Igbaras? It’s the mountain southwest of the city… the one that is shaped like a woman’s bosom. If you need hiking bodies, try the UP Visayas in Miag-ao mountaineering club. This is the best time of the year to scale it. And along the way, you may chance to see one of the world’s largest flowers, albeit stinky, the scientific name of which escapes me now. Down below, Kipot Valley in Igbaras is the place you may also one to check out! Lots of boyhood memories in my dad’s barrio… waterfalls, caves, summer fruits! Happy and safe trekking!

        Reply
        • Anna
          Anna says:

          Thank you, Ambino! I enjoy nature: seas, islands, mountains etc! All the places with fresh air and green trees or water. The places filled with childhood memories are indeed the best :)

          Reply
  26. Regil
    Regil says:

    Great article Anna! I was born in Manila and grew up in Iloilo. At first, i didn’t like it because Iloilo that time was less developed but now, i don’t want to move anywhere!! I love my city Iloilo. Its just perfect!! I agree with everything you have said in this article. Thanks! You made me more proud of being an Ilonggo.^_^

    Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      Thank you! It takes time to living in smaller city if you’re used to the big city and reverse. I’m loving small towns and cities, they have more personality.
      You are welcome Regil!

      Reply
  27. Rheeno Cabangcalan
    Rheeno Cabangcalan says:

    I. m glad that you like and enjoy our city. It sure is an amazing place. I miss, a lot. I live in Manila now because of work and love but i really miss the food and the cleaner air and the greens. I hope you can try ‘laswa.’ It’s kind of a vegetable soup–very hearty. I always brag that in Iloilo we have good vegetable dishes unlike Manila. Hahaha Enjoy! And thank you for this wonderful, wonderful makes-me-cringe-because-i-miss-iloilo-and-I-wanna-eat-laswa post. Madamo guid nga salamat!

    Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      And I am glad I reminded you of the great things about your city Rheeno. I will give laswa a try. Is there any particular place i should go for trying it? You intrigued me, since I love vegetables :)
      Salamat Rheeno!

      Reply
      • veen
        veen says:

        Try Laswa in Madge Cafe located in Lapaz public market. There you can eat laswa then drink their famous native coffee. Netong’s Lapaz Batchoy is just a few steps away after.

        Reply
  28. Cabe Morente
    Cabe Morente says:

    It’s nice to hear that you are enjoying Iloilo very much as well as Panay Island. However, you haven’t mentioned about Roxas City. Have you been here? Tomorrow, April 12 will be the start of the fiesta commemorating the 113th year of Capiz. Hope you can find time to explore our place too. If you happen to be in the area, you can contact Tony Morente at Villa Patria Cottages or at Yellow Box Pizza. He is our guest relation man. Regards, Cabe Morente

    Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      Thanks for invitation Cabe! I have visited Roxas City. It’s amazing and strong city, raising again! I participated in one of the relief operations after Yolanda, and I am truly sorry for the victims and destruction your city has experienced.
      God bles!

      Reply
  29. joan s. ong
    joan s. ong says:

    Thank you so much for your very commendation on the healthy lifestyle advocacy of Plazuela de Iloilo.We always welcome new and old participants to join us and we as sideleaders together with the lead intstructor Mr.Georey Bucana enjoy doing cardio routines to all.again,thank you very much
    From:PlazuelaCardioFitness Team
    Georey,Jhong,Joan,Dundee and Kriszia

    Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      I’m the one who is truly grateful for the energy and enthusiasm you are sharing with us, the participants! Thank you very much :)

      Reply
  30. Maimai
    Maimai says:

    Thank you for this article. This gave me an assurance it is the right place to be. I am finally going back home in Iloilo after 5 years of trying to make sense of my life in the corporate world. Ilonggo rules. :)

    Reply
  31. Leo
    Leo says:

    Thanks for the amazing review of Iloilo City. Indeed it has many unexplored potentials. I am excited for what lies ahead for our City.

    Reply
  32. Ompoy
    Ompoy says:

    Thanks for sharing your insights. Sometimes, it takes someone who isn’t from Iloilo to remind Ilonggos that the grass is already green on this side. Here’s to great memories for you wherever your travels lead you to.

    Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      You are welcome Ompoy :) That’s how it was also in my country – Latvia. There was an article recently on Huffingtonpost, that reminded us that we come from such a wonderful country!

      Reply
    • annabirzgale
      annabirzgale says:

      And I’m happy that people are reading my article and expressing so much gratitude and appreciation for their home! So glad I could delight so many people!
      Thank you :)

      Reply
  33. Blithe
    Blithe says:

    Hi Anna, if you haven’t yet, do visit Bahay Na Bato near Plaza Villa. It’s on the highway going to Oton, beside Sinamay House. For Php150, you can rummage through the old Spanish house and have a glimpse of how glorious Iloilo once was. Upstairs in the balkonahe, the tour ends with a complimentary hot chocolate (tablea) drink- undoubtedly the best I’ve tasted so far- with toasted mamon. A perfect way to end an afternoon. Then you go to Breakthrough for a bottle (or two!) of San Miguel :-)

    Enjoy your stay in my hometown!

    Reply
  34. pauline
    pauline says:

    I live in iloilo, specifically in the town of oton and this article of yours is just sooo great! It flatters me :)
    well, you might add as well the beautiful and historical churches in iloilo especially the miagao and molo church! hope you like it:)

    Reply
  35. enji
    enji says:

    Hi anna!

    Great post and im missing iloilo. do keep exploring philippines and way way more suprises await mo :)
    do keep posting. we’d love to follow your posts 😉

    Reply
  36. weng
    weng says:

    Great article! Im glad you enjoyed your stay in Iloilo. I always can’t wait to go home every time! Im from Iloilo, born and raised :)

    Reply
  37. robert torres
    robert torres says:

    Hey, i just stumbled over your article in facebook and i have to say that it is really nice to read what other non-natives think of Iloilo. I grew up in Austria and fly home to my family there every year, but your impression of Iloilo is the same as mine. Just an awesome place to be at.
    Great read thanks

    Reply
    • Anna
      Anna says:

      Hi Robert! I’m also glad that other non-natives agree with me on this 😉 It’s a great place to visit! I’m surprised that not a lot people outside Philippines know about it.

      Reply
  38. Edward B
    Edward B says:

    Agree 100% with this article! Great city indeed. It’s starting to become my second home. I’ve been going back and forth between there and the States for the last few years and I miss it everytime I leave and often find myself dreaming of banana-Q. On my personal list of favorites is(for food): Glor’s Burger, Crave Burger (I’m a big fan of burgers) in Smallville, Deco’s & Breakthrough!!! I just loooove picking out the fish for them to prepare to eat fresh from the sea! Some great artisans and crafts there! Oh and great cinema culture there too. If you love classic films check out the University of the Philippines visayas campus ‘Cinemathequre’ A.K.A ‘Cinema Exmundo’. Such an intimate little venue just oozing with character and nostalgia. It reminds me of the vintage cinemas of yesteryears. And of course the live music scene is great. Wonderful musicians just full of talent. Heck, Arnel Pineda of JOURNEY hails from the Philippines!!! Dinagyang is not as good as I remember it, but still a blast :) Also what a great idea pedestrianizing JM Basa St! You can now really enjoy the beauty of the building facades, which you would never notice when it’s full of traffick. I really believe the small businesses will benefit from this. It reminds me of 3rd street Promenade in Santa Monica.
    Oh and for me, Guimaras over Boracay hands down! (but I still enjoy Boracay quite a bit)
    Thanks for posting this article! The country often gets a bad rap but I’m glad, like myself, you are able to appreciate what it has to offer. Hope you are enjoying your time there? Looking forward to more upcoming blogs!

    Reply
    • Nadie
      Nadie says:

      I LOVE Arnel! And I am very pleased you Americans have granted him a great degree of acceptance. He is such a talent. I have been to Iloilo twice.Once in 2002 and just recently during Christmas. You’re right it has a bit of everything and alot of great food. Thankfully I am blessed with having Ilonggo friends here in Belgium who have made me some batchoy which i also became very fond of. I was able to visit the charming cinema you suggested and it is truly a must see for film buffs. It is great to see they celebrate the cinema with much respect much like in Belgium. Next time you return, I would recommend going during Christmas season as they have the most festive celebrations.

      Reply
    • Anna
      Anna says:

      Thank you Edward for such an informative comment! :) I will try to check out the restaurants you suggested as well as other places. I agree, seafood at Breakthrough as well as Ponsyon is the best!
      The Cinemathequre was mentioned before, so it must be good! And I also love the serenity and nature of Guimaras. Boracay is different, louder and more populated, but still amazing 😉 I heard that some of the islands of Concepcion like Agho and Bulubadiangan are equally beautiful and they are more natural and secluded! 😉

      Reply
  39. The Traveller
    The Traveller says:

    Iloilo indeed is a great place to live in, especially now that it is developing in a remarkable phase, but, it sounds like you haven’t been through to the other major cities of the Philippines such as: Cebu, Davao, Clark, etc. Before concluding if this is really the best place to live in, hope you consider all the factors for it to be so called “the Best” along with the other major cities. Hope you travel and explore more because you’ll never know, a much greater place awaits your visit. :)

    Reply
    • Anna
      Anna says:

      I agree that I haven’t been to all cities in Philippines, but I have done research and I also have friends that come from Davao, Angeles and Manila, so I have heard lot about them. A lot of them have moved or are thinking of moving to Iloilo. It’s mosty my opinion based on my experiences, but not only, also on other people’s insights and research. It’s not a fact, but opinion. You might have different one, that’s ok 😉 I also hope to see more of the Philippines, thanks!

      Reply
  40. ARS
    ARS says:

    Loving your article. I miss my home. Proud of it!!!
    For I sudgest, hiking hobbies there’s a Napulak mountain in Igbaras, Iloilo City. Many people visiting to hike and camping for a night. You will enjoy the nature. One hour travel to the town. Thank you for visiting Iloilo City. Your so bless!

    Reply
  41. mar
    mar says:

    thanks for saying good things about our City. It is overwhelming to read such a nice blog .

    Ilonggos love food .Each District and town represents its own delicacy which reflects our tradition and character.
    We also give high value in keeping our tradition , so that’s the reason why, if you look around Iloilo you can still see those old houses and churches , you can still witness the traditional events and festival.

    And as what I am always saying to my foreign students if they ask me about my place , this is the place where you can see both , the modern and the old times .If you happen to be in the down town area ,Jaro , Molo and Villa Then , it feels like travelling in a time machine back in the Spanish times.
    But if you are in ,SM straight to Esplanade area ,you will be amazed of how this City is developing and opening doors of opportunity .

    And one best thing about Ilonggos, WE ALWAYS SMILE.

    As For you my dear Anna, CHEERS and have good time here ..

    Reply
    • Anna
      Anna says:

      Thank you very much Mar! I know, you really love food! And that’s a good thing, because you have so many places with delicious food all around the city. Maybe I should write an article about the delicacies!
      And those historical sites are my favorite after all. I love that spanish architectural touch.
      That’s true! I see smiling faces here every day. Someone once told me that happiness is a choice and I’m glad to see these people are making the right choices.
      Cheers!

      Reply
      • mar
        mar says:

        that would be great ..I looking forward to read your blog about our native delicacies.
        One way to conquer a place is to taste its food ..

        keep it up!

        Reply
  42. gelo sustituido
    gelo sustituido says:

    What a great article about my city!
    I just found out this blog of yours when I was scrolling and reading every comments on a post of iloilo city mayor’s Facebook. Someone posted the link of your blog on it and I click it quickly excited to read what’s in it. And there it is…. I read all the details of your article about my city. Indeed, you really shared up the actual scenario and ample lifestyle of every ilonggo people living in a small city.
    Thanks Anna for sharing your experiences about your stay in my place. I missed a lot about my city. God Bless you Anna.

    Reply
  43. camille
    camille says:

    Hi anna! Thanks for this. I am not from Iloilo (actually from a neighboring island, Negros) but since I studied here for university, i fell in Love with the city of love. I havent left the city since then. =)
    Anyway, and just so maybe you are interested, there is a Guinness World Record Attempt that is happening in Savannah City in Oton on Monday. Maybe you are interested to join! :)) they are lighting up 100k candles to break the current record. Hihi
    Thank you anna

    Reply
  44. Jsa
    Jsa says:

    Hey there Anna! :)
    Thank you for this wonderful, heartwarming article! If you’re staying longer don’t miss Manggahan festival on April 26, 2014 Saturday in Guimaras! :) hope to hear from you and hope to see you around Iloilo city! :)
    Take care! :)

    Reply
  45. steve
    steve says:

    Sveika, paldies skaidrojumi…I was born in Iloilo and lived there for 31 years. I now reside in the U.S. I’m glad to read your heartwarming article about my hometown…Kinda makes me homesick though…..sigh :( Safe travels to you and your loved one..I feel like you’re my sister from another mother :)

    Reply
    • Anna
      Anna says:

      Sveiks Steve :) Thanks for writing in latvian, that’s really nice of you 😉
      Thank you brother from another mother 😀
      Take care!

      Reply
  46. Jocelyn Barcelona
    Jocelyn Barcelona says:

    Thank you for coming up with a very good review Anna. We (the Ilonggos) are truly glad that you’ve come to love our place. You have just made a great contribution to our tourism industry by promoting Iloilo City. The pictures you’ve shown are great too. With your permission, I would like to share this article to spread the “good news”.

    Reply
  47. joan s. ong
    joan s. ong says:

    We would to thank you for your commendation madame…your always be warmed welcome to join us everytime you visit Iloilo and the Cardio fitness routine at Plazuela Iloilo.
    From>>Plazuela CardiofitnessTeam

    Reply
  48. Mary Magalona
    Mary Magalona says:

    I am a proud Ilongga!… thank you for such a nice article. This means a lot esp for us natives of Iloilo!

    Reply
  49. EZ
    EZ says:

    Hi Anna!

    Pretty Awesome blog. Liked the pictures and how you described our City. It feels really great knowing how you appreciate Iloilo and the people around it. If you guys want to see more about the wonderful places here in iloilo City, Try Sicogon Island In Estancia Iloilo. Pretty awesome place. I’ll show you myself if you would like. I have brought a lot my foreign friends in that place and want to see for yourself. Thanks you again for this wonderful blog about our City. My City, My Pride! Good luck with your future adventures and have fun in your stay here. :) (Y)

    Reply
    • Anna
      Anna says:

      Thank you EZ! I’m thinking of exploring the islands near Carles, but not now, someday later. Thanks for the suggestion.

      Reply
      • EZ
        EZ says:

        Yeah! No Problem with that one. Carles is a pretty awesome place. and you really need to check it out. haha have a nice trip dude.

        Reply
  50. Rene Hofilena
    Rene Hofilena says:

    Hi Anna, thank you for the positive blog of my hometown. Really enjoyed the reading and the photos. I hope you enjoy your stay and culinary experience. Don’t forget to try some of the Deocampo’s and Biscocho Haus’ (both in Jaro) pastry products.

    Reply
  51. jun
    jun says:

    Wow you make us more prouder of being an Ilonggo . Thank you for your kind words about our beloved city. You are always welcome here. Good luck and God Bless You..

    Reply
  52. Don
    Don says:

    Hi Anna, thanks for the nice article about my hometown. It makes me nostalgic. I’m based now in Norway and my last visit to the Philippines was dec 2012 so it’s been awhile. I was in Riga last year. Eventhough it was just for 2 days & 1 night, I enjoyed it; nice city & people. I’ve stayed in PK hotel. I’m thinking of visiting Riga again next year.

    Reply
  53. Mark
    Mark says:

    I’m proud to be Ilonggo. What you just told is very overwhelming. Indeed, Iloilo continues to improve in order to be a better place for everyone. I hope you try also the desserts in Iloilo. I have some here: Kaibril’s Sweet Life. By the way, did you visit Guimaras particularly Guisi beach? They have this old parola light house! It’s a nice place also.

    Reply
  54. juy
    juy says:

    Wow! Was just out of Facebook for a couple of days, and when I logged in, my timeline is all about your article. Well done :-)

    Reply
  55. pipaytinapay
    pipaytinapay says:

    kudos to this blog post. i miss home :(

    and the food… omg. i wonder if kansihan is still there. im pretty sure it is in Jaro.

    Reply
  56. Jenny
    Jenny says:

    Hi Anna,
    Thank you for writing and sharing this article about Iloilo. I have been in the US for the last 7 years, and it is so great and refreshing to hear/see other people raving about how beautiful and wonderful Iloilo is. I miss my hometown. I have been home twice since 2007, and I saw a lot has changed since, but still I say… ILOILO man gyapon ANG BANWA KO. Also, because I constantly talk about how different Philippines is, and how much easier life is compared to our college life here, my friends here are constantly asking when I’m going home so they could go too, I am definitely sharing this article with them to make them squirm a little bit more before telling them that we’re planning either a 2014 Christmas in Iloilo, or a 2015 right after graduation month long rest.

    Reply
  57. ceinture homme hermes
    ceinture homme hermes says:

    What’ѕ up, I log on to your new stuff onn a regular Ƅasis.
    Your writing style іs awesomе, keep up the good work!

    Reply
  58. Amna Lovelia Noelly Saul Tabang
    Amna Lovelia Noelly Saul Tabang says:

    Hello Miss Anna!
    I’m so happy and grateful that you took an effort to write a blog about our beautiful and nice place(Iloilo).The city itself is a mixture of the 18th century & modern buildings(Ex: Hoskyn’s Compound-the 1st mall in the Philippines with a Slogan “From Needle to Anchor”,which means everything is available,founded by the Hoskyns,then later was owned by George Medhurst Saul & his sons.
    Hope you’ll enjoy your stay in Iloilo,and it makes as proud every time the tourists appreciate & love our place.

    Reply
  59. Michelle Lorenzo
    Michelle Lorenzo says:

    Thank you for this beautiful article anna. Originally I’m from luzon but our family transferred here in Iloilo since then we already fell in love wih the place. Hope you can visit us again :) it was good meeting you :)

    Reply
  60. Ryan
    Ryan says:

    Thanks Ana i miss my hometown its already more than five years that i didnt go home thanks for the photos nd enjoy your stay in Iloilo try to visit also sicogon island….

    Reply
  61. lantaw
    lantaw says:

    If “Boracay is sooo close”, Concepcion is even closer! You should try visiting the islands in Concepcion, if you haven’t been there yet.

    Reply
  62. Pauline B
    Pauline B says:

    Thank you for considering Steps of Rome as a nice place to have dinner . I am very pleased to know that you enjoy having dinner there .

    Reply
  63. Tim
    Tim says:

    I have lived here in Iloilo for almost 2 years. I jokingly tell people it is a good place to live – but I would not want to visit. There just isn’t much “touristy” stuff here. But for that I refer them up to Boracay!

    Reply
  64. Rovelyn
    Rovelyn says:

    Hi. Ms. Anna.. you have just given a very nice blog about our city. I am very pleased to know that you appreciate the place, people and all other things you see and know about Iloilo.
    You are a great help to me/us. We had a project in our Marketing Strategy and our topic is Iloilo City, this blog of yours is so helpful.
    Thanks…

    Reply
  65. explorerkid123
    explorerkid123 says:

    hi ann im glad that you like our place here in iloilo city…btw how long have you been staying here from now? do you have friends or relatives here? i’ve also have a friend here from poland who lives here for almost 5 to 7 months now i guess and hes great and he enjoys his stay here (hes kinda addicted to join fun run so thats why) lol…and you know what he’s already a pro athlete here and so am i too…so feel free and enjoy your stay here ann god bless you

    Reply
    • Anna
      Anna says:

      Hi there!

      I was staying in the Philippines for about 8 months, but now I’m traveling again. I’m currently in UK. I really enjoyed living and exploring Philippines and there are still so many places to visit so I hope to come back soon :)
      Nice to hear about your friend! I believe that you have to do what you are passionate about in your life to truly enjoy it :)

      Thank you!

      Best wishes,

      Anna

      Reply
      • explorerkid123
        explorerkid123 says:

        ok ann take care…..wish i could see you somewhere in the UK… ohh btw i work on ship (i forgot to mention it) and maybe next week we’ll be boarding to Canda to join our ship….our stay here in iloilo depends…thats why we work abroad to earn money 😀

        Reply
  66. son dakika haberleri
    son dakika haberleri says:

    To Georey Bhoy, I was able to attend ur cardio fitness but only for one day, it was Saturday when I was there for vacation. My sister brought me there, I guess she's one of ur pioneer, Dra Melinda of Prov. Capitol, sounds familiar? I have fun that morning, keep it up, and thank you..

    Reply
  67. Marvie
    Marvie says:

    This is fantastic. I stumbled upon your blog by searching for alternative cities to stay in in the Philippines. As a resident of Manila in my entire life, I’m considering of moving out of this city and live in a less congested, less toxic province. I might give Iloilo a shot.

    I haven’t read the rest of your blog, but did you rent an apartment?

    Reply
  68. Ben Cooper
    Ben Cooper says:

    Very nice article!
    I’m in Iloilo for over a year now, helping my parents who retired in the Philippines. They also think that Iloilo is the best city to live in the Philippines.
    I got to agree with all your reasons, except the food part – some foods have too much sugar when there should be none.

    Reply
  69. Roy V
    Roy V says:

    Hi Anna! What a excellent blog about Iloilo City! Im so impressed. Im originally from Cebu City but fortunately i had a work assignment in Iloilo for 5 years from 1985-1990, and loved the city. I migrated to Canada for 20 years now but will soon go back to the Philippines for good and im thinking of spending time again in this beautiful city, ILOILO!

    Reply
    • Anna
      Anna says:

      Hi Roy!
      It’s great that you like my blog. Thank you!
      I have already moved forward with my travels, but I still think about beautiful Iloilo from time to time :)
      I’m glad for you! I know some filipinos who have come back to their home land after many years and they are so happy to be home again. It’s nowhere as good as home! Say hi to Philippines and especially Iloilo form me!

      Best wishes to you Roy!
      Anna

      Reply
  70. earl
    earl says:

    I moved here from the Michigan, UP, area, anf got married last year. Cabatuan area.
    After traveling around a bit, I realized that tis is indeed a very nice area, compared to MOST of the rest of the Country.
    Manila makes we want to be anywhere else. Just not there. San Carlos City on Negros is a place you will want to stay for a while, and think about living in. Davao, Dumageti ….well they are a bit pricy, and very crowded.
    IloIlo province has a lot going for it. The roads need a lot of help. But as the nations leader in production of seafoods, vegetable produce, and livestock , food prices can not be matched elsewhere. Land prices are average for a city this size. Its all in the location…..
    Transportation costs are lower than the national average. For the average local , the cost of transportation and food is A BIG DEAL. So when you add the Islands of Guimaras, , and Boracay, and the many malls and markets, and ports, It really stands out. The new Airport and road developements, are bringing the city up to international par.
    Iloilo is one of the ORIGINAL settlings of the native people, before the Spannish. Iloilo merged the existing people into the natives that spread to Manila, along with another pocket starting in Cebu. The Spannish just came along and added thier blood to the mix. The heartland of this nation is Panay, and Negros. Without question, Iloilo is the leader of the region, in every way. The Japs landed on Panay 1st.

    Its allways good to read history about the 1st provinces, Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo.

    Reply
  71. Dr. Jake
    Dr. Jake says:

    Nice blog, Anna. Having been to the Philippines many times, I’ll be making another trip, this time married to a lovely Filipina. Planning to spend a few weeks with at least a week in IloIlo visiting her family. This prompted me to do a quick search on the area. I confess, I thought there wouldn’t be a thing to do in IloIlo. Now, I’m really looking forward to a great week. My experience with my Filipino friends here has always been that the culture is imbued with a passion for life and a steadfast resilience that inspires me. What I call the “pusong Pinoy” (Filipino heart) I’m glad to know that IloIlo epitomizes the warm, welcoming spirit that continues to captivate me. Thanks for the many suggestions on things to do and places to see. In blogging, it seems you’ve opened a wonderful forum that allows people to expound on your original article. How amazing that your blog turns a static piece of writing into something alive that continues to draw readers in, not just to the original work, but to an ever evolving organic entity. Please continue your writing, Anna, and thanks again!

    Doc
    New York

    Reply
    • Anna
      Anna says:

      Thank you for kind words Dr. Jake. I appreciate them!
      I’m so happy that people are expressing their experiences and feelings about Iloilo and the Philippines through their comments. I wrote this article almost a year ago and it still reaches more and more people and they can share their thoughts here. That’s really amazing!
      If you are planning to go to Iloilo, now is actually the best time since Dinagyang Festival 2015 is taking place there. Here is the schedule for the upcoming events: http://dinagyangsailoilo.com/iloilo-dinagyang-festival-2015-schedule-events/. I hope you will enjoy your trip to the beautiful Philippines!

      Best wishes,
      Anna

      Reply
  72. Maimai
    Maimai says:

    Hi Anna!

    I enjoyed reading your blog particularly about Iloilo. I was in the urban jungle for 5 years. Manila was too complex to raise a family. I had to pack all my stuff and went home last year. I am always reminded that I made the best decision of coming back home with a baby in tow. So far, Iloilo is definitely the best place to live in. Thank you for loving the City of Love as well. Hope you have more fun experiences in Iloilo.

    P.s. You should check Bantayan Island also in Cebu. :)

    Reply
  73. Philip
    Philip says:

    Hi Anna,

    Thank you for the honest article. Your insights as a European will indeed be helpful for futher improvements…

    Reply
  74. cesar pappo quimsing
    cesar pappo quimsing says:

    it could be a better city to live in if the people in charge would put a bit more thought, effort and a part of the city’s budget in installing proper sewage systems in lots of places, the house i grew up in was built in 1969 and for almost four decades people in that long span of street has been and still are living in the midts of their own filth and that is not talking about the time of my mom who grew up in the area where the population has quadrupled, or garbage collection as my family have been forced to pay garbage tax with our property tax payments without our garbage being collected by the city as my mom dumps and burn her trash in her yard, or basic sidewalks for pedestrian’s right of way and safety, do i need to mention electricity and water mmmm i guess not…museums, festivals, cuisines, nearby travel destinations, bloody esplanade and all those expensive beautification projects are all nice and good but these may not matter much when the basic necesities are not met and provided for, the things that actually affects the very quality of life in choosing a place where to live…sadly for most ilonggos choice is not really an option…it think they should finish that line the say’s “i am iloilo” it should say “i am iloilo and i’m living in the midst of my own filth but i’m fabulous otherwise”

    Reply
  75. Marion
    Marion says:

    How cool to read this article ! I’m French and my boyfriend dutch and we just heard that we will be in Ilo Ilo city for 9 months starting in October for his job. I was a bit anxious but you make me feel very happy to soon call this place home 😉

    Reply
    • Anna
      Anna says:

      Hey Marion!
      I’m happy that my article ispired you to get to know Iloilo! How do you like it there? Please let me know 😉

      Best wishes,

      Anna

      Reply
  76. Grace Mendez- Pech
    Grace Mendez- Pech says:

    That is one reason that i would like to come back to my home city, Iloilo after so so many years to have lived in a industrialized country, Germany. I have profited a lot having the chance to live and work in Germany but seeing the progress of Iloilo now , makes me so happy and contented that i have made the decision to live here for the rest of my life. Thank you so much, Anna. By the way, my daughter’s name is also Anna.

    Reply
  77. John
    John says:

    My wife is from Iloilo, and this Yank from Detroit, Michigan absolutely loves the city. We had a house built there in 2005, and I would love to retire there, but the heat always made me think twice about that idea. Well, thanks to the Megaworld development, problem solved as we purchased a condo in the Madison place complex. I will be able to stay in an air conditioned unit all day if I wish, or swim in the courtyard pool. This is just a classic example of how the city always seems to be better than the previous time I visited. As for nice people, I love my wife’s family very much. They are always trying to make my stay more comfortable. They treat me as well, if not better then my own family, and I have more fun with them. My only complaint is that some of our neighbors in Lucky Homes subd. in Jaro love to blast their stereos loudly late into the night. The Philippines has great, friendly people, but many are discourteous as well. I’m glad my wife’s family is not like that.

    Reply
  78. loch bucane
    loch bucane says:

    i totally agree with you on ponsyon restaurant. to me the best in iloilo city. i was there last month, july 2016 breakthrough is definitely on the running. if you like lechon, tatoy’s is the best. also guimaras mango is the best in the world.

    Reply
  79. Liza Sayonar
    Liza Sayonar says:

    All points is precisely elaborated.. I agree with all the things why people will love to visit Iloilo. People who come to visit Iloilo have the feeling of not wanting to go back to their own place because they really feel that Iloilo is a very beautiful place to live in..

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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