Where to go in Iloilo City when you only have a day to tour around it? Yes, a day. I spent a weekend in Iloilo, but on the first day, I was at Guimaras Island, a boat transfer away from the city. So technically, I only had a day to tour around Iloilo.
One of the reasons I went to Iloilo is because I visited a college friend. Jaz is the first person I met in college where we took up AB International Studies, Major in Asian Studies, dreaming about being diplomats some day. But in our second year, we shifted to another course, different from each other. Lol. But we remained friends and still meeting up.
It’s always better to travel in a certain area where you know a local. They know what places to suggest, what food to eat, and some brief history of the city. And thank God, Jaz lives here.
Tourist Spots in Iloilo
There are a lot of mansions in Iloilo because years before, a lot of Spaniards lived in Iloilo. According to a local, most of the Spaniards before lived in Roxas City but because of the war, the survived elite Spaniards moved to Iloilo to avoid the war.
Their mansions are now tourist area in the city, some are well-maintained, some are now old ruins.
I wasn’t able to look around the second floor where usually there is an exhibit event because it’s closed. They are preparing for an upcoming event.
So I stayed at their cafe, tried their blue ternate ice cream, and bought a souvenir in Kultura inside the mansion.
The Molo Church (Parish of Saint Anne, Molo)
Across the Molo Mansion is the Molo Church. Well, as we all know, Spaniard’s religion is Roman Catholicism. If you’re in a city where there were a lot of Spaniards lived, expect that there are also a lot of lavish Roman Catholic churches.
Another fun fact from a local: Years ago, if your house is near a church, you’re part of the rich families in Iloilo.
Casa Mariquit (50 PHP Entrance Fee)
Ladies & Gentlemen welcome to the house of Philippine’s former Vice President Fernando Lopez!
This is my favorite spot in Iloilo. It’s like the McKinley Hills of Manila but so much peaceful. The area is similar in Taguig City – a high-end area in the city but less crowded.
I wasn’t able to take pictures in Mamusa Art Bistro/Gallery but their video header in their Facebook Page clearly shows what the bistro/art gallery look like.
We took a quick bite of their beefy nachos and had a few wine drinks while mesmerizing at their artworks on the second floor of the bistro.
The place is along the Festive Walk.
Another museum they have in Festive Walk is the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art. It’s located just beside the Mamusa!
Unfortunately, we aren’t allowed to take photos inside the museum. If you’re fond of contemporary arts, go visit it!
What To Eat & Where
If Guimaras Island has its mangoes, Iloilo has its Lapaz Batchoy with Puto! It’s their signature snack and a must. You can’t leave Iloilo without trying it.
There are several Lapaz Batchoy restaurants in Iloilo, but we only tried in Teodorico by Ted’s Oldtimer Lapaz Batchoy in Festive Walk (Now you see why I love Festive Walk?)
When I craved for something sweet in the middle of the night, Jaz took me to Dessert in the Sky. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to eat but they have lots of sweets and good choices. I had my best ice cream cake, strawberry & vanilla flavor.
They have the best and freshest seafood! I was dancing with joy while eating their kinilaw, baked scallops, buttered shrimp, boneless bangus, and crab fried rice. We also had chicken and grilled pork with fresh fruit shakes!
The best part is it’s located by the sea. You enjoy fresh seafood and an awesome view at the same time.
For those who are allergic to seafood, you definitely have to bring your anti-allergy medicines.
I wasn’t able to take photos of the food because I enjoyed it from the time it was brought to the table down to my stomach. Thank you Lamis family for bringing me here!
On my last night in Iloilo, Jaz’s family took me to Farm To Table, a buffet restaurant with very fresh, very organic food.
I loved their Kare-Kare, salad, and fresh fruit shakes. #organic
Where I Stayed
Jaz opened their house for me to stay, but we decided to book a hotel room. Since the hotels I stayed before are mostly modern style, Jaz suggested we’d stay in Lifesprings Community Center. It’s a wooden, old, Spanish-like era style. It’s very homey, very peaceful, secluded, and it’s perfect for relaxation.
It’s not in Agoda or any hotel booking sites yet, but you can reach out to them via their Facebook page.
We would’ve stayed there the whole weekend, but we had to transfer the night before my flight back to Davao because there is a wedding. Lifesprings is cute for garden weddings.
So we moved to Figtree Hotel. It’s very clean because it’s a newly built hotel, but their facilities aren’t complete yet. They don’t have a hotel restaurant yet.
I didn’t spend much on my accommodation in Figtree because of the Agoda Cash. If you have an Agoda account, you gain Agoda cash whenever you book your hotel. I used up my remaining Agoda Cash so my booking was discounted.
What I Love About Iloilo
I’m really thankful for the Lamis family. I enjoyed my stay there, caught up with Jaz, talked about what we can remember in our college memory lane, planned our next trip, and enjoyed their company. They are a very generous family; you can tell with how many Iloilo delicacies I brought home.
Another thing that I loved in Iloilo is the tourist places or most places where people hang out are near each other. If you’re in Festive Walk Mall, it’ll only take you 5-8 minutes to get to SM City Iloilo. If you’re in Robinsons Place, it takes 10-20 minutes to get to the Ortiz Wharf.
If you love to walk, you can walk to a coffee shop if you’re from your hotel or condo. Places are near each other in Iloilo. I went to a lot of places in Iloilo in just a day.
I think I can live here. Lol.