A CULINARY haven, a vibrant festival destination, a cosmopolitan trading port since the turn of the last century, the heart of the Philippines, and so much more.
It’s a fairly easy task to fall in love with Iloilo – a locale steeped in history and rich indigenous culture, yet also an emergent city assuredly making strides toward a sustainable tomorrow, an eclectic marriage of the traditional and the modern. As multifaceted as it is colorful, Iloilo will leave you spellbound by its manifold charms.
Here are nine reasons why you should consider the “City of Love” as your next MICE destination.
- THE HEART OF THE PHILIPPINES
Smack dab in the middle of this vibrant archipelago, Iloilo’s strategic location lends its ease of accessibility to most major hubs in Luzon and Mindanao, as well as being a gateway to multi-cultural Panay Island and the greater Visayas.
Touted as the “Heart of the Philippines,” Iloilo traces its roots as a major port city to 1855, when the metropolis was first opened to world trade. Now, the city’s harbors and the Iloilo International Airport (with direct flights to Hong Kong and Singapore) stand as among the busiest in the country, establishing the locale as an invaluable epicenter of business for centuries now, and counting.
2. STEEPED IN HISTORY
Ours is a culture shaped by a rich genteel history and undeniable Spanish influence, as demonstrated by Iloilo’s architectural marvels: from the stately ancestral mansions of the moneyed sugar barons to age-old ornate churches that have stood the test of time. The country’s former textile capital and the Philippines’ most important seaport during the Spanish era – second only to Manila – one only needs to visit Iloilo’s immersive museums to fully fathom the city’s old glory.
3. A FOOD-LOVER’S HAVEN
Satisfy your cravings: From the quintessential Ilonggo batchoy, to seafood freshly plucked from the ocean, to saccharine delicacies that will satisfy any sweet tooth – Iloilo is a gastronomical destination like no other. Iloilo’s sprawling shorelines and serendipitous proximity to the uplands ensures abundant produce from both the land and the sea whole year-round, making it a bountiful playground for chefs and foodies alike.
4. Sunny Shores, Marvelous Mount
Traced by the Panay Gulf in the east and bordered by the Central Panay Mountain Range in the west, Iloilo and its neighboring provinces has scenic excursions for beachcombers and mountain adventurers alike.
A few hours north of Iloilo City are the pristine white sand shores of Concepcion and Carles, boasting azure waters, idyllic sandbars, and awe-inspiring rock formations. Trekking upland, you’ll discover chilly Bucari, Leon with its dazzling mountain-top views. But of course, why go far when the island paradise of Guimaras is just a 15-minute motorized banca ride from downtown Iloilo?
5. Heartfelt Ilonggo Hospitality
Ilonggos, Iloilo’s locals, are known to be a generous and hospitable bunch – it isn’t the “City of Love” for nothing. Hoteliers and restauranteurs in this cosmopolitan destination put a premium on exceptional service to delight guests, but Ilonggos have always been innately warm and outgoing.
The friendly spirit of Iloilo’s people is best showcased during the festivities and merrymaking of the annual Dinagyang Festival, celebrated on the 4th Sunday of January every year in honor of the Sto. Niño – when smiles abound and camaraderie reigns.
6. Beacon of Sustainability
Lauded for numerous successful civic initiatives, sustainability has become the foundation for the mapping and planning of this developing metropolis.
The Iloilo River Esplanade first comes to mind, an 8.1-kilometer linear park that traces the banks of its namesake waterway, running along major thoroughfares in the city.
Iloilo has also been proclaimed the “Most Bike-Friendly City” in the country by the PhilBike Awards, recognized for its road sharing initiatives and its protected bike lanes.
7. Among Southeast Asia’s Safest Cities
Iloilo is consistently recognized as one of the safest cities in Southeast Asia by the survey of international online database Numbeo. In 2019, the city landed 8th place, following the ranks of Singapore, Bangkok, and Bali, among others.
The city’s peace and order has proven to be a major lure for local and international tourists and investors who applaud the strict law enforcement in the bustling metro.
8. Seamless Incentives
The tight-knit collaboration of Iloilo’s MICE Alliance seeks to offer a seamless experience, with an across-the-board incentive plan that no other city is likely capable to match – encompassing from confab discounts on domestic airfare, to exclusive hotel perks, and even concessions from major malls and affiliated restaurants. Iloilo promises an unparalleled MICE experience.
9. International MICE Standards
Iloilo is committed to abide by the tight touchstones of global MICE standards. The city has revealed itself a trailblazer, being one of only a few hubs in the Philippines to have successfully hosted both APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) meetings and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) delegates in 2015 and 2017, respectively.
Already MICE-tested, multifaceted Iloilo City, with its manifold charms, is ready to welcome more tourists and guests!/PN