Feature Article

Where to Go in Iloilo: Exploring the Province's Diverse Districts

Aside from the city, Iloilo itself has a fair share of tourist spots that are worth the visit!

By: Karen Bermejo | July 16, 2020
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Due to current government restrictions in place, some of the featured destinations below might not be open yet. Please contact their management before visiting.

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Besides the city, Iloilo province has so much to offer in terms of places to visit.

Image: Islas de Gigantes Facebook page

Thanks to a number of developments happening in Iloilo City, its glorious days are back. Also thanks to these developments, you’ll never run out of options on where to go in Iloilo. But beyond the city, there are also exciting things that you can discover and experience.

It’s also about time to pay attention to the various parts of Iloilo, and this time, we’re talking about the province. Iloilo province is divided into five districts; all blessed with its own unique places to visit. If you want to get out of the city and experience the beaches, mountains, seas, and a whole lot more, check out this list of where to go in Iloilo.

1st District: iconic churches and a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Recommended places: Miagao Church, Zulueta Avenue, Miagao, IloIlo and GarinFarm Pilgrimage Resort, Purok 2, San Joaquin, Iloilo
Estimated travel time: About one hour from Iloilo City
Recommended budget for two: PhP1,000


Curious what it feels like to be in heaven? This inland resort in San Joaquin might satisfy your curiosity.

Image: GarinFarm Pilgrimage Resort Facebook page

One of the most iconic landmarks in this district is the world renowned church of Miagao. The Baroque church built in 1786 is even included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). Its picturesque façade is a favorite spot for a photo among visitors. Another Instagram-worthy destination in the 1st district is the Heaven on Earth in San Joaquin, Iloilo. The attraction is situated on a hill which can be reached by talking at least 300 steps of stairs. The place also has life-size statues of various biblical characters. With its all white paint, complemented by the clear-blue sky, it surely looks like you’re in heaven. Both Miagao and San Joaquin are the last towns before reaching the province of Antique. Other first district towns include Guimbal, Igbaras, Oton, Tigbauan, and Tubungan.

July 2020 Update: GarinFarm Pilgrimage Resort is temporarily closed.

2nd District: Pine trees and grape picking

Recommended places: Bucari Pine Forest and Campsite, Sitio Tabionan, Bucari, Leon, Iloilo
Estimated travel time: About one hour and 30 minutes from Iloilo City
Recommended budget for two: PhP1,000

places to visit

Set up your tents and commune with nature at Bucari.

Image: Bucari Leon Facebook page

There’s no need for Ilonggos to travel north anymore to experience pine trees and cool weather. In the mountains of Leon, a pine tree covered forest is gaining popularity for its Baguio-like coolness. This attraction is located in the village of Bucari. With its popularity, there are now trails, as well as tents and camp sites in the area. Find the view deck in the area and you will be treated with the majestic view of the mountains of Leon and the nearby town of Alimodian. Upon going down, you can also shop for the fresh produce from the local farmers. If you want to do some fruit picking activities, you can then head to another second district town called Sta. Barbara. There you can pick grapes on your own at Denila Farms located in Barangay Lanag. The 2.7 hectare orchard has rows of grapes for picking.

July 2020 Update: Bucari Pine Forest and Campsite is temporarily closed.

3rd District: Farm resort visits

Recommended places: Damires Hills Tierra Verde, Janiuay-Badiangan-Mina Road, Janiuay, Iloilo and Ephrathah Farm, Sariri, Badiangan, Iloilo
Estimated travel time: About one hour from Iloilo City
Recommended budget for two: PhP1,500

tourist spot

Enjoy both the pleasures of farm and resort living at these farm resorts.

Image: Damires Hills Tierra Verde Leisure Farm Facebook page

Before farm resorts became so popular for their benefits for sustainable tourism, Iloilo was already taking a lead. Thanks to the two farm tourism which started the trend in Iloilo – Damires Hills Tierra Verde in Janiuay and Ephrathah Farm in Badiangan. Aside from hotel accommodation being available, both resorts give a glimpse of how important farming is. The two farms are advocating organic farming which is evident of the food they are serving in their respective restaurants. Another farm to visit in the district is the Mapols Farm in Pototan. For a PhP20 entrance, anyone can surely enjoy what’s inside the area. It is also well landscaped and decorated with a lot of upcycled materials.

July 2020 Updates:
Damires Hills Tierra Verde has resumed operations.
Ephratha Farm is temporarily closed.

4th District: Unlimited spelunking

Recommended places: Bulabog Puti-an National Park, Barangay Lincud, Dingle, Iloilo
Estimated travel time: About 55 minutes from Iloilo City
Recommended budget for two: PhP1,000

tourist places

You can visit as many caves as you want at Bulabog Puti-an National Park.

Image: DENR – Bulabog-Putian National Park Facebook page

The 4th district of Iloilo may not be the most popular go-to place for Iloilo visitors but that doesn’t mean it has nothing to offer. In fact, maybe it’s time you should give it your attention.

Did you know that it is home to the biggest limestone rock formation in the Panay Island? Known as the Bulabog Puti-An National Park located between the towns of Dingle and San Enrique, the limestones there were used to construct the century-old Dingle Church. Bulabog Puti-an is also a protected wildlife area. This natural park also has 33 known and named caves. The best time to visit the place starts this October until summer time. Aside from Dingle and San Enrique, Passi City also has its fair share of cave attractions with seven caves you can explore.

July 2020 Update: Bulabog Puti-an National Park is now open to visitors.

Got bitten by the travel bug? Check out Yoorekka Magazine for the most gorgeous places in the country!

5th District: Beach and island hopping

Recommended places: Islas de Gigantes and Sicogon Island, Carles, Iloilo; Baliguian Island, Concepcion, Iloilo
Estimated travel time: About three to four hours from Iloilo City
Recommended budget for two: PhP3,000

where to go Iloilo

Need a break? A weekend getaway at Islas de Gigantes in Carles is truly possible.

Image: Islas de Gigantes Facebook page

If you love the beach, sand, and sun, then the fifth district should be your destination. The towns on the northern part of Iloilo have numerous islands that are gaining popularity for their beauty. First is the Islas de Gigantes. This group of islands in Carles is often compared to the El Nido in Palawan for its lagoon and karst rocks. While it has smaller lagoons, its picturesque beauty is gaining more tourists for Carles. If you want lesser known but equally beautiful islands in the district, you may have heard of Sicogon Island also in Carles and Baliguian Island in Concepcion town. Sicogon is known to have powdery sands like those of Boracay. Baliguian, on the other hand, is also gaining tourist’s attention for its unspoiled beauty with a lot of destinations to choose from. A better way to explore the fifth district is through island hopping.

The different districts of Iloilo provide various vacation options for every traveler. Maybe it’s high time for you to visit these spots on your next holiday.

This article was originally published in Yoorekka on September 11, 2019.
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About Karen Bermejo
Karen writes to earn a living, tell stories and promote her advocacies. She’s a traveler and a volunteer. Her adventurous soul makes her more comfortable to sleep on the couch of a stranger than pay bucks for accommodation. Her ultimate dream is to travel the world, master a foreign language and learn how to swim. To keep her sanity while chasing her dreams, she chases waterfalls on weekends.
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Disclaimer: All articles in the Consumers Magazine of Yoorekka are for general information and entertainment purposes only. Although careful research has been made in writing them, Yoorekka does not make any warranty about the completeness and accuracy of all information presented in our articles. Our content is not intended to be used in place of legal, medical, or any professional advice.
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