Best Local Places

5 Iloilo Old Mansions To Give You a Glimpse of the City's Heritage

Get to know Iloilo's rich heritage with these beautiful ancestral houses.

By: Karen Bermejo | May 30, 2022
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Never forget your camera when visiting famous mansions in Iloilo.

Images: Ryan Aero Abarico Arbis (L); Molo Mansion (R)

While developments in Iloilo continue to expand, the Ilonggos did not fail in preserving their heritage. The city’s old buildings, churches, and houses remain its primary tourist drawer. Most of its ancient buildings, particularly in the city’s central district, even underwent a significant facelift in the past years.

Aside from the picturesque buildings, Iloilo has old mansions to boast about. These vintage homes have withstood the test of time and have remained attractive. Thanks to the efficient maintenance of the mansions, they are still standing today. Check out this list to know the old mansions in Iloilo.

1. Nelly’s Garden

Where: Where: E. Lopez Street, Jaro, Iloilo City

Old Mansions: Iloilo's Famous Houses, old mansions Iloilo

Take an Instagram-worthy shot of the façade of Nelly’s Garden.

Image: Nelly Garden Iloilo Facebook page

If you’re traversing E. Lopez Street, it is hard to miss the grandiose Nelly’s Garden. Its white façade and well-landscaped lawn can surely attract anyone’s attention. Aside from its exterior beauty, the interior of this heritage mansion of the famous Lopez clan is also popular. You’ll travel back in time inside the mansion, from its furniture to its designs.

The mansion is open to the public for tours and events. Tours are done for a minimum of five people. Meanwhile, the place can be rented for at least three hours. The garden area can also host up to 500 people, while the main mansion can cater to 100 people.

Tip: Book ahead of your tour with their admin staff to avoid conflicting schedules.

How to get to Nelly’s Garden: From Iloilo City Proper, take a jeepney with the Jaro-CPU route and get off in front of the mansion. Travel time is about 10 to 15 minutes from the city proper.

May 2022 Update: The mansion tour is currently not allowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the central garden and La Joya hall are open for events and photoshoots.

2. Molo Mansion

Where: Locsin Street, Molo, Iloilo City
Operating Hours: Daily, 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM

Old Mansions: Iloilo's Famous Houses, mansions

Wait for the picturesque sunset at Molo Mansion and be in awe of its beauty.

Image: Molo Mansion Facebook page

With its central location, it is so easy to find Molo Mansion. It’s just across the Molo Plaza and faces the St. Anne Parish Church. Its white façade complements the aesthetic beauty of the sculptures at the plaza. SM now manages the Molo Mansion, previously owned by the Yusay-Consing family. After its retrofitting activity, the place was opened to the public. It has a souvenir shop and various cafés outside now. The area also features products and delicacies made by Ilonggos. It has a small museum featuring Ilonggo artists as well. Outside its main building, there are restaurants and cafés featuring native Ilonggo food. There are also bikes for rent in the area, which can be used around its spacious garden area.

Tip: The best time to visit the place is around sunset when it’s less humid.

How to get to Molo Mansion: From Iloilo City Proper, take any jeepney passing along Molo Plaza. Get off at Molo Plaza and walk for at least a minute to reach the mansion. Travel time is about 15 to 20 minutes from the city proper.

3. Lizares Mansion

Where: McArthur Drive, Barangay Tabuc Suba, Jaro, Iloilo City
Operating Hours: 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Old Mansions: Iloilo's Famous Houses, ancestral house

The Lizares Mansion looks like a Christmas village even during the daytime.

Image: Chris Jan Hechanova Lozada’s Facebook page

When you’re coming from northern Iloilo, you can pass by Lizares Mansion. The place gets more attention, though, when it’s the Christmas season. It’s famous for its colorful lights covering the whole facade of the mansion. The mansion, however, now houses one of the most prominent Catholic schools in the city, the Angelicum School Iloilo. The school is open to the public who want to take photos of the building. The mansion building is also tucked inside the compound. On its entrance is a well-landscaped green playground.

Tip: You need to give the mansion’s guard prior notice if you want to go inside the mansion.

How to get to Lizares Mansion: From Iloilo City Proper, take any jeepney with the routes Jaro Liko, Leganes Plaza, or Leganes Hi-way. Tell the driver to drop you off at Angelicum School since it is more known for that.

4. Camiña Balay nga Bato

Where: 20 Osmena Street, Arevalo, Iloilo City

Old Mansions: Iloilo's Famous Houses, old mansions Iloilo

Travel back in time while dining at this stone-made mansion.

Image: Camiña Balay nga Bato Facebook page

The Camiña Balay nga Bato is visited by many, not for the beauty of its heritage but likewise for its gastronomic menu. Aptly named Balay nga Bato, the house is made of stone. After the Camiña family decided to open it to the public, they also opened their heirloom recipes to the world. On the second floor of the building is the dining area featuring classic Ilonggo dishes. Their specialty is the classic pancit molo (Ilonggo soup) and their super-rich tablea or hot chocolate drink. They are also serving other Filipino dishes for lunch and dinner. Aside from the dining area, they also offer local produce such as tablea, homemade sinamak (spiced vinegar), and some hand-woven fabrics displayed on the house’s first floor.

Tip: If you’re traveling in groups, you can make a reservation for at least 10 people three days before your visit. It is open for delivery and no-contact pickup for its products.

How to get to Camiña Balay nga Bato: From Iloilo City Proper, take a Villa-Arevalo jeepney and get off in front of the restaurant mansion.

5. Casa Mariquit

Where: Santa Isabel Street, Jaro, Iloilo City
Operating Hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Old Mansions: Iloilo's Famous Houses, Iloilo

With its natural sepia color, you’ll indeed feel the ancient vibe of Casa Mariquit.

Image: Renze Trance’s Facebook page

Unlike the first four mansions, Casa Mariquit is not yet turned into a museum for commercial use. It remains an ancestral house of the famous Javellana and Lopez clan in Iloilo. The place, however, was opened to the public as part of the owner’s commitment to sharing their heritage. The house remains to be well maintained even today. It also has the original furniture of the owner. Old frames are also hung on the walls, so you’ll feel like you are seeing the owners’ lives. The place is open daily to the public. You can also score a free tour from the caretaker of the house.

Tip: Plan your visit on weekdays to avoid crowds. The entrance fee is PhP50 per head.

How to get to Casa Mariquit: From Iloilo City, take a Jaro-Liko NFA jeepney and get off near the Shell Station in Sta. Isabel St., then walk a few steps to the mansion. Travel time is about 15 to 20 minutes from the city proper.

Despite the developments in the city, Iloilo truly never forgets its heritage by showcasing its old, beautiful mansions to its visitors.

This article was initially published in Yoorekka on October 23, 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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