Iloilo is a province of the Philippines, located in the center of the Philippine archipelago. The province comprises the southeastern part of Panay Island with island-province of Guimaras just across its coast. The capital city of the province of Iloilo is the City of Iloilo, which is also one of the major urban centers in the Philippines. It is nicknamed “the Heart of the Philippines”.
Iloilo has always been one of the country’s most important provinces. Merchants from China and India have long traded with the Ilonggos even before the Spaniards came; evidences of this flourishing civilization are displayed in Museums and Private Galleries. Even during the Spanish and American colonial period, Iloilo still proved to be an important trading post. Iloilo has a beautiful harbor with serene and calm waters, safe for navigation because it is protected from the open sea by scenic Guimaras Island. This excellent port facility made Iloilo the center of trade at the turn of the century, with the whole world doing business in this port especially during the heyday of the sugar industry. In fact, Iloilo was given the title of “Queen City of the South” for being the Philippine’s second city, after Manila.
You can still see the old buildings that surprisingly are European and American inspired such as stately mansions, majestic century-old churches, and heritage commercial buildings.
Iloilo’s rich heritage is showcased in multifarious festivals celebrated in the city and various towns of the province. Dubbed as the “Province of Festivals“, Iloilo is proud of its nationally acclaimed Dinagyang Festival, together with smaller but similarly riveting festivities in the province, blends the pagan and the Christian in a street dance masquerade honoring Sto. Nino.