Located in the geographic center of the country, along the southern coast of heart-shaped Panay Island, Iloilo has a lot to offer for travelers who want to explore beyond the Philippines’ typical tourist trail.

The provincial capital, Iloilo City is well-known for its traditional food, rich history, colorful festivals, and progressive yet laid-back vibe. In the northern part of the province, you’ll find stunning islands with gleaming white-sand beaches and a hidden lagoon. Head south to see centuries-old churches and well-preserved heritage sites built during the Spanish-colonial era. Iloilo is blessed with scenic mountains too!

Plan your Iloilo itinerary with this guide on the top things to do and interesting spots to visit in Iloilo.

Iloilo travel essentials: (click below to view prices online)

Where to stayTours + discountsIloilo fares

See also: Boracay Travel Guide | Guimaras Tourist Spots | Where to go in Antique | Things to do in Capiz |  Best Places to Visit in the Philippines.

1. Gigantes Islands

Tangke Lagoon in Gigantes Sur Island, Carles, Iloilo, Philippines

Gigantes is a group of around 10 islands sprinkled across the sparkling seas off the northernmost coast of Iloilo. This island chain is a paradise for nature lovers seeking a beach destination with a rustic vibe & not yet highly commercialized. Island hopping is the most popular activity. Follow the short trail up the rocks at Cabugao Gamay Island for an amazing 360-degree view overlooking the pristine white sand beach and the Visayan Sea Gigantes Sur Island (South Gigantes) is home to Tangke, an enchanting hidden saltwater lagoon, and Antonia White Sand Beach where you can have your picnic lunch of fresh seafood. Make sure to get your fill of scallops, which is abundant in Gigantes and sold very cheap. Gigantes Norte Island (North Gigantes) is an interesting place to see as well. Explore the Spanish-colonial era lighthouse and the not-so-frequently visited Bakwitan Cave. According to local lore, coffins containing oversized human bones were found in this cave, the discovery of which led to the name Islas de Gigantes (literally, the “islands of giants”).

Location: Carles, northern Iloilo. Save on Google Maps.

How to go:

The Gigantes Islands is best reached by boat from Bancal Port in Carles town. The sea journey from Bancal Port to Gigantes is around 1.5 to 2 hours. Travel time by car from Iloilo City to Bancal Port is 3 – 3.5 hours.

To help with your trip planning, I’ve added links to the locations on Google Maps. Feel free to click/tap on the links posted. Then, use the “save” feature on the Google Maps app for easy reference. I’ve also shared photos from my Instagram feed. Use Instagram’s save feature for quick access to your travel/feed goals.

Follow me on Instagram

2. Guimaras

Guimaras is known as the “Mango Capital of the Philippines” & it’s famous for producing one of the sweetest mangoes in the world. The island province is very easy to visit from Iloilo City. The ferry crossing from the heart of the city only takes 15 minutes! Go on a tour around the island & visit Guimaras’ tranquil white-sand beaches & top tourist spots like the Oro Verde Mango Plantation, Trappist Monastery, Guimaras Windmills & more.

Location: Western Visayas. Just off the coast of Iloilo City. Save on Google Maps.

Guimaras Travel Essentials

Where to stayTours + discounts

3. Miagao Church & Southern Iloilo

Miagao Church in Miagao, Iloilo, Philippines

Iloilo flourished during the Spanish-colonial era. This is evident in the exquisite centuries-old churches dotted across the province. Along the Iloilo’s southern coast, the well-preserved Miagao Church stands magnificently as one of the Philippines’ prized architectural gems. The highlight of the Miagao Church is the artistic sculptural relief carved on its facade, which exemplifies the unique blending of Western styles with native motifs. In 1993, the church was included in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. When in Southern Iloilo, you can also visit other interesting attractions like the Garin Farm Pilgrimage Resort, San Joaquin Cemetery, San Joaquin Church, San Joaquin Pebble Beaches, Guimbal Church, Tigbauan Church & more.

Location: Miagao, southern Iloilo. Save on Google Maps.

4. Calle Real & Iloilo City Proper

Calle Real in Iloilo City Proper, Philippines

Take a walk down memory lane in Iloilo City’s old downtown & heritage district. Calle Real (Royal Street in Spanish) served as the city’s main street from the Spanish-colonial Era to around the early 1990s. Start with a tour of the Museum of Philippine Economic History, which shares the history of economic history of the country as well Iloilo’s past as a prosperous port city. With its naturally-protected harbor and river wharf, the city developed as the center of commerce south of Manila during the sugar boom years. Take a photo stop along J.M. Basa Street, where many historic buildings still stand. Have a taste of the famous Queen Siopao at Roberto’s while you’re there! At the Iloilo Provincial Capitol complex, you’ll find the Museo Iloilo and the Western Visayas Regional Museum.

Location: Iloilo City Proper. Save on Google Maps.

See prices & book online

Iloilo City Heritage Tour

5. Iloilo River Esplanade

The Iloilo River Esplanade is the Philippines’ longest linear park. This beautifully landscaped riverside park is a popular tourist spot where visitors can appreciate peaceful views along the Iloilo River. The best time to go is during the early morning and late afternoon hours when the sun is low and the sky is filled with a golden glow. Locals usually head out to the esplanade around this time for a hearty jog or bike. Muelle Deli & many other riverside cafes/restaurants offer a place to chill & have a fine meal while enjoying the scenery.

Location: Iloilo River, Iloilo City. Save on Google Maps.

6. Molo District

Molo Plaza is the central landmark of Molo, one of the seven districts of Iloilo City. This area is where you can find many of the city’s iconic tourist spots including Molo Church and Molo Mansion. The district is also the birthplace of Pancit Molo (a popular Filipino wonton soup dish). Order a hot bowl of Kap Ising’s signature Pancit Molo at the tiny cafe at the plaza. Molo Church (St. Anne Parish Church) dominates the district’s skyline with its towering bell tower and signature red spires. Constructed in 1831, this Neo-Gothic colonial church is known as the “feminist church” because of the all-women ensemble of saints represented in 16 statues perched on the aisle pillars. The Molo Mansion is one of Iloilo City’s finest old homes. It was built in the 1920s and was reopened as a tourist spot and pasalubong store by SM’s Kultura.

Location: San Pedro St. / Locsin St., Molo, Iloilo City. Save on Google Maps.

7. Camiña Balay Nga Bato

Camiña Balay Nga Bato in Iloilo City, Philippines

Iloilo is famous for its grand colonial-era mansions and ancestral houses. If you’re interested to experience how the prominent Ilonggos lived in the past, Camiña Balay nga Bato is one of the best places to go. Built in the 1860s, it is an ancestral house of the Avanceña clan. Don’t leave without trying their signature Tsokolate and Pancit Molo.

Location: Near Villa Arevalo Plaza, Osmeña St., Villa Arevalo District, Iloilo City. Save on Google Maps.

8. ILOMOCA & Iloilo Business Park

ILOMOCA – Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Arts in Iloilo City, Philippines

The Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art or ILOMOCA houses the largest collections of art in the Visayas. It is the first museum in the Visayas and Mindanao dedicated to modern and contemporary art and the first museum in the Visayas exclusively dedicated to Ilonggo visual artists. ILOMOCA is located at the Casa de Emperador (Emperor’s House), a European-inspired complex adorned by an 8.8-meter bronze statue of Iloilo’s revolutionary hero General Martin Delgado. After visiting ILOMOCA, make sure to explore the other attractions and excellent dining options at the Iloilo Business Park as well.

Location: Megaworld Boulevard, Mandurriao, Iloilo City. Save on Google Maps.

9. La Paz Batchoy & La Paz Market

La Paz Batchoy at La Paz Market in Iloilo City, Philippines

La Paz Batchoy (noodle soup) is famous all over the Philippines & it originated in La Paz district of Iloilo City. There’s no better place to get a steaming bowl of La Paz Batchoy than at the La Paz Public Market. If you want to taste more of the local flavours try the halo-halo stalls, also found at the market, and Madge Cafe, which serves traditional local coffee.

Location: 18 Huervana St, La Paz, Iloilo City, 5000 Iloilo. Save on Google Maps.

10. Jaro Cathedral

Jaro Cathedral in Iloilo City, Philippines

Constructed in 1874, the Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral is the first cathedral in Panay Island and an important pilgrimage site among devotees of the miraculous Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria. Her statue, perched atop the façade of the cathedral, was canonically crowned by a Pope and Saint John Paul II. The bell tower is located across a busy street from the church, which makes it distinct from other churches in Iloilo. Another feature of the church is its all-male ensemble of saints placed on the main pillars, except for the Virgin’s icon. The arrangement is in response to Molo Church’s all-female theme. The Candelaria’s feast is celebrated every 2nd of February, which draws a huge crowd of devotees.

Location: Beside Jaro Plaza. Plaza Rizal St., Jaro, Iloilo City. Save on Google Maps.

Top Spots in Iloilo Province

11. Sicogon Island

Sicogon is one of the many beautiful islands of northern Iloilo. It is blessed with crystal clear waters and long stretches of white sand beach lined with coconut trees. Sicogon Island is being developed by Ayala Land as a world-class tourism estate. The company operates two high-end properties, namely Balay Kogon and Huni Resorts. Mt. Opao, recognizably crowned by a bare rock summit, is the highest point of Sicogon. The summit is accessible by trekking and on the summit, the entire coastline that surrounds the island. Sicogon Island is located south of the Gigantes Islands. The boat journey between Sicogon and Gigantes takes around 1 hour.

Location: Carles, northern Iloilo. Save on Google Maps.

12. Concepcion Islands

Farther south of Gigantes Islands and Sicogon awaits another tropical paradise. The Concepcion group of islands offers one of the most scenic seascapes in the whole Province of Iloilo. Mount Pan de Azucar, named because of its resemblance to Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), is the highest point and island chain’s best known landmark. Island hopping day tours and overnight trips can easily be arranged from the municipal tourism office at the mainland. Some of the best spots to visit here include Bulubadiangan Sandbar Island, Agho Island, Badiango Island Resort on Danao-Danao Island, Lumpatan Rock Formation on Pan de Azucar Island, Bago Sipol Beach Resort (Chico Island), Malangabang Sandbar, and Balas Kayo Beach on Malangabang Island.

Location: Concepcion, northern Iloilo. Save on Google Maps.

13. Bucari & Leon

Breathe the fresh mountain air and relish the cool climate in the summer capital of Iloilo. Located in the mountainous area of Leon, Bucari is known for its verdant pine forest and panoramic vistas overlooking terraced vegetable farms, lush mountains, and even a glimpse of Iloilo City on a clear day. A hiking trail from Brgy. Camandag follows the river to Imoy Falls. The short cascade drops into a small natural pool that is perfect for swimming.

Location: Leon, central Iloilo. Save on Google Maps.

See more of Iloilo

14. Igbaras Waterfalls & Hiking Trails

Home to Mt. Napulak, the iconic “nipple top” mountain, Igbaras is one of Iloilo’s most popular hiking destinations. There are many waterfalls to see along the trails including Nadsadjan Falls and Guiritsan Falls. If you are lucky, you might even stumble upon a rare Rafflesia (among the world’s largest flowers) blooming along the mountain slopes.

Location: Tubungan, southcentral Iloilo. Save on Google Maps.

15. Baldan View & Tubungan

Tubungan is another beautiful highland destination in Iloilo. It has recently become quite popular among local tourists after the construction of good roads made it more accessible. Popular spots to see in Tubungan include the Baldan Viewdeck, Bato Sumpit falls & Mt. Lingguhob.

Location: Tubungan, southcentral Iloilo. Save on Google Maps.

Where to go Beyond Iloilo

Boracay

Marcos at White Beach, in Boracay, Malay, Aklan, Philippines

Located off the northwestern tip of Panay Island, Boracay Island is the Philippines’ top beach destination, home to 4-kilometer White Beach. From Iloilo City, the land trip to Caticlan Port takes around 5 hours. Boracay Island is a short 10 to 15-minute ferry ride away from Caticlan.

Location: Western Visayas region

Boracay Travel Essentials

Where to stayTours + discounts

Bacolod City & Negros Occidental

Negros Occidental Provincial Capitol in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines

Bacolod, the City of Smiles and gateway to Negros Occidental province, is known as Iloilo’s twin city because of the close social and economic ties shared between the two Western Visayas cities. Travel time by fast craft ferry from Iloilo to Bacolod is 1 hour and 40 minutes approx. This ferry route is one of the busiest in the entire country.

Location: Negros Occidental, Western Visayas region

Bacolod & Negros Occidental Travel Essentials

Where to stayTours + discounts

Antique

The neighboring province of Antique, the land ‘Where the Mountains Meet the Sea”, is a worthwhile place to go for nature lovers. Travel time by car from Iloilo City to San Jose, the capital town of Antique, takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Location: Panay Island, Western Visayas region. Save on Google Maps.

Antique Travel Essentials

Where to stayTours + discounts

Capiz

The Ruins of Alcatraz in Roxas City, Capiz, Philippines

Capiz province and its capital, Roxas City, is known as the Seafood Capital of the Philippines. The land journey from Iloilo City to Roxas City takes around 2 hours.

Location: Panay Island, Western Visayas region. Save on Google Maps.

Roxas City & Capiz Travel Essentials

Where to stay

Kalibo & Aklan

Marcos at Hinugtan Beach, in Buruanga, Aklan, Philippines

Discover Aklan beyond Boracay Island. Kalibo, the provincial capital can be reached from Iloilo City on a 3-hour land trip.

Location: Panay Island, Western Visayas region. Save on Google Maps.

Aklan Travel Essentials

Where to stayTours + discounts

What places have you added to your bucketlist? Have you been to beautiful places in Iloilo that should be on this list? Feel free to share your thoughts!

Places to visit in Iloilo

Iloilo tourist spots, things to do in Iloilo, where to go in Iloilo & more.

Note: Destinations featured above are not listed by rank.

Book your way to Iloilo

How much does it cost to travel to Iloilo? Click below to compare flight, ferry & buses fares posted on these booking sites:

BookAway12go.asia

Where to Stay in Iloilo

Click below & search recommended Iloilo hotels/hostels/home rentals within your budget. Remember to set your min/max price, travel dates, and sort by review ratings. I often book online with these trusted booking sites below for rock-bottom prices & convenient bookings.

AgodaBooking.com

Book sooner rather than later if you already have your dates set. Cheaper-priced rooms and hotels with high reviews tend to get fully booked faster, especially during busy days like weekends, holidays & peak tourist seasons.

Iloilo Essentials & Top Discounts

Iloilo Airport-City Shuttle Bus – ILO Shared P2P Transfers

See discounts

Iloilo Airport-Iloilo City Hotel Shuttle – ILO Private and Shared Transfers

See discounts

Iloilo Seaport to Hotel Shuttle – Fort San Pedro Port Transfers

See discounts

Click below to see more on:

Klook

Don’t Stop Here

Click below for more travel inspiration:

Share your travel goals with #detourista

Follow on Instagram