Iloilo City

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City of Iloilo
Ph locator iloilo.png
Region Western Visayas (Region VII)
Province Iloilo (capital)
Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog (Liberal Party)
Barangays 180
Physical characteristics
Area 70.3 km²
Total (2000) 365,820
Density 6533/km²

The City of Iloilo (Hiligaynon: Dakbanwa sang Iloilo; Filipino: Lungsod ng Iloilo) is the capital city of the province of Iloilo in the Philippines. It is the regional center and the main economic hub of the Western Visayas region. The city has a population of 365,820 as of the 2000 census, making it the ninth most populous city in the Philippines.

Iloilo is historically one of the major agricultural centers of the country, and began exporting sugar, copra, bananas, mangoes, and other natural resources during the Spanish and American colonial periods.

In the 2000 census with updated figures conducted by the Philippine National Statistics Office, Iloilo City has a population of 365,820 people in 72,218 households with a 1.93% annual population growth. Average population density is 6,533 people per square kilometer which on a comparative scale is half that of Tokyo.



Iloilo City is politically subdivided into 180 barangays. The barangays are grouped into six districts [1]:

All of the districts of Iloilo City were once individual towns. They were incorporated into one city when Iloilo gained cityhood status in 1937. All districts have their own churches, which are subordinate to the Archdiocese of Jaro. Jaro, Mandurriao and Molo are considered commercial areas, while Arevalo and La Paz are residential areas. Molo was once a residential district, while Mandurriao is home to Iloilo's airport (Mandurriao Airport) as well as the city's largest shopping mall, SM City Iloilo. City Proper is also a commercial area and the political center of the city and of Iloilo province. It is also home to the Iloilo seaport.

Medical Facilities

There are 7 hospitals and 338 health units in the city.<ref></ref> Iloilo is served by 2 government hospitals, Western Visayas Medical Center and West Visayas State University Medical Center (formerly Don Benito Lopez Memorial Hospital). There are also 5 private hospitals in the city: St. Paul's Hospital, Iloilo Doctors' Hospital Iloilo Mission Hospital, Saviour International Hospital, and St. Therese-MTCC Hospital.

The city is a hub for medical treatment, and patients from the province of Iloilo as well as nearby provinces seek their consult in the hospitals and clinics.

Museo Iloilo is the repository of Iloilo's past.


Iloilo City is the center of finance in the Western Visayas Region due to the numerous banks and other similar financial institutions which has invested in the city. Its banks range from small cooperatives to international banks. Iloilo is home to several commercial, savings, universal and rural banks. To name a few, they are Banco De Oro, Philippine National Bank, Equitable PCI, Security Bank, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Metrobank, China Bank and Union Bank. The city also has some foreign banks, three of which are Malaya, Standard Chartered and Citibank Savings. On the other hand, Queenbank is the city's largest and best-known local bank. All in all, there are about 112 banks in the city, rated as second in the whole country in number of banks.

The Old Calle Real (JM Basa Street) in downtown Iloilo City, planned as a heritage site

There are also a handful of investment houses in the city as well that engage in stock trading.

Pawnshop and Jewelry stores in the city also about and make their presence felt. There are as many Pawnshops as there are banks in the city, the most notable of which are Tan-Guzman Pawnshop, Sarabia, Florete, Lhullier, V.Y.Domingo and Gorriceta.


Iloilo City has 30 public and private high schools and 7 universities. Aside from the government-subsidized University of the Philippines in the Visayas (UPV - Iloilo) and West Visayas State University (WVSU), Iloilo City also has five private universities: the Catholic University of San Agustin (USA) located in the city proper, the Protestant Central Philippine University (CPU) in Jaro district, the secular and Lopez-owned University of Iloilo (UI), the Catholic, St. Paul University and John B. Lacson Foundation University which specializes in Maritime courses. Likewise there are also a number of colleges, such as Iloilo Doctor's College which provides Medicine and Nursing Degrees, De Paul College which provides courses in business and arts, the Western Visayas College of Science and Technology formerly Iloilo School Of Arts and Trade (ISAT) which specializes in Science and Technology related courses and Western Institute of Technology (WIT) specializing in Engineering courses. Additionally there are several Computer colleges in the city such as AMA, STI and Informatics as well as several English language "schools" that cater almost exclusively to Korean students. The city is a home of oldest catholic schools administered by the Daughters of Charity, namely, Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus (CSCJ) and Colegio de San Jose (CSJ). The city is also home to four educational institutions that are affiliates of prominent universities: UPV - Iloilo, St. Paul's University, University of San Agustin and Ateneo de Iloilo.
West Visayas State University- Quezon Hall and university seal.

The state of education in Iloilo City is considered to be at par with national standards. Some of the aforementioned educational institutions rate highly in licensure examinations in nursing, accountancy, medicine and in the bar exams when it comes to law. In accountancy courses, UPV and CPU belongs to the top three schools in the country, it maintains a passing rate of 85% and above in the accountancy board exams. In Law, USA belongs to one of the few schools in the country that rates 50% or more in the bar exams. Western Institute of Technology and CPU is known for its good passing percentage in the engineering board exams. In nursing, St. Paul University and West Visayas State University consistently make it to the top 5 top performing schools with passing rate of 99% in the board exam. Central Philippine University College of Nursing is also noted as the first nursing school in the Philippines established in 1906.

Iloilo is also known for its high school institutions with high standards of teaching. These includes Chinese and exclusive schools such as Iloilo Central Commercial High School, Iloilo Scholastic Academy (ISA; 怡朗新华学院; , Assumption (for girls, and PAREF-Westbridge School (for boys). which provides the necessary learnings and skills for their students in preparation for college education. The Western Visayas campus of the premiere science high school in the country, the Philippine Science High School, is also located in the city.

On the whole, Iloilo has one of the highest literacy rates in the country and is an educational center in the western visayas region.


Hiligaynon is the language spoken in Iloilo City. English is used as the language of business and education. In addition, Tagalog and other local languages such as Kinaray-a are also spoken.

Hiligaynon is part of the Austronesian language branch spoken in Western Visayas. The Austronesian languages are a family of languages widely dispersed throughout the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, with a few members on continental Asia. Hiligaynon is concentrated in the provinces of Iloilo and Negros Occidental. There are approximately 7,000,000 people in and outside the Philippines who are native speakers of Hiligaynon, and an additional 4,000,000 who are capable of speaking it with a substantial degree of proficiency. Ilonggo is also the name of the culture associated with the people speaking Hiligaynon.


Even before the Spanish colonizers came, Iloilo had a flourishing economy. In the 13th century, ten Bornean datus came to the island of Panay and bartered a gold hat (salakot) for the plains and valleys of the island from a local Ati chieftain. One datu, named Paiburong, was given the territory of Irong-Irong.

Iglesia de Santa Ana, Molo, Iloilo City. Known as "women's church", inside this Roman Catholic Church are rows of statues of women saints.

In 1566, as the Spanish conquest of the Philippines was underway and moving north toward Manila, the Spaniards under Miguel López de Legazpi came to Panay and established a settlement in Ogtong (now Oton). He appointed Gonzalo Ronquillo de Peñaloza as deputy encomiendero, a position which would later become governor in later years.

In 1581 Ronquillo moved the town center approximately 12 km west due to recurrent raids by Moro pirates and Dutch and English privateers, and renamed the area La Villa de Arevalo in honor of his hometown in Ávila, Spain.

In 1700, due to ever-increasing raids especially from the Dutch and the Moros, the Spaniards again moved their seat of power some 25 km westward to the village of Irong-Irong, which had a natural and strategic defense against raids and where, at the mouth of the river that snakes through Panay, they built Fort San Pedro to better guard against the raids which were now the only threat to the Spaniards' hold on the islands. Irong-Irong or Ilong-Ilong was shortened to Iloilo and with its natural port quickly became the capital of the province.

In the late 18th century, the development of large-scale weaving industry started the movement of Iloilo's surge in trade and economy in the Visayas. Sometimes referred to as the "Textile Capital of the Philippines", the products were exported to Manila and other foreign places. Sinamay, piña and jusi are examples of the products produced by the looms of Iloilo. Because of the rise of textile industry, there was also a rise of the upper middle class. However, the introduction of cheap textile from UK and the emergence of the sugar economy, the industry waned in the mid-19th century.

The waning textile industry was replaced however by the opening of Iloilo's port to world market in 1855. Because of this, Iloilo's industry and agriculture was put on direct access to foreign markets. But what triggered the economic boom of Iloilo in the 19th century was the development of sugar industry in Iloilo and its neighboring island of Negros. Sugar during the 19th century was of high demand. Nicholas Loney, the British vice-consul in Iloilo developed the industry by giving loans, constructing warehouses in the port and introduced new technologies in sugar farming. The rich families of Iloilo developed large areas of Negros, which later called haciendas because of the sugar's high demand in the world market. Because of the increase in commercial activity, infrastructures, recreational facilities, educational institutions, banks, foreign consulates, commercial firms and much more sprouted in Iloilo. Due to the economic development that was happening in Iloilo, the Queen Regent of Spain raised the status of the town into a city, honored it with the title La muy leal y noble ciudad de Iloilo, and in 1890, the city government was established.

In 1896, the initial reaction of Ilonggos in the outbreak of the Revolution in Manila was hesitant. Yet because of the Spanish colonizers blow by blow defeat by at first with the Katipunan and later by the Americans, Ilonggos later on got involved with the fight for independence. On the other hand, after surrendering Manila to the Americans, the Spanish colonial government moved their seat of power to Iloilo.

In October of 1898, the Ilonggo leaders agreed to revolt against the Spaniards. By December 25, 1898, the Spanish government surrendered to the Ilonggo revoltionaries in Plaza Alfonso XVII (Plaza Libertad today). Although the Ilonggos were victorious, the American forces arrived in Iloilo in late December 1898 and started to mobilize for colonization by February 1899. Resistance was the reaction of Ilonggos upon the invasion which went up until 1901.<ref>[Funtecha, Henry. "Iloilo Through Time". Iloilo Yearbook 2005. Iloilo City. 2005],</ref>

The Custom House of Iloilo City.
The American colonizers came to Iloilo reverted the city's status into a township again, yet because of the continuous commercial activities and still retained as an important port of call in the Visayas-Mindanao area, it gained cityhood status again in July 16, 1937 incorporating the towns of Molo, Jaro, Mandurriao, La Paz and La Villa de Arevalo. During the Commonwealth era, Iloilo was prosperous and was popularly known as The Queen City of the South.

However, prosperity did not continued as the sugar's demand was declining, labor unrests were happening in the port area that scared the investors away and the opening of the sub-port of Pulupandan in Negros Occidental, has moved the sugar importation closer to the sugar farms. By 1942, the Japanese invaded Panay and the economy moved into a standstill.

During World War II, Iloilo was controlled by several Japanese Battalions, Japan's ultimate goal was to entrench itself deeply into the Philippines so that at the close of the war they could occupy it just as the Spanish and the Americans had years before. However, when American forces liberated Iloilo from Japanese military occupation on March 25, 1945 the remnants of these battalions were held in Jaro Plaza as a make-shift detention facility.

By the end of the war, Iloilo's economy, life and infrastructure was damaged. However, the continuing conflict between the labor unions in the port area, declining sugar economy and the deteriorating peace and order situation in the countryside and the exodus of Ilonggos to other cities and islands that offered better opportunities and businessmen moved to other cities such as Bacolod and Cebu led to Iloilo's demise in economic importance in southern Philippines.

By the 1960s towards 1990s, Iloilo's economy progressed although slowly but surely. The construction of the fish port, international seaport and other commercial firms that invested in Iloilo marked the movement of the city making it as the regional center of Western Visayas

Shopping Centers


Name Address
SM City Iloilo Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. Ave., Mandurriao, Iloilo City
Robinsons Place Iloilo De Leon St., City Proper, Iloilo City
Gaisano City Iloilo Luna St., La Paz, Iloilo City
The Atrium Gen. Luna St., City Proper, Iloilo City
Marymart Center Valeria St., City Proper, Iloilo City
SM Delgado Delgado St., City Proper, Iloilo City
Amigo Mall Iznart St., City Proper, Iloilo City
Makro Jalandoni St., Jaro, Iloilo City
Calle Real J.M Basa, Iznart, Aldeguer Sts. City Proper, Iloilo City

Stand-alone Supermarkets and Department Stores

Name Address
Jaro Town Square (including SM Quintin Salas) Jaro, Iloilo City
SM Jaro Jaro, Iloilo City
Iloilo Supermart - Jaro Jaro, Iloilo City
Star Plaza Jaro, Iloilo City
Gaisano Guanco Guanco St. City Proper, Iloilo City
Payless Plaza Quezon St. City Proper, Iloilo City
CitiSquare J.M. Basa St. City Proper, Iloilo City
Unitop cor J.M. Basa - Ledesma Sts. City Proper, Iloilo City
Ledi Supermart De Leon St. City Proper, Iloilo City
Washington Supermart J.M. Basa St. City Proper, Iloilo City
Iloilo Supermart - Molo Molo, Iloilo City
Iloilo Supermart - Mandurriao Mandurriao, Iloilo City


Fort San Pedro 
Built by Spaniards in the early 1600s; attacked by Dutch, British, American and Japanese troops.
Molo Church 
3 kilometers from the city proper; Gothic renaissance church of coral rock; completed in 1800s. The church was visited by Jose Rizal along the way to his exile in Dapitan, Mindanao.
Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral 
3 kilometers from the city proper; seat of Jaro Archbishopric embracing Western Visayas. The church contains the "miraculous" Our Lady of Candles, which the feast day is celebreated every 2nd of February.
Jaro Belfry 
Ruined in 1948 earthquake, but now restored. One of the few belfries in country that stands apart from the church.
Calle Real (Downtown Iloilo City Heritage District) 
Old buildings that were constructed in the Commonwealth era in J.M Basa (Calle Real), Iznart, Aldeguer and Guanco were declared as a heritage site of Iloilo. It showcases the unique architecture of the downtown area.
Museo Iloilo 
Repository of Iloilo's culrtural heritage.
Distrito Jaro 
3 kilometers from the city proper; old colonial houses of sugar barons and Hispano-Filipino houses of the elite still stand, seat of Catholicism in Western Visayas.
La Villa de Arevalo 
6 kilometers southwest of city proper; 2nd capital of the Alcaldia of Panay; flower and firecracker district of Iloilo City.
Muelle Loney 
The River Port of Iloilo named after British Consul Nicholas Loney, who is considered the Father of Sugar Industry in Panay and Negros. Considered one of the safest harbours because Guimaras protects it from winds. It was opened to international market in 1855.



Radio & Television Station


  2. Funtecha, Henry. "Iloilo Through Time". Iloilo Yearbook 2005. Iloilo City. 2005,

External links

Original Source

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