The province of Iloilo is known for its rich heritage and churches, vibrant festivals, friendly people and excellent cuisine. Iloilo City, the capital is a major urban center in the Philippines, and the gateway to the Panay island in Western Visayas.
For those who have been wanting to visit this charming province, good news! Low Cost Carrier AirAsia is now flying to Iloilo International Airport. AirAsia launched its inaugural flight from Manila to Iloilo last October 1 with Dinagyang-themed festivities held at both Manila and Iloilo airports to welcome guests and passengers. Dinagyang festival is Iloilo’s most celebrated religious and cultural festival held every January.
In a tour organized by AirAsia Philippines selected media and travel bloggers experienced what makes Iloilo special. Our group visited several beautiful and historic churches including the famous Church of Sto.Tomas de Villanueva or Miag-ao Church, considered one of the four baroque churches in the Philippines inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Iloilo serves as the gateway to nearby provinces including the unspoiled beaches of Antique, Capiz, Aklan and Guimaras, which is just a 15 minute ride by boat. We spent a day island-hopping, had lunch on a floating cottage, chowed down on the famous mango pizza and stopped by the San Lorenzo Wind Farm, the newest tourist attraction in Guimaras featuring 27 wind turbine generators.
Our group of travel bloggers was hosted in Urban Sands Hotel, a boutique resort right in the city that exudes the vibe of a seaside resort with its native style huts and bamboo covered walls surrounding a swimming pool.
We had our fill of delicious Ilonggo dishes the whole trip. Aside from enjoying the classic La Paz Batchoy and Pancit Molo, we feasted on baked oysters and lechon manok from Tatoy’s Manokan & Seafoods. We also had a sumptuous feast at Farm-to-Table, a new lifestyle restaurant that serves local, seasonal and fresh farm products daily as well as organic coffee, craft beers (Juan Brew, Joe’s Brew, Great Islands Craft Brewing, etc.) and the largest selection of local and international wines you can find in Iloilo.
For beer-lovers, you can’t leave without stopping by Brewery Gastropub, where you can enjoy gourmet food paired with fresh handcrafted beer.
Brewery carries local brews like Guimaras Gose (a tart beer brewed with Guimaras mangoes) by The Cebruery; Guava Ale by Fat Pauly’s from Mindanao as well as in-house brews like the sweet Iloilo Pale Ale (inspired by Ilonggo friendliness and hospitality). I haven’t had a chance to witness the famous Dinagyang Festival, but I’m happy enough with several rounds of Brewery’s fruity and easy-to-drink Dinagyang Pale Ale.
Before heading back, we also got a taste of “Heaven on Earth” at the Garin Farm Pilgrimage Site, with its blinding white depiction of Paradise.
Get cheap flights to Iloilo via AirAsia! Promo fares for Manila – Iloilo for as low as P990, all-in are now available for booking at airasia.com from 2 October until 15 October 2017 and valid for travel starting 9 October 2017 to 31 March 2018. AirAsia will be flying three times daily from Manila – Iloilo.