Photo by Xtian Lozañes

10 Non-Ilonggos Tell Us What They Love About Iloilo

By riza ornos

My personal testimonials about Iloilo are, no surprise, mostly positive. So, I took a different route this time around: I went around and asked people who were not originally from Iloilo about why they love my hometown and why they chose to live here. Here are their reasons:
[Editor: Statements were lightly edited for clarity.]

Non-Ilonggos Love Iloilo - Project Iloilo
“The city has quite a lot to offer to its people. It has an international airport, good roads (most of them), accessibility and availability of products and services is great.

As I’ve learned, there are enough organic farms in the vicinity, which is a pretty awesome thing. I like the infrastructure of the city in general; it’s not ‘flat’, if you know what I mean. Bacolod feels flat, and hot, to me. In Iloilo, we seem to have air.

With regards to diving, the sites are relatively close from the city, which was one of the criteria for us choosing Iloilo to reside at.”

Julia Tagomata Dive Instructor, Russia


Non-Ilonggos Love Iloilo - Project Iloilo
“So, first of all, it’s Iloilo City’s size. It’s the perfect combination between a modern city and a small town, where you pretty much know everybody around. Second, I love the people. Everybody’s kind and not stressed and, as a bonus, almost everybody speaks English, too.”

Yawen Claudio Student, France


Non-Ilonggos Love Iloilo - Project Iloilo
“What I love about Iloilo, other than how sweet and gentle the people talk and the food, is that it still retains its ‘heritage’ vibe despite the presence of modern structures. The character of the downtown Iloilo is still there. Plus, of course the various old churches and beaches located in various towns.”

Marky Go Blogger/Travel Writer, Bulacan


Non-Ilonggos Love Iloilo - Project Iloilo
“The open arms of living their lives (AKA you guys), the warm breeze, the singsong accent of the people, and—despite the wide landmass—its smallness and familiarity that makes you feel at home.

Debbie Bartolo Consultant, Manila


Non-Ilonggos Love Iloilo - Project Iloilo
“I love Iloilo because of its tons of down to earth people who are open and approachable. I love Ilonggos because of the fact that they are genuine and are not scared showing who they are.”

Jan Sotocinal Community Development Officer, Canada


Non-Ilonggos Love Iloilo - Project Iloilo
“It’s a cross between the city and country. You get the best of both worlds. And of course, the people.”

Pam Reyes Entrepreneur, Bulacan


Non-Ilonggos Love Iloilo - Project Iloilo
“I love that, despite the current industrialization, it hasn’t lost its charm. It’s still a unique place filled with people who express their pride in this city.”

Christa Sandall Marine Biologist, Canada


Non-Ilonggos Love Iloilo - Project Iloilo
“I love the people, of course. All people in the Philippines are warm, but here, they treat you as family. And the food (seafood is my fave).”

Ruby Barrios Operations Manager, Guatemala


Non-Ilonggos Love Iloilo - Project Iloilo
“Food. Definitely the food. And it is clean. Even cleaner than Davao. You have both the urban feel and the rural laidback lifestyle. The mountains and seas are nearby. That’s why Manuel and I decided to move there and make a life together for six months while we shoot our next film.

Jean Claire Dy Filmmaker, Davao


Non-Ilonggos Love Iloilo - Project Iloilo
“I love everything. People are so sweet. Place is indeed livable. There’s less traffic, good air quality, pretty affordable prices of commodities, and it’s accessible to all routes within Panay and other nearby islands. The place is vibrant, yet it maintains its laidback vibe.”

Fernando Lopez Nurse, Leyte

Ikaw, what is it about Iloilo that YOU love?

Riza Ornos is the Queen Mermaid of EarthingPH and Visionary Nomad of Home of the Lost Soles. She is a true-blooded Ilongga who delights in writing her thoughts on while getting lost on the road.