Iloilo was once called the Queen City of the South in honor of it being a center of commerce and culture. Though not as grand as it once was, the city has found its place in the modern world and boasts the new title of the Bike Capital of the Philippines. Retaining much of its rich culture and history, the city finds itself as a bridge between a tumultuous past and a promising future.
Now one of the more livable cities in the Philippines, a vibrant world of culture and style. From bright festivals to well-preserved heritage sites and even up-and-coming shopping streets, be sure to make the most out of the city the best way possible. Immerse yourself in a city unlike any other in the Philippines and get up close and personal with the local experience with an Airbnb.
In this Airbnb guide to Iloilo:
You can get to the city by sea or by air. There are direct flights to and from Cebu and Manila, with direct bus routes, called roll-on-roll-off, or Roro, which travel by ferry to many places including Batangas, Manila, and Bacolod. If you happen to be on the island of Boracay, then the city is easily accessible by bus or a hired car for an easy overnight trip, though we recommend 2-4 nights to really make the most out of it.
While there, be sure to check out the historic Jaro Church and Molo Church both featuring a baroque style famous across the Philippines. Nearby should be several famous heritage houses and mansions that are worth a quick drop by for a picture. Hop on a boat and try out a day trip to the nearby island of Guimaras which is both shaped like and famous for sweet Philippine mangoes. A little closer to home, the entire west side of the city is lined with beach resorts, so if you find yourself wanting some fun in the sun, be sure to hit these up.
Where should I stay in Iloilo?
The City is not particularly large and is still growing. Nonetheless, there are many hotspots throughout the area from sleepy suburbs to bustling business districts. Downtown City Proper (1) is a good place to start regarding shopping, but the Business Park (2) and Barangay San Rafael (3) are a close second and third. Molo (4) and Jaro (5) are also interesting places to try out being the closest to the local scene. Mandurriao (6) on the outskirts is fascinating as well if you wanna explore cultural sights and attractions
Jaro was once a separate town from the city, but quick growth and urban development have made it an important neighborhood in the city. Home to the famous Jaro Cathedral, the area is also host to many of the famous mansions the city is known for. Now, Jaro is home to a vibrant shopping scene anchored by the Robinsons Place Jaro mall.
Straddling the Iloilo River, Molo is home to the river esplanade, which is a newly built section of the riverbank featuring wide walkways and bike lanes. This makes it easily one of the most bike-friendly and walkable parts of the city. It’s also home to the eponymous Molo Cathedral, one of the most famous in the city. With more to do than the average suburb, but less busy than the heart of downtown, Molo is one of the perfect places to see a little bit of everything but still have some quiet.
Barangay San Rafael is one of the main locations of the city’s emerging business sector. It’s where Atria Park District and the Smallville Business Complex are found. This makes it a center for shopping, especially with the largest mall in the city no farther than a 4 mins drive, maybe even less. Nestled in the geographic heart of the city, it’s easily accessible to the most important areas such as Jaro, Molo, and downtown, all of which can be reached with a less than 10 mins drive.
Iloilo Business Park
What was once the main airport of the city is now an up-and-coming business district. The area is anchored by the Festive Mall and the City Convention Center. Also found here is the Museum of Contemporary Art. Though a bit on the pricier side, it’s the perfect place to find vacation rentals with comfort and a style closer to home.
At its heart is Ledesma Street, one of the busiest thoroughfares of the city. Every street that touches it is lined with shops and vendors and 4 major malls and markets are found within 2 blocks of it. Since it’s such a center for business, expect more hotels than Airbnbs and cars than bikes. Nonetheless, it’s a good place to stay to be close to all the action.
Sitting right on the outskirts, Mandurriao is another town-turned district. However, given its proximal location, the area has seen a much higher share of suburban and private developments compared to the rest of the city. This makes it the perfect place for peace and privacy while still staying within a short distance of the city center.
Best Airbnbs in Iloilo
Iloilo City is where many flock to for its delicious and affordable food, its gorgeous beaches, and its rich culture. Yet there are plenty of ways to spend your money here, so you’ll want to plan ahead. If you’re looking for a place that strikes a balance between comfort and affordability, look no further than these top three Airbnb listings in Iloilo City.
Best Airbnb for Families
Sleek Family Guest Suite by the River
Perfect for a simple getaway, this adorable family-friendly home comes in a sleek pastel design and is a cozy fit for 4-5 people. Opening right into the Esplanade just a few steps from Medical City Iloilo, enjoy close proximity with what’s hip and happening in the city.
Best Airbnb House
Chill and Contemporary in the heart of Jaro
Filled with a chill atmosphere and flush with a contemporary style, enjoy a home all to yourself with more than enough room for a family or some friends. Though leaning on the pricier end, this home finds itself only minutes away from Jaro Plaza and features a patio with outdoor seating and free parking.
Best Airbnb for Budget Stays
A stress-free condo for the mind and pocket
Complete with all the essentials, this clean and simple condo hits all the spots without hitting your budget. With most of the city reachable within a 5 mins drive, enjoy this 1-bedroom home near the River Esplanade that comes with a kitchenette and access to many great amenities, including a kiddie pool.
Best Airbnb Apartment
Studio Apartment with Sleek Luxury Style
Located in Avida Towers just a few steps from Atria Park District, stay close to food and shopping with this gorgeous home in the heart of the central business district of the city. Enjoy a sleek tasteful design and a beautiful view of the city with this studio unit complete with access to a free parking space and the community pool.
Best Airbnb for Luxury Stays
Hotel Luxury Style with All the Essentials
Just a few mins drive from most of the city, this luxury studio apartment comes with a modern resort-like style and dedicated housekeeping all for free. Elevate your city experience with this home with a 50 inch Smart Hdtv with free Netflix, complimentary minibar, and a well-stocked kitchenette and make the most out of your trip.
Best Airbnb for Group of Friends
Fun and Stylish 2-Bedroom Apartment
Full of space and fresh tropical style, have fun in the sun with your friends in this 2-bedroom apartment located at One Spatial Iloilojust by the Esplanade. Complete with a sunrise view, private bath, and 24-hour security, enjoy being within a 5 mins drive of most of the city with this beach-themed home.
Is Airbnb cheaper than hotels in Iloilo?
Airbnbs are about the same price as most hotels in the area for the same quality you are looking for. Most Airbnbs will be condominiums and apartments, so design-wise, you would not be seeing a big change. However, one big reason why Airbnbs make for better stays than hotels is the variety and amenities these listings offer, from free Netflix to a fully stocked kitchenette.
With a city this small, it’s also worth noting that location-wise, most Airbnbs are within a few mins drive of everything, whereas most hotels are either concentrated to one spot or are found on the beachside miles from the center. Despite equal prices, Airbnbs offer better value for money, especially since much of what hotels offer comes with extra fees. If you do prefer to stay in one despite all that, we suggest the Zuri Hotel that provides accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking, an outdoor swimming pool to name a few.
It is a city worth diving deep into and immersing yourself in a new fun world, especially since you’re probably hundreds or thousands of miles from home anyway. The best way to do this is with the many great Airbnbs in the city to truly experience what it feels like to be a local. If anything, this is the biggest plus compared to the equally priced hotels.
FAQ about Iloilo
Discover the rich history of Panay island with a guided tour of the many museums, heritage homes, and churches. Pick some fresh native fruits and vegetables from local farms and farmer’s markets. Feel the sand in your feet at the many resorts around the city.
Famous throughout the Philippines, La Paz Batchoy, a type of noodle soup, traces it’s origins to the La Paz district. The two oldest and arguably best restaurants to try this are Deco’s in Robinsons Place Iloilo, or Netong’s Original, which has several branches throughout the city. Another example is Pancit Molo, a pork dumpling soup, which also traces its origins to a district in the city. Kap Ising’s, which is in Atria Park, is regarded as the best, while Tita Paz, which is a few mins drive from Molo Plaza, is regarded as the original.
Any of the many churches, plazas, and museums are a must if you’re in the city. If you have time, hop over to the neighboring island of Guimaras for some fresh mangoes.
How would you rate this company?
Click on a star to rate them!
Average rating / 5. Vote count: