Got enough of the Philippines? If not head down to Iloilo to explore more astonishing tourist attractions in the archipelago of 7,107 islands.
With an area of 4,829.1 square kilometers, this beautiful province is the commercial, industrial, financial, and cultural center of the Western Visayas region. Iloilo, which is also considered the cradle of early Philippine civilization, is subdivided into 42 municipalities, one component city, and one highly urbanized city. The province is bordered by Antique to the west and Capiz and the Jintotolo Channel to the north.
Like Boracay and Palawan, Iloilo's beaches are worth exploring. Its beaches are known for its white sand and gentle waves. Tourists can also select from a wide array of resorts and vacation packages that suit their interest and budget. Here is a sampling of the premier tourist attractions in Iloilo.
Recognized for its fortress-like design, Miag-ao Church is deemed as one of the country's architectural and religious masterpieces. Located in the first-class municipality of Miag-ao, the church was built in 1786 by Augustinian priests, making it one of the oldest in the Philippines. In 1993, Miag-ao Church, which is also known as Church of Santo Tomas de Villanueva, was included in the UNESCO Word Heritage List.
Agho Beach is a perfect weekend destination for travelers looking for a serene atmosphere. Its white sand and crystal-clear water are comparable to some of the world's finest. Agho Beach also caters to the needs of the adventurous. Diving, boating, and snorkeling are some of the water recreations visitors can enjoy here. There are also cottages and picnic sheds for the whole family near the beach. Beautiful and pristine beaches can also be found in the towns of Concepcion, Carles, San Joaquin, and Ajuy.
Dinagyang Festival is the pride of Iloilo. Celebrated annually on the fourth Sunday of January, this colorful event in Iloilo City is a way of honoring the Santo Ni�o. It is also held to commemorate the arrival of Malay settlers in Panay. During the festival, street dancers dressed in vibrant costumes shout the thundering words "Hala Bira" (Hit them).
To know more about the province and its culture, you should visit the Iloilo Museum. Located beside the provincial capitol, the museum houses various artifacts such as fossil collections, Chinese potteries, and war relics. It also showcases new and Spanish-era masterpieces made by local artists and craftsmen.
Aside from fascinating man-made and natural attractions, Iloilo is also famous for its food. Thus an ultimate Iloilo adventure is never complete without tasting dozens of mouth-watering Ilonggo delicacies such as Cabanatuan's tinuom, Pototan's aripahol, Alimodia's sinakol, and Passi City's dried pineapple. But two of most famous among Ilonggo dishes are the La Paz batchoy and inasal (grilled chicken).
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Allan Leandro Merin has been writing for a living since 2008. After leaving a career at a daily electronic newspaper, he joined a web development outsourcing company and linked up with Local Philippines, the most comprehensive online directory of Philippine destinations, events, and attractions.