The province of Iloilo celebrates many colorful festivals every year. The locals hold these festivals yearly as a gesture of thanks for the blessings they have received through the year like bountiful harvests. They also celebrate to honor their patron saints, then to share happiness with friends and family from the province and beyond.
Iloilo has numerous fiestas and events, from the barangay religious feasts all the way to a citywide Mardi Gras. The city itself has four main festivals which are secular, cultural, and religious in nature.
The festival showcases different kinds of entertainment and merrymaking such as street dancing, float parades and contests.
Here are some of Ilolo's amazing festivals:
4th weekend of January, Iloilo City
The Dinagyang is a religious and cultural festival in Iloilo City, Philippines held on the fourth Sunday of January, or right after the Sinulog In Cebu and the Ati-Atihan in Aklan. It is held both to honor the Santo Niño and to celebrate the arrival on Panay of Malay settlers and the subsequent selling of the island to them by the Atis.
A colorful cavalcade in honor of the Holy Child Jesus amidst the cracking drum beats, Iloilo's version of the world famous Ati-atihan Festival.
- Paraw Regatta
The Paraw Regatta is a race among seafarers on colorful sailboats called Paraws (claimed as the oldest traditional seacraft in Asia) in the Iloilo Strait between Guimaras Island and the city of Iloilo. The present-day Paraw managed to maintain its original design from the sailboats of the first settlers from Borneo who were in search of a peaceful home in 1212 A.D. Surviving the centuries, the paraws have become a vital part of the Filipino seafaring life. The first race started in 1973 with the mission to preserve the historic value of the paraws. It is held every 3rd weekend of February at Villa Arevalo District in Iloilo City. Today, the event has grown from being a boat race to a festival with various interesting and exotic activities.
- Fireworks Display and Contest
Celebrated on the 3rd Sunday of January, Arevalo, Iloilo City
Held in Arevalo, Iloilo City, and features giant multi-colored fireworks.
- Feast Of Our Lady Of Candles
February 2, Jaro, IloiloCity
Biggest and most opulent religious pageantry in Western Visayas with agro-industrial exhibits, garden shows, carnivals, and grand cock derbies, among others, that make Jaro fiesta the symbol of Iloilo's affluence and love for great celebrations.
The religious celebration, which is well-known in the Philippines, is also an occasion of more secular events like the pageantry of the daughters of the richest families in the District during the coronation of the Jaro Fiesta Queen, and cockfighting.
April 24-May 31, Sta. Cruz, Arevalo,Iloilo City
Features May flower festival, grand processions and a contest of massive arches.
- Pasungay Festival
2nd Saturday of January
The Municipality of San Joaquin continues to attract local and foreign tourists with their annual Pasungay or “bullfighting“ festival.
The spectacle involving conflict between two bulls fought in an outdoor arena is part of the town’s festival tradition and has become a popular spectator sport in this part of the region. Take part in the drama and comedy, triumph and tragedy and be mesmerized by the tenacious strength of their bulls.
- Carabao-Carroza Race
Every May, Pavia, Iloilo
A race among carabaos each pulling a bamboo sled called carroza, on a 40-meter course. Originated in 1973 the town of Pavia celebrates the provinces' oldest festival with a carabao parade and race participated in by the town's 18 barangays.
Last Sunday of January, Calinog, Iloilo
Festival similar to Ati-atihan of Kalibo and Iloilo City's Dinagyang.
Good Friday, Calinog, Iloilo
Lenten presentation depicting the judgment, crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- Chinese New Year
Chinese lion dancers pass by Arroyo Fountain at Chinese New Year Celebrations in Iloilo City
Celebrated by Ilonggos of Chinese descent, the festivity is highlighted by a cultural presentation of the Chinese schools in the city, Chinese food festival and grand fireworks display.
- Binanog Festival
With its nine years of celebration this year, the people of Lambunao established the binanog Festival. The celebration was then, as it still is now, an avenue of cultural familiarity where they could preserve, present, teach and share the indigenous cultural traditions of the Bukidnons of the town. It has grown over the years to become an annual tradition for the people of the municipality.
- Bayluhay Festival
Iloilo is a province of festivals. Though all the festivals have their importance; some stand out as a unique gift of Ilonggo culture.
- Tinu-om Festival
Celebrated every September, the municipality of Cabatuan pride themselves with its newly-instituted festival inspired from their native soup that has gained popularity all over Iloilo.
Here is the list of some of the hotels that can be found near in the province should you spend more time to visit the attractions of Iloilo:
- Hotel Del Rio
Location: M.H. Del Pilar St., City Proper, Iloilo / Guimaras, Philippines 5000
- Harbor Town Hotel
Location: Corner JM Basa - Aldeguer Streets, City Proper, Iloilo / Guimaras, Philippines
- Iloilo Midtown Hotel
Location: Corner Yulo - Iznart Streets, City Proper, Iloilo / Guimaras, Philippines 5000
- Days Hotel Iloilo
Location: The Atrium at the Capitol, Cor Gen. Luna- Bonifacio Dr, City Proper, Iloilo / Guimaras, Philippines 5000
- Circle Inn - Iloilo City Center
Location: Iznart Street, Maria Clara, City Proper, Iloilo / Guimaras, Philippines
- Iloilo Business Hotel
Location: Benigno Aquino Avenue, Mandurriao, Iloilo / Guimaras, Philippines 5000
Iloilo Province is located in the Western Visayas region, and can be reached by plane, bus, ferry or roro (roll-on-roll-off) from Manila.
There are direct flights to Iloilo Intenational Airport and take around 50 minutes from Manila. Once there, one can ride a shuttle van or taxi going to Iloilo City.
List of airlines that have daily trips to Manila to Iloilo:
- Cebu Pacific
- Air Philippines
- Philippine Airlines
- Zest Air
From Manila Ports, the travel time going to Iloilo Domestic Port, located along General Hughes St., is about 20 hours.
There are buses from Manila that have trips to Iloilo City. The bus uses the roro (roll-on-roll-off) services going to Iloilo. The bus terminals in Cubao and Pasay have buses with trips going to Iloilo.
When touring the province, taxis and jeepneys are available as a mode of transportation around the province.