Iloilo City: The Best Place to Live in the Philippines!

The City of Iloilo, the regional center of Western Visayas, with a population of over 425,000 (not including stray dogs and roosters) has to be the greatest place to live in the Philippines. At the turn of the 20th century, Iloilo City was second to Manila, with stores along Calle Real selling luxury products from all over the world, an agricultural experimental station established at La Paz in 1888, a school of arts and trades which opened in 1891, and a telephone network system operating in 1894 (source: Wikipedia.)

Iloilo City girl

From the beginning of the 19th century up until the advent of World War II, no other province in the south was as important historically and politically and as progressive as Iloilo.

With its sugar industry flourishing and many other divergent economic resources, Iloilo’s economy was catapulted to enormous heights. And with the American government pouring in enormous political and economic functions to the city, Iloilo became the second major seat of power during that time with all administrative functions channeling to the province and Manila only.

The “Queen City of the South” title was then made as its official recognition when Iloilo was legally declared a city for the second time by the virtue of the Commonwealth Act No. 158 in 1937 (source: The Manila Times. net.) (Yeah, yeah, I know Cebu now claims that title but since they are under martial law by some accounts, I’m sticking with Iloilo City which is now called “The City of Love.” I don’t know if that’s due to it’s proliferation of drive-in motels or what.)

Just look at the following chart and see what great weather we enjoy in Iloilo City. Why,  I can walk around outside in my boxer shorts and tank tops and not even feel a chill in the air. With an average high of 88 degrees and low of 75, I don’t ever need to shovel snow again.

 Iloilo Weather Chart

And talk about your beautiful women of the Philippines! Ilongga women, including my own asawa,  are some of the most gorgeous females on the face of this planet. Take a look at  this stunner playing a game of Tong-its. Ilonggas are said to be some of the sweetest and loving ladies in the Philippines. 


iloilo women

(Photo Source:

The Philippines Expat Advisor and Essential Expat Handbook Sale - Iloilo City: The Best Place to Live in the Philippines!

Need a place to pee and you can’t find a CR, Comfort Room, nearby? Iloilo City has the solution: Public Male Urinals, such as the one pictured below. Don’t risk getting arrested like the bonehead in Manila did the other day. The only case I’ve ever heard of someone being arrested for public urination in this archipelago. The sap was found to have numerous bags of shabu (meth) on him.  Our drug dealers in Iloilo don’t have to worry about that. They can use the urinal or pee in a public street in broad daylight without fear of arrest. No one here seems to care.

 Public Male Urinal in Iloilo City, the Philippines

What about shopping in Iloilo City? Regular readers of this website know that SM City is one of our favorite hangouts. My asawa loves to do bargain shopping at the Smart Buy section at the SM Department Store and also looks for cheap clothing at the Surplus Store.

Why shop at a local ukay-ukay where you run the risk of picking up dengue fever (or something else) from some lola that doesn’t cover her mouth? You can do the same at SM City in air-conditioned comfort.

Sure, if you have allergies to certain odors like I do, your eyes will water and you’ll find it hard to breathe and pass out, but isn’t that a small price to pay to go shopping for your asawa?

And talk about food? There are some great dining spots in Iloilo City. Who could forget some of the places I’ve been with some of my expat friends? There was that initial meeting at The Moon Cafe where my asawa got pissed at me afterwards.

And how about the UR Zone right next to SM City? My American expat friend Scott B and I have enjoyed many a bottle of San Miguel Pale Pilsen there. We even got to witness a young Filipina, who obviously had consumed way too much Red Horse, puke her guts out there. That went on for over 30 minutes. That was sure an appetizing sight!

Terrific weather. Filipina babes. Public urinals. Great shopping malls. Super dining venues. Iloilo City has it all. Iloilo City. The best place to live in the Philippines. 

This post is in response to an article I saw  by Tara Yap, in The Daily Guardian, a local newspaper. Here’s the article:

NEWSPAPERS will not be banned during the highlight of the 2013 Dinagyang Festival.

Iloilo City Tourism Officer Ben Jimena clarified that a previous statement attributed to him by a local radio station was taken out of context.

Jimena said he is only discouraging local newspapers to publish negative stories during the highlight of the Dinagyang Festival on January 27.

“What I said is that I am discouraging stories that are detrimental to the promotion of Iloilo City,” Jimena told The Daily Guardian.

Jimena said that the Dinagyang draws visitors and dignitaries and Iloilo City must put its best foot forward.

“Too much negative publicity defeats the purpose of promoting our city,” Jimena said.

Jimena assured that there is no intent to antagonize the local media.

OK, Mr. Jimena. I hope this latest post helps promote Iloilo City. Good luck with the festival.

FC 728 90 - Iloilo City: The Best Place to Live in the Philippines!



Author: The Kano

POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO." Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus" in publication since August 2009. He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions and author of the best-selling guide book "The Philippines Expat Advisor." Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 19 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife." The couple reside in a rural province in Western Visayas, Guimaras. The small island province is said to have the sweetest mangoes in the world. They do not have any children but are the proud owners of eight active canines, including a Belgian Shepherd called "Killer" "Killer" has bitten five people in the last two years along with one goat and a carabao. "Killer" doesn't like strangers. Or goats. Or carabaos.

24 thoughts on “Iloilo City: The Best Place to Live in the Philippines!

  1. Great article Dave..I agree with you, Iloilo is the best..I am in Santa Barbara and yes the locals are very friendly..Every morning I hangout with the trike drivers at our local sari sari stores and as we live on a dead end street, its very quiet and safe..I love Illongos and am taking lessons 2 times a week and practice with the locals..this sunday is our barangay festival and then of course the big one Dinagayang at end of the month..I am not missing minus weather and piles of snow in Montreal..kita ta karon

    1. Thanks,Tom W. Although, my post was somewhat satiric in tone, I really do enjoy living in Iloilo. As you stated, lots of friendly locals. You’re much more ambitious than me, however, in that you’re taking lessons to learn Ilonggo. I’m frankly too lazy and can always find someone who speaks enough English if I need to communicate with someone and my asawa is not with me.

      I’ve never been to the Dinagayang Festival. I know it’s a big deal in Iloilo. Maybe this will be the year we finally make it over there.

  2. i hung out yesterday at the start of the festival with 3 girls and a bayot,the bayot was more entertaining to watch than the festival as he/she was so animated in trying to act like a woman it was histerical.

    I told the girls as i was watching the festival that “standing here watching this festival is as exciting as watching paint dry”The girls then said “oh really!you like to look at the way they paint their skin with makeups?”The festival was the most unorganized cluster of uninspiring displays of useless drumbeating and advertising as it is one big gobble of garbage,does it get better than what was on display on friday?or should i be going to daves to paint his house?

    1. I’ve never been to the festival, Scott B. Hopefully once the event actually starts next week, it will get more exciting. I’m looking forward to the Manggahan Festival in Guimaras coming up in a few months.That’s big enough for me.

      Paint my house? That sounds like work, Scott B.

  3. Dave,

    I really miss it there !!

    And Plan on returning as Soon As I can.

    Life Really Is Better In the Philippines !!

    Fearless Frank from Florida

  4. Dave,
    Iloilo is really a great place to live. I found that out on the few days we was there. It has everything you would ever need there minus all the traffic. Great Hotel in Smallville 21. Dave you heard from Brother tom lately? Take care

    1. I love living in Iloilo, PapaDuck. I agree, it has all a need without the traffic of Manila.
      I visited Brother Tom a few weeks ago at “The Farm” in Guimaras. He’s doing well and is planning a trip to China to pitch a new invention of his.

  5. as the town prepares for the festival i see everything is gettin a new coat of paint slapped on it,such as all the old tires the town uses for flower pots that are placed on the curbs are all gettin yellow and green paint,its like the cliche you can put lipstick on a pig but its still a pig.All the painting but still cant clean the sidewalks and street gutters of all the trash piled up,its as if the town is proud of its trash.

    1. I kind of like the “gritty look” Iloilo City has, Scott B. The trash doesn’t appeal to me but I’m sure they’re getting all “gussied up” for the festival.

  6. I think the Iloilo City department of tourism needs to make you the new spokesmen. Cause of you, whenever I get the chance to visit the Philippines, I’m by passing Manila and going straight to Iloilo City and eating all the mangos I can eat…

    1. Just make sure those mangoes come from nearby Guimaras, Art. Some of the sweetest mangoes in the world. Again, though my post was somewhat satirical in nature, I really do love Iloilo and encourage anyone coming to the Philippines and thinking of living here to visit it.

  7. The first thought I had about you Dave when I started reading this article was that you may have had one to many Red Horses! By the time I got to the end, I understood the satire. Wow, you really don’t like make-up on pigs, do you? ha. What did you mean about martial law in Cebu?…that comment just sailed over my head.

    1. Yeah, I guess the fact that the Tourism Director was engaging in censorship really bothered me, RandyL. But again, and I repeat myself because I’m an old geezer, I really do love living in Iloilo City. There is no doubt that we will build our new home here and are looking to a new area in our current subdivision, Savannah, as the place we will build.

      Martial law? That’s what some online reports are saying about the suspension of Governor Gwen Garcia. Here’s what The Manila Standard reports: “A political analyst who asked not to be named said Aquino was trying to neutralize powerful political families who oppose Liberal Party candidates in next year’s elections.” Who’s replacing her? Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, sister of Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras.

      Governor Garcia was charged with alleged grave abuse of authority. Problem is that the original charge is over 120 days old, and not valid according to law and was filed by a man that is now dead. Governor Garcia has refused to leave and is supported by Vice President Binay. Swat teams had the capitol surrounded at one time as Gov. Garcia was informed by some officials that she would be removed by force if necessary.

  8. @ Scottb…you will learn in time that jokes lang, just aren’t easily understood by many there. And the more sarcasm and satire in the joke, the less it is understood. Sometimes you can simply joke around just to be able laugh back at their reactions. Yesterday I used the old joke on my wife – “Do you know why this coffee tastes like dirt? Because it was ground this morning”. She still doesn’t understand it and I get a good laugh looking at her face (state of confusion) when trying to figure it all out. I call it humor of the self-contained variety! 😉

    1. RandyL, after 13 years of marriage, my asawa has caught on to my sarcastic remarks. I can no longer get away with them so I use them on my twin 19-year-old nieces that live with us. 🙂

    1. Don’t really need one, RandyL. I just pee by the side of our house if need be. Five other people live in our house. Three of them are teen-age girls. We have one CR. Need I say more?

  9. My wife knows all too well my sarcasms, but she has a difficult time with play-on-word jokes! As far as my yard goes, it’s fenced and I can pee anywhere! No urinal needed. haha

    1. Our new house will also be fenced-in, RandyL, but we plan to have at least three CRs as opposed to just one in our current location. But I’ll always have the option to pee outside no matter what. 🙂

  10. Dave,

    Soon, there will be a church near your neighborhood, a MacDonald’s and a community mall at your village’s gate and a football turf inside, not to mention other commercial buildings along the main road to San Miguel. All these, because a certain senator who also owns your village wants to make it a city within Iloilo City. At least, you don’t have to go to SM City anymore to smell those cheap perfumes. 😀


    1. I walk by the church that’s being built every morning, Neil. The workers are making good progress on it. I spoke to a property representative the other day and negotiations are in progress for the new mall. I didn’t know about the McDonald’s, however. I guess I can stop there for fries like President Clinton used to do on his morning jogs. I’m looking forward to the new business ventures. The area is certainly growing. The fact that Senator Villar is the CEO for our development (and many others throughout the Philippines) sure doesn’t hurt matters. Thanks for the info.

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