Sunday, April 5, 2015

Iloilo Province, Philippines

Tourist Attractions
Cabugao Gamay
Cabugao Gamay is a small island located two kilometers off the coast of Isla de Gigantes Sur in Carles, Iloilo. Seen from afar, its peculiar shape and inherent beauty is sure to attract curiosity of most travelers. A large chunk of the island consists of a rock hill covered by thick vegetation. Its defining feature is a gorgeous white sandbar located at the northern tip of the island. Like Antonia Beach, an interesting rock formation also sits at the end of the sandbar at Cabugao Gamay. The island is surrounded at all sides by emerald green waters, perfect for swimming.
Sicogon Island
Sicogon Island. Located at Carles, Iloilo, it is a 1,104 hectare white sand palm - fringed island gradually slopping down to some 350 feet beyond the shoreline. It is 5 km from the town proper of Estancia, 137 km northeast of Iloilo City.

Miagao Church
Miagao Church.  Situated 40 kilometers southwest of Iloilo City, It was builty in 1786 and was declared as a national  landmark in 1973. With its beautiful baroque relief facade of St Thomas carrying baby Jesus on his shoulders it is considered as UNESCO's world heritage.

Dinagyang Festival
Dinagyang Festival. Celebrated every fourth week of January, Dinagyang is the festival of all festivals of Iloilo. The celebration is colorful with dazzling and outlandish costumes of the participating tribes, reflecting the ingenuity, artistry and craftsmanship of the Ilonggos. The celebration revolves around the homage paid to the miraculous image of the Sto. Nino (Child Jesus). Four days frenzied streets dancing by devotees transform the city into a vast arena of yearly gaiety. An Ilonggo term for revelry and merry-making, Dinagyang is spectacular in choreography, pleasantry and color.

Iloilo is located in the Western Visayas region and is one of the provinces of the Philippines. It occupies the southeast portion of Panay Island. Iloilo is bordered by the province of Antique to the west and Capiz Province and Jintotolo Channel to the north.

Iloilo is divided into two distinct geographic regions; the highlands of the Madia-as on the western border and the lowland plains which account for a larger portion of the province. The province is subdivided into 42 municipalities, one component city and one highly urbanized city. Iloilo City is the provincial capital of Iloilo. 

People of Iloilo are called Ilonggos. There are two native languages spoken in the province: Hiligaynon sometimes called Ilonggo and Kinaray-a. Hiligaynon is concentrated in the city of Iloilo and a few towns of the province. Ilonggo is an ethno linguistic group referring to the people living in Panay and the culture associated with the people speaking Hiligaynon. The town’s fiesta is one of the most important events for Ilonggos. Almost every municipality in Iloilo has a fiesta celebrated annually. 

No pre-Hispanic accounts of Iloilo exist today. Only a small degree of oral history, in the form of recited epics, has survived. The earliest written historical accounts concerning Iloilo relates to Spain’s conquest of Panay lead by Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. Spanish architecture can be seen in old buildings in downtown Iloilo. Chinese merchants and Indonesians were trading with Ilonggos long before the Spaniards came. 

As a leading province during the Spanish Colonial Era, the province of Iloilo is widely known for its beautiful old world architecture similar to that of Latin American countries. Among the well-known tourist sites in the province are the Spanish colonial churches. 

The Miag-ao Church is a World Heritage Site. This Aztec-Baroque inspired church was used as a fortress during the olden days. It is a massive structure built by yellowish limestones. The Gothic Renaissance Church of Molo is known as the feminist church because of the female saints lining inside the church. It was used as a watch tower to warn the people if there are any attackers on the shore of Iloilo City. Other historical churches in the province are the Cabatuan Church and San Jose Church. 

The National Historical Institute (NHI) recognized the Old Capitol building of Iloilo as a historical landmark. The building was built with wood stone during the Spanish colonization. It served as the capitol when the civil government of Iloilo was founded in 1901.During January, the city heats up for the Dinagyang Festival, a collection of tribe warriors dancing in honor of the Child Jesus.

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