Driving out from one of the country’s fanciest airport, the Iloilo International Airport, the transformation of Iloilo City is already evident. Nine years since my last visit and I was just stunned on how urbanized the city has become. It felt like Metro Manila with easier traffic. The Spanish and American influence which took hold of the city for a time still lingers along with modern commercial establishments and high rise residential towers. Before, the city was a mere transit point for me to visit Guimaras, UNESCO listed Miag-ao church and nearby waterfalls. But my recent visit with Asus Philippines showed me a different Iloilo. Armed with an Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro, we visited interesting spots in the city while lending our time to help out for Operation Smile.
Iloilo Zenfone Concept Store
Part of our visit in Iloilo is the opening of the first Zenfone Concept store in the Visayas region. The 6th in the country and the company hopes to target around 30 in the coming months. The local distributor found the wide range of prices in relation to the feature phones accessible to the Iloilo market. The Zenfone Concept Store is located at the Cyberzone of SM City Iloilo.
Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro
The millenial-inclined and selfie-centric Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro was the weapon handed to me for our photowalk. I actually wanted to try the Zenfone 4 since it’s more photography built but this made do as it has a 16MP Sony IMX351 sensor on the rear. That’s far better than the Zenfone 4 Max I’m using. The selfie pro also shares the dual-camera technology of the Zenfone 4 line except that it is utilized for the front camera. Not a surprise since it’s a selfie smartphone. There’s a 12MP Sony IMX362 sensor and 5MP wide angle at the front. Operation is refined with the much improved ZenUI 4.0 and more capable 2.0 GHz octa-core CPU. All photos in our Iloilo City photo walk were taken by the Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro.
Iloilo City Photo Walk
Our first stop in the city was the Museo Iloilo at Bonifacio Drive. Just beside the Iloilo Provincial Capitol and the Department of Tourism Regional Office. The modern building designed by Ilonggo architect Sergio Penasales houses an arry of cultural collections from artefacts, pottery, Spanish-era sculptures and a space for contemporary Ilonggo artist.
The National Historical Institute of the Philippines declared Jaro Cathedral, was our next stop. Built in 1874 by the first Bishop of Jaro, Mariano Cuartero, O.P, the church was heavily damaged by a 1948 earthquake. The belfry was left hence it remains across the street, opposite where the new cathedral stands. The cathedral has a unique feature of having an all-male ensemble of saints at the pillars.
Molo Church, Mansion and Plaza
On the other spectrum, the Molo Church has an all female line up of saints at its pillars. This attractive gothic church was built in 1831 using white corals. It has a lively plaza in front. A great place to observe the locals. Also in the area is the restored Yusay-Consing Mansion, popularly known as Molo Mansion. A beautiful heritage house turned into a museum conveniently just across the plaza.
Speaking of heritage houses, we dropped by the Camiña Balay nga Bato. This charming house not only has a wonderful collection of antiquities but served the best Molo Soup I’ve tasted. Together, it has one of the richest tsokolate batirol I had.
La Paz Batchoy Hunting in China Town
On another day, our photowalk took us to Iloilo’s version of China Town. The street was as bustling as in Manila. We walked the stretch of Iznart St where I got amused looking at the micro-businesses still thriving here. The street side shoe makers and tailors. The line of shops selling cure-all mixes and other curious items. But my highlight in China Town is finding one of the tastiest la paz batchoy in Iloilo City. Inside the Iloilo Central Market are Deco’s and Popoy’s canteens where locals flock to satisfy their cravings for this favorite local noodle soup.
Jordan Wharf Sunset
Last stop in our walk was the Guimaras Jordan Wharf. It was refreshing to feel the salty air and breeze from the sea. What’s more interesting is watching the activity here. The fishermen by the breakwaters and the Ilonggos promenading the area. All blanketed under the sunset hues spreading across the sky. What a way to end the Day.
The Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro is available at Lazada for Php 18,399.
Bonifacio Drive in Iloilo City Proper, between the new Iloilo Provincial Capitol Building and the Region VI Office of the Department of Tourism
Admission Fees: Student – P15.00, Adult – P50.00
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday (except Holidays) 8:00 am to 11:00 am, 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Camiña Balay Nga Bato
20 Osmeña Street, Villa de Arevalo
Contact numbers: (033) 336.3858, (033) 396.4700
Where to stay in Ilolo? Days Hotel Iloilo
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.