The City of Iloilo (Hiligaynon: Syudad sang Iloilo or Dakbanwa sg Iloilo, Tagalog: Lungsod ng Iloilo, Spanish: Ciudad de Iloilo) is a highly urbanized city of Panay Island in the Philippines, and the capital city of the province of Iloilo. It is the regional center of the Western Visayas as well as the center of the Iloilo-Guimaras Metropolitan Area. In the 2010 census, Iloilo City had a population of 424,619 with a 1.8% population annual growth rate.
It is bordered by the towns of Oton in the west, Pavia in the north, Leganes in the northeast and the Iloilo Strait in its eastern and southern coastline. The city was a conglomeration of former towns, which are now the geographical districts, consisting of: Jaro (an independent city-before), Molo, La Paz, Mandurriao, Villa Arevalo, and Iloilo City Proper. The district of Lapuz, a former part of La Paz, was declared a separate district in 2008.
Iloilo City has numerous fiestas and events, from the barangay religious feasts all the way to a city-wide mardi-gras. The city itself has four main festivals which are secular, cultural, and religious in nature. These are held during the "festival season" in the months of January and February.
- Dinagyang Festival (every 4th weekend of January)
- The Dinagyang is a religious and cultural festival in Iloilo City, Philippines held on the fourth weekend of January, is the city's largest festival and is held 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. The highlight of this week-long revelry is the street dance competition.
- Jaro Fiesta/Candelaria Fiesta (every February 2)
Jaro Belfry during Jaro Fiesta.
- Jaro's celebration of the Feast of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria (Our Lady of the Candles), the Patroness of Western Visayas, every February 2. 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 rich families in the District during the coronation of the Jaro Fiesta Queen, and cockfighting.
- Paraw Regatta (3rd week of February)
- 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 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.
- Chinese New Year (variable)
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 cultural presentation of the Chinese schools in the city, Chinese food festival and grand fireworks display.