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5 Popular Destinations within Driving Distance from Iloilo

by Trixie Reyna

Iloilo is the perfect starting point for more adventures.

As the gateway to the Western Visayas Region, you can easily drive or ride the bus from Iloilo to Caticlan, Roxas City, and the coastal province of Antique; or take a short boat ride to Guimaras or ferry to Bacolod.

So after you’ve seen the many exciting sights within Iloilo (check them all out in our comprehensive Travel Guide!), get even more mileage from your trip by extending it a few more days to explore the stunning beaches, natural wonders, and rich history in these neighboring must-visit places in the islands of Panay and Negros.

1. GUIMARAS

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Almost everyone who goes to Iloilo plans a day tour or overnight trip to Guimaras, dubbed the "Mango Capital of the Philippines” because of its world-famous sweet, succulent fruit. This small province is known for its charming beaches and islets, all of which are uncrowded and peaceful, unlike other popular beach destinations. One of the best spots is Alubihod Beach in Nueva Valencia, which is lined with resorts and serves as the common jump-off point for island-hopping adventures.

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Take the time to explore its surreal landscapes, like the Guisi Lighthouse that offers spectacular beach vistas. Trek up Balaan Bukid, a hill marked by a large cross on top, from where you can get a breathtaking view of Iloilo and nearby islands. The newly developed San Lorenzo Windmills are also a sight to behold.

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How to Get There from Iloilo

Guimaras is approximately 15 minutes away from Iloilo City by pump boat from Ortiz Wharf or Parola Wharf, which will take you to Jordan Wharf in Guimaras. There are multiple trips daily, at least once every 15 minutes starting 5:30 AM.

If you’re bringing your own vehicle, take the F.F. Cruz RORO from the port in Iloilo’s Lapuz District. There are two-hour intervals between each 30-minute trip.

F.F. Cruz Company, Inc.
Brgy. Loboc, La Paz, Iloilo CIty
Brgy. Hosyn, Jordan, Guimaras
(033) 336 4195
(033) 336 9329
(033) 300 6506

Where to Stay

If you're on a tight budget and planning to stay overnight, there are several B&Bs at the town proper and reasonably-priced beach resorts in Nueva Valencia. But if you want to splurge, the first and only luxury resort in Guimaras is Andana, located close to Alubihod Beach. The newly opened resort boasts 70 world-class accommodations and all the top-notch amenities you could want in your island getaway.

Andana Resort Guimaras
465 Sitio Talisay, Poblacion, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras
(033) 582 1903 to 04
(0917) 726 3262
sales@andanaresort.com

2. BACOLOD, NEGROS OCCIDENTAL

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Bacolod is a popular destination among Ilonggos, so tourists will definitely find it easy to take a side trip to The City of Smiles from Iloilo.

This laid-back foodie haven is celebrated for its chicken inasal and sweet shops—Negros is the “Sugarbowl of the Philippines” after all—and the annual MassKara Festival in October. While there, visit its wealth of museums, ancestral homes, and old churches that display its pre-colonial history and rich Spanish roots, as well as lovely resorts and attractions around Negros Occidental.

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One of them is The Ruins in Talisay, a beloved tourist spot nicknamed “The Taj Mahal of the Philippines.” Also in Talisay is the much hyped Campuestohan Highland Resort, with theme park-like attractions set in the mountains.

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For beautiful beaches, check out Lakawon Island, buzzed about for its comfortable accommodations, stretch of light sand, azure waters, and the trendy TawHai Floating Bar; and Sugar Beach in Sipalay, which is quickly attracting tourists to its idyllic resorts, wide shoreline with fine sand, scuba diving, and other water activities.

How to Get There from Iloilo

Bacolod is approximately 1-2 hours away from Iloilo by ferry or RORO. You may take a fastcraft from Iloilo River Wharf in Lapuz District of Iloilo City to the Bacolod Port (BREDCO Pier). There are daily trips from 6 AM to 5 PM. Check ferry schedules of SuperCat by 2GO Travel and Weesam Express.

If you plan to bring a private vehicle, you can take the Montenegro or Tri-Star MegaLink RORO stationed at Dumangas Port, about a 30-minute to an hour-long drive from Iloilo City. There’s at least one trip every two hours, 24 hours daily.

SuperCat by 2GO Travel
Fort San Pedro Drive, Arrastre Pier, PPA Terminal Building, Iloilo City
(02) 528 7000
(033) 336 2110
(033) 336 2778
(0917) 275 7873
(0917) 889 2151
info@2go.com.ph

Weesam Express
Muelle Loney St, Iloilo City Proper, Iloilo City
(033) 337 3282
(0917) 308 0711

Montenegro Shipping Lines
BREDCO Pier, Reclamation Area, Bacolod City
(034) 704 2322
mlsi
_bacolod@montenegrolines.com.ph

Tri-Star MegaLink Corp.
A 26-28, Capitol Shopping Center, Tindalo Avenue, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental
(034) 422 6059

Where to Stay

As a highly urbanized city, Bacolod offers a wide selection of stays for every type of traveler. Still, you can’t go wrong with L’Fisher Hotel and its two branches, L’Fisher Chalet and L’Fisher Ecotel, with comfortable rooms, in-house restaurants, a fitness center, and a roofdeck pool. Both are strategically located along Bacolod City’s main thoroughfare.

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Within a short drive from Bacolod, you’ll also find Punta Bulata Beach Resort and Spa, which is fast becoming a tourist favorite for its fine white sand, infinity pool, and rooms with all the creature comforts. Another beach paradise found in nearby Sipalay is Bugana Beach & Dive Resort, which also has its own white-sand beach and relaxing accommodations.

L’Fisher Hotel
Lacson Street corner 14th Street, Bacolod
(034) 433 3731

Punta Bulata
Barangay Elijan, Cauayan, Negros Occidental
(034) 433 5160
(0917) 848 3558
info@puntabulata.com

Bugana Beach and Dive Resort
Barangay Maricalum, Campomanes Bay, Sipalay City, Negros Occidental
(034) 713 0062
(034) 702 8632
(0917) 797 7671
(0917) 519 8265
buganaresorts@gmail.com

3. BORACAY, AKLAN

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Though currently under rehabilitation and closed to tourists until October, Boracay will always be one of the best beaches not just in the Philippines but in the entire world. White Beach’s stretch of powder-fine white sand, turquoise waters, magnificent sunset views, plush resorts, several land and water activities, great restaurants, and happening nightlife draw tourists from around the globe all year. Whether you're planning a quick getaway or a week-long stay, you’ll never run out of things to do.

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It’s no surprise that flights to Boracay (Caticlan) can get expensive, especially during peak months or when there’s no seat sale. Budget travelers to Boracay usually fly to Kalibo to take a 2-3-hour bus or van ride to Caticlan; or fly to Iloilo City for a day or overnight trip to make the most of their journey before taking the 4-5-hour ride to Caticlan Jetty Port, where they can take the 10-minute ferry to Boracay.

How to Get There from Iloilo

Boracay is accessible from Iloilo by Ceres Bus or PUVs (public utility vans) from Tagbak Terminal. You may also choose to bring your own ride; just ask your Boracay hotel where you may park close to Caticlan Jetty Port.

Ceres Liner
Tagbak Terminal, McArthur Highway, Jaro, Iloilo City
(033) 329 1223
(033) 321 2371

Where to Stay

Accommodations abound in Boracay, which offers everything from homestays to hostels, B&Bs, and lodges. For more well-appointed stays, check into Savoy Hotel Boracay or treat yourself to a spa-cation in Mandala Spa & Villas.

Located in the 150-hectare village-resort Boracay Newcoast, Savoy Hotel features an in-house restaurant, two pools, a fitness center, and over 500 rooms with all the fine modern comforts you deserve—with the beach a short walk away.

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But if a serene, blissful retreat is what you’re after, stay in one of the luxurious suites in Mandala Spa & Villas, which is also just a few minutes’ walk from the pristine white-sand beach. Be surrounded with lush greenery as you indulge in soothing massages and other acclaimed spa services.

Savoy Hotel Boracay
Barangay Yapak, Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan
(02) 318 8834 to 37
reservations.manila1@savoyhotelboracay.com.ph

Mandala Spa & Villas
Station 3, Manoc Manoc
Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan
(036) 288 5858
(036) 288 5857
(0917) 808 5793
reservations@mandalaspa.com

4. ROXAS CITY, CAPIZ

When you’re craving only the freshest seafood, there’s no better place to visit than the “Seafood Capital of the Philippines.” The capital of Capiz is named after President Manuel A. Roxas, who considered the city his hometown. You can check out his ancestral house as well.

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One of Roxas's more renowned spots is Baybay Beach, with its strip of restaurants where you can enjoy freshly caught crabs, shrimps, squid, and different types of fish and shellfish by the shore. Red snapper or mangagat and angel wings or diwal are the most sought after.

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In between feasting on the best quality and most affordable seafood, you may want to explore surrounding landmarks, including centuries-old churches like Roxas City’s Immaculate Conception Metropolitan Cathedral and Santa Monica Church in the nearby town of Pan-ay, famous for the Largest Catholic Church Bell in Asia.

How to Get There from Iloilo

Roxas City is around 2-3 hours away from Iloilo City by Ceres Bus or PUV from Tagbak Terminal or by private vehicle.

Ceres Liner
Tagbak Terminal, McArthur Highway, Jaro, Iloilo City
(033) 329 1223
(033) 321 2371

Where to Stay

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You won’t find big hotels or resorts in Roxas City yet, but one of tourists’ more preferred stays is San Antonio Beach Resort, which has clean, affordable rooms and even a swimming pool. You can also ask their concierge to help arrange your land and island-hopping tours.

San Antonio Beach Resort
Baybay Beach, Roxas City, Capiz
(036) 621 6638
(0908) 883 8736

5. ANTIQUE

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Antique, one of the most underrated destinations in Panay Island, has a wealth of options to offer. Malalison (or Mararison) Island, located in Culasi, Antique, is slowly but surely gaining popularity as “The Batanes of Visayas” because of its crystal clear waters, white-sand shores, and surrounding rolling hills that offer stunning panoramic views. The mountainous province also has its own rice terraces, a number of majestic waterfalls, and mystic caves.

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You’ve also probably seen intriguing photos of tourists bathing in a giant cast-iron cauldron filled with herbs and flowers. Called the Kawa Hot Bath, this unique spa experience can be enjoyed in Antique’s Tibiao River, where you can also go whitewater kayaking.

How to Get There from Iloilo

You can get to Antique from Iloilo in 2-3 hours by Ceres Bus, PUV, or private vehicle. Tagbak Terminal in Jaro and Molo Terminal in Molo District have routes to and from Antique, including Tibiao, Anini-y, and the provincial capital, San Jose. The trip to Culasi might take longer, around 4-5 hours.

Ceres Liner
Tagbak Terminal, McArthur Highway, Jaro, Iloilo City
Molo Terminal, San Pedro St., Molo, Iloilo City
(033) 329 1223
(033) 321 2371

Where to Stay

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There are very few hotels, if at all, in Antique, but several cheap homestays and beach resorts are available. Pick one close to the attraction you wish to see so you need not travel far.

The favorite spot for Kawa Hot Bath is Kayak Inn, which offers basic rooms and huts.

Kayak Inn
Tibiao River, Tuno, Antique
(0921) 570 1947

Looking to explore Iloilo before jumping off to these nearby paradise destinations? Find travel inspo in our comprehensiveTravel Guide here.

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About Trixie
Trixie Reyna-Benedicto is a born and bred Manila girl, lifestyle blogger, and content expert who moved to Iloilo when she married her Ilonggo sweetheart. When she’s not writing for magazines and websites or updating trixiereyna.com, she enjoys exploring new locales and trying restaurants and bars around the Philippines and abroad.

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