Iloilo Esplanade: Your Guide to Iloilo’s Scenic Riverfront

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The Iloilo Esplanade is a breathtaking marvel in the heart of Iloilo City. Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2023, this linear park has transformed into an over 9-kilometer stretch of greenery and serenity, making it the longest in the Philippines. 

Iloilo Esplanade Walkway
Iloilo Esplanade Walkway

The Esplanade, more than just a scenic walkway, is a vibrant hub where locals and tourists converge to soak in the beauty of the Iloilo River and indulge in various recreational activities.

What is the Iloilo Esplanade?

The Birth of a Green Oasis

The Iloilo Esplanade originated as a flood control project funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. It evolved into a people’s initiative, with the community advocating for a park along the riverside dike. 

Senator Franklin M. Drilon played a pivotal role in its transformation, funding it through his Priority Development Assistance Fund. 

Iloilo Esplanade Walkway

The design expertise of Paolo Alcazaren, known for his work on Singapore’s Clark Quay and Esplanade, was instrumental in shaping this riverside park into what it is today.

A Testament to Environmental Revival

This project was a response to the long-standing pollution of the Iloilo River. Focused on ecological sustainability, it has successfully rehabilitated the river’s ecosystem, turning a once-polluted area into a lush, tree-lined promenade. 

The design harmoniously blends modern infrastructure with nature, providing a peaceful environment for walking, jogging, cycling, and more. 

People Biking on Iloilo Esplanade
People Biking on Iloilo Esplanade

The Esplanade has become a popular spot for community engagement, hosting various cultural events and fostering a sense of civic pride.

Award-Winning Inspiration

The success of the Iloilo River Esplanade has garnered multiple accolades, including the 2017 GantimPALA Excellence Award

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and the 2018 Haligi ng Dangal Award. Its impact extends beyond Iloilo, inspiring similar projects nationwide.

Planning Your Visit to Iloilo Esplanade

The Iloilo Esplanade is more than just a park; it’s a vibrant symbol of Iloilo City’s commitment to environmental conservation and urban revitalization. This picturesque promenade, running along the Iloilo River, is a must-visit for anyone in the city, whether you’re a local or a tourist.

Location and Accessibility:

The Iloilo Esplanade is strategically located along the Iloilo River, offering easy access from various points in the city. You can enter the Esplanade from two key locations:

  1. Eastern End: Near Diversion Road (Benigno Aquino Avenue) in the Mandurriao district. Accessible via various jeepney routes including Leganes, SM Mandurriao, Ungka UI, City Proper, and Santa Barbara.
  2. Western End: Near Carpenter’s Bridge, on the boundary of Molo and Mandurriao. Reachable by Molo Mandurriao or Oton jeepney routes and just a 5-minute walk from Molo Church and Molo Plaza.

A convenient footpath through the Riverside Boardwalk provides quick access for those near Smallville or Atria Park District.

Timings and Fees:

The Iloilo Esplanade is open to the public from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. One of the best things about this spot is that there’s no entrance fee — it’s completely free!

Amenities:

While exploring the Esplanade, you can enjoy various complimentary amenities. Restrooms are available for your convenience, and for those looking to add a bit of activity to their visit, bike rentals are a great option.

Nearby Attractions:

Don’t miss exploring the nearby attractions when you visit the Iloilo Esplanade:

  • SM City Iloilo: A large shopping mall, about a 25-minute walk from the Esplanade.
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  • Festive Walk Mall: Located within a 30-minute walk, it is perfect for experiencing the local lifestyle.
  • Jaro Cathedral: A 21-minute walk takes you to this historical Romanesque revival architecture church.
  • Lopez Heritage House: Explore this national heritage house built in 1928, located about 41 minutes on foot.
SM Iloilo Nearby Iloilo Esplanade
SM Iloilo Nearby Iloilo Esplanade

Visiting the Iloilo Esplanade is not just about enjoying the outdoors; it’s about experiencing a piece of Iloilo’s heart and soul. Whether taking a stroll, snapping photos, or simply soaking in the riverside ambiance, this destination promises a memorable visit.

Travel Tips and Recommendations for the Iloilo Esplanade

Best Time to Visit

The Iloilo Esplanade, a serene riverside promenade, is most enchanting during the early mornings and late afternoons. 

This is when the soft twilight creates a romantic atmosphere, perfect for a scenic stroll or a refreshing jog along the well-paved paths. Weekends bring a vibrant atmosphere, ideal for experiencing the local culture and energy.

What to Wear and Bring

For a comfortable visit to the Iloilo Esplanade:

  • Footwear: Opt for walking shoes or sneakers for comfort as you explore on foot.
  • Sun Protection: Bring sunscreen and a hat to shield yourself from the sun.
  • Hydration: Carry a water bottle to stay hydrated.
  • Memories: Remember your camera to capture the picturesque views, especially during the stunning sunset hours.

Nearby Attractions

Combine your visit with o ther must-see attractions in Iloilo:

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  • Jaro Cathedral: A historical and architectural marvel.
  • Molo Mansion: A glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the area.
  • Guimaras Island: Just a short boat ride away, this island offers pristine beaches and the sweetest mangoes.

Booking and Transactions

Boat Rides on the Iloilo River

Enjoy the beauty of the Iloilo River with a tranquil boat ride. Riverboat cruises are a unique way to experience the river’s charm, offering guided tours that provide insights into the cultural and historical significance of the area.

Bike Rentals

Cycling enthusiasts can take advantage of bike rentals available at the Esplanade. It’s a great way to explore the area at your own pace while enjoying the riverside scenery.

Accommodation

For a convenient stay near the Iloilo Esplanade, consider these options:

  • Diversion 21 Hotel: Known for impeccable service, it offers comfortable rooms with modern amenities.
  • Injap Tower Hotel: Features minimalist design, air-conditioned rooms, and facilities like a swimming pool and fitness center.

The Unique Experience of the Iloilo Esplanade

The Iloilo Esplanade offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural significance, and recreational activities, making it a must-visit destination in the Philippines.

Its tranquil atmosphere provides an escape from the bustling city life, offering a perfect setting for relaxation, exercise, or simply enjoying the scenic views.

Have you visited the Iloilo Esplanade? Share your experiences and adventures in this serene riverside haven!

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