“Through the arts, we invest in Iloilo’s future”, is the mantra of the Iloilo Art Festival. The festival aims to promote local art and culture, as well as bring locals together and attract visitors to the City of Love. It was launched on December 11th, 2019 in Iloilo and is part of the vision of Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas’ to make Iloilo City the arts capital of the Philippines.
However, the event was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic. After two years of rigorous efforts to fight COVID-19, Iloilo is back on track and eager to continue its planned activities for the city.
“The Iloilo Art Festival aims to highlight Ilonggo creativity, history, and culture, and make art in all forms accessible to people from all walks of life, through a series of events in public spaces.” – The Iloilo Art Festival Official Facebook page.
Iloilo Art Festival
The City of Love is becoming a center for culture and arts – various murals and art installations adorn public spaces. The festival aspires to feature Ilonggo artists in all forms of art: visual art, music, dance, film, theater, and literature, as well as culinary, horticulture, and culture in a living museum. It aspires to be the biggest and longest art festival in the country.
“That is one of our dreams even before. We want to be the center for culture and arts, slowly we are going there,” states Iloilo City Tourism and Development Officer Junel Ann Divinagracia, in an article by the Philippine News Agency. Moreover, Divinagracia credits the growing trend to Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas and his wife’s love for art. “They pushed for public art.” adds Divinagracia.
“We want them to be more creative because of the colors, the paintings inspire our children to be more creative and to find other sources. In the future, when they take over, they will find more creative responses to the city’s problems,” states Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, in the same article.
“To make Iloilo City – this humble southern metropolis – the center for the arts in the Philippines is our ultimate goal,” announces the Iloilo Art Festival Facebook page. Iloilo City puts Ilonggo artistry, culture, and creativity at the forefront with the Iloilo Art Festival: Art in the Heart of the Philippines
Update as of September 2022: Iloilo Arts Festival is in the works. Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Trenas, in a social media post, provided an update on the upcoming Iloilo Arts Festival in October 2022.
“The Iloilo Arts Festival has been in the works since 2019. Due to the pandemic, the festival was moved from April 2020 to December 2021 dubbed with the theme: Art in the Heart of the Philippines. The Iloilo Arts Festival is an initiative to bring the art closer to the heart of the public and to support local artists and their masterpieces through exhibits. To continue showcasing Ilonggo artistry, this year, exhibitions will be held from October to December at the 2nd floor of Megaworld Festive Parade, as will the preparations for the launching of the Artbook 2022.”
“I am very glad to have my wife Rosalie as the Project Executive Director together with Leny Ledesma and Frannie Golez. They collaborated with the team from Megaworld Corporation , and City Hall offices with virtual artists. In attendance were representatives of art groups of Iloilo, namely, Abay, Agurang/Hublag, Artivism, Avac, Baysulangpo, Himbon, Hubog Ilonggo, Oval, Mamusa, Mind Art Torture, Red Table Boys, San Ag, San Ag Fine Arts, Sigahom, and Thrive, and with the untiring support of Ed Defensor, Rock Drilon, and PG Zoluaga. Festive Walk Iloilo is extending assistance by providing the venue free of charge for the entire duration.”
“As an art lover myself, I am thankful for the active participation in promoting arts to Ilonggos and tourists, as part of the vision of making Iloilo City the Arts Capital of the Philippines.”
Museums and Galleries in Iloilo
The Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Arts (ILOMOCA). Nestled within the Casa Emperador Building inside Megaworld’s Iloilo Business Park is the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Arts. It is the first museum in the Visayas dedicated to modern and contemporary art. The 3,000 square meter property houses exhibition rooms, a souvenir shop, and a theater facility.
The Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Arts (ILOMOCA) is Megaworld’s first-ever museum located at the Iloilo Business Park, the company’s township development in Western Visayas. The facility proudly embraces the distinction as the first art institution in Visayas and Mindanao exclusively dedicated to showcasing the works of mostly Filipino and Ilonggo artists within modern and contemporary art.
General Martin Delgado Monument. Last January 2019, property developer Megaworld paid tribute to the Visayan revolucionario as it unveiled its iconic General Martin Delgado monument in Iloilo Business Park. The 8.8-meter bronze statue is a masterpiece created by Spanish sculptor Gines Serran-Pagan, one of the world’s most renowned international contemporary artists. Megaworld honors Serran-Pagan in a ceremonial inauguration of the Delgado statue. The iconic monument is located at the Casa de Emperador, standing proudly as a tribute to the Ilonggo hero.
General Martin Delgado was considered the greatest revolutionary in the Visayas, ignited the start of the revolution against the Spaniards when he assembled Ilonggo patriots and declared what is known today as the ‘Cry of Santa Barbara’.
Casa Gamboa. The Casa Gamboa was named after Patrocino Gamboa or ‘Tia Patron’, the revolutionary heroine of Jaro. Patrocino Gamboa was among the first to join the revolution against Spain in Panay Island. She successfully prepared a replica of the Philippine Flag in time for the inauguration of the revolutionary government of the Visayas on November 17, 1898, at the headquarters of General Martin Delgado in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo. The momentous event was known as the ‘Cry of Santa Barbara’.
Philippine Economic History Museum. Before becoming the Philippine Economic History Museum, the structure was known as the Commission on Audit building or the Elizalde building. To date, the museum houses artifacts that highlight the economic history of the country and Iloilo, as well as the industries of Western Visayas. It also houses the following: San Miguel beer bottles from the Ynchausti clan; molino de sangre; decades-old gold; looms from the oldest weavers of Miagao in Iloilo; old photographs, maps; and many others.
Art Galleries in Iloilo City. Galleries and museums that are fully operational in the City of Love include the Art Deck Gallery by the John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University (JBLFMU); Ceramico Arts and Crafts by Nerissa Luger; Cinematheque Iloilo, Film Development Council of the Philippines; Et Nos Gallery, Angelicum School Iloilo; Galerie De Arsie by Arsenio Rafael III; Gallery-I; Guevarra Gallery Arts and Antiques; UPV Cinematheque Film Museum by the University of the Philippines –Visayas; Mamusa Art Gallery; Omriel Art Gallery; Molo Mansion Gallery by SM City Iloilo; Museo Iloilo Art Gallery Section and the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art by the Megaworld Corporation.
There is so much beauty in the City of Love. Iloilo, aside from its rapid economic development, is still the Iloilo lined with preserved heritage sites, strong Ilonggo culture, and the undying patronage of locals – be it locally-grown talents or products. Apart from that, Iloilo is still the Iloilo that has high regard for artistry – grandiose architecture, cultural festivals, visual arts, photography, literature, and so much more.