People are starting to travel close to home after having self-isolated for a long time. Travel is seen as a learning opportunity. Travelers are more likely to think about staying in a destination for a long time that would let them explore local culture by taking part in authentic experiences. Efforts to convey and promote the historical, cultural, and natural heritage that abounds in the province play a major role. Our aim is that tourism development and activities must deliver on the triple bottom line of economic, social, and environmental sustainability.

Our office has prepared Community-Based Tourism Projects that will preserve and promote local resources in Iloilo’s rural communities through community-based tourism. The project hopes to strengthen local capacity for community-based tourism development and promotion and support new and existing tourism and livelihood activities.

FARM TOURISM. As an agricultural-dominated province, Iloilo has tremendous potential for developing Farm Tourism, a relatively new tourism product. Farms are becoming attractive tourist destinations because more visitors are interested in “simpler” times.

The Gardening for MoRProGRes, a convergence program of the province for Food Security, Tourism, and Climate Change. It is a convergence program of the Province together with National Government Agencies (NGAs), Local Government Units (LGUs), academic/technical education institutions non-government organizations (NGOs), people’s organizations, socio-civic organizations, religious organizations, media, and social media netizens, business, and other sectors.

The program is aimed at (a) Promoting the production of high-value crops in various agricultural settings for food security, (b) Blending ornamental gardening, landscaping, and high-value crops production to create tourism destinations for tourists, especially the Ilonggo weekenders, and; (c) Creating green agri-tourism destinations that will promote the use of recycled materials to contribute to the climate change response of the Province.

The program will showcase a garden for high-value crops, ornamental plants, and using recycled materials, with landscaping features, and shall serve as an agricultural tourism destination, and a climate change response as well.

The program has the potential to help revitalize rural economies, educate the public about agriculture, and preserve agricultural heritage. In addition, community-focused farms may find agri-tourism an attractive option because it provides more labor opportunities for residents.

FOOD TOURISM. This is a growing trend in the province as more towns strive to present their local cuisine as an artistic expression of their culture. Food and culture are interwoven. The processes involved in preparing, serving, and sharing certain foods and drinks might appear simple, but they often carry important social and cultural significance. And recipes can be used to transmit knowledge from one generation to the next.

Iloilo Province has a very rich culinary heritage and its people are very passionate about it and are very much willing to offer their culinary specialties to its visitors. Apart from the natural wonders, the historical and cultural richness of its destination’s food is what will promote the province as its new offering.

There is a growing awareness of the importance of food as a cultural and heritage component for Iloilo and we consider it a valuable source to attract tourists. Our tourist destinations have made a great effort to promote their local cuisines.

NAMIT! a culinary tradition of Iloilo is an offshoot of KAIN NA! a project of the Department of Tourism in support of culinary tourism that introduces the specialties, as well as new dishes that mostly highlight every region’s culinary produce. This culinary tourism project is an annual celebration in the calendar of events to celebrate Food Month every April and in the last quarter of the year. The event highlights cooking demonstrations, culinary lectures, cooking competitions, product selling, and exhibits.

A culinary tourism experience is every experience in which one not only consumes authentic local food but also appreciates and learns about local culture. And as people are becoming more open-minded about trying new cuisines, the food tourism market keeps growing.

FABRIC OF THE FUTURE. Weaving is one of the most ancient crafts in Iloilo. It has been a part of the Ilonggo culture that has survived for thousands of years. Our hand-loom textiles were highly regarded and have been sought after as trade items in the late 18th century. Commercial production of hand-woven textiles has been an important element of the Ilonggo economy.

The ancient tradition of hand-loom weaving in Iloilo has been kept alive to the modern day, and weaving workshops are helping Ilonggos in remote communities improve their living conditions. The effect of these workshops is to help to keep traditional textile techniques alive and well, and they also provide meaningful employment to women in poor communities.

Weavers have the chance to improve their quality of life and uphold the customs and traditions that shape their identity. By applying skills that are steeped in the old ways, women weave new opportunities, and culture and commerce merge for development.

Weavers labor in cooperative workshops for around 8-10 hours daily, while others work in their homes to alternate their weaving with their domestic chores. As the men walk kilometers to their fields, women stay home to raise their babies and weave. They are not paid at an hourly wage, but rather for the completed fabric sold per meter in the local market.

In the small weaving barangays of Miagao, Igbaras, Oton, Badiangan, Duenas, Tigbauan, Cabatuan, Calinog, Tubungan, and Janiuay in Iloilo, there are plenty of awe-inspiring histories of loom-weaving that is so important to preserve, and help pass on this knowledge of the skill.

The annual Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair incorporates exhibits, demonstrations, and pocket fashion shows that provide a better venue to promote the local weaving industry in Iloilo. The more proficient weavers will be able to teach those just learning, and the weaving knowledge of the elders will be recorded, preserved and passed on. Adults and children both will be encouraged to wear and take pride in using our local handloom fabrics in their everyday dresses, further driving the motivation to produce new weavings.

CULTURE AND HERITAGE MAPPING. Our rich cultural, historical, and natural heritage provides a huge potential for the development of tourism and job creation in the country. There is a great scope and need to develop tourist circuits on specific themes to attract tourists having a special interest in visiting such places.

Ours is an irreplaceable outdoor museum that provides everyone with a beautiful backdrop of historic sites as popular landmarks for tourism. Tourists will be amazed by the wealth of monuments and historic tales of Spanish, American, and Japanese conquests in Iloilo. It is a compact and charming province with a historic goldmine of attractions and cultural activity. Many of these heritage sites are places of cultural importance.

To preserve our intangible and tangible cultural assets, the office has initiated a province-wide cultural mapping of the different communities. It involved local cultural workers identifying and documenting their local cultural resources. Through this project, local cultural elements are recorded – both tangibles and intangibles. The most fundamental goal of cultural mapping is to help our communities recognize, celebrate, and support cultural diversity for economic, social, and regional development.