Iloilo Nightlife on Panay Island

Your Iloilo nightlife options are nothing like the usual Southeast Asia tourist offerings and, in fact, Panay Island itself is not much of a tourist destination at all. There are some expats to found here, but not many, and they are a relatively quiet bunch.

For most of the guys reading this, assuming that they are looking for somewhere to party the night away, Iloilo not a suitable choice. But it is good for other things...

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I’ve already made the case on my main page about Filipina girls that, for a typical westerner, the ladies in the Philippines are the most suitable for a serious long-term relationships. That’s true, and if the idea of finding a permanent girlfriend appeals to you then heading off to Iloilo City might be a very sensible choice.

Panay island does not cater to sex tourists, which means that the girls who you will come across here are more likely to be good honest regular girls. Enjoying the Iloilo nightlife with a lady that you are dating is the best way to enjoy what the city has to offer, and there are places to go after dark if you enjoy a more traditional atmosphere amongst friends.

Despite the relatively small number of westerners here, there are plenty of international restaurants to explore, and the quality of the food is good. Local Philippine dishes are widely regarded as being a bit on the disgusting side, with the odd exception such as ‘Lechon’ a pork dish of Spanish origin, or 'Lapaz Batchoy' a noodle soup. Western food will be your main option, so it’s a good thing that it is well prepared and cheap enough.

Christmas is celebrated in Iloilo City in the way that Christians do...

The western expats who are in residence are usually American, as is usually the case in the Philippines, and most are happy with life on Panay Island.

Iloilo City is geographically located in the Visayas region, on Panay Island just to the west of Negros Island. It is a fairly remote location and if you want to get away to somewhere with a more lively nightlife then Cebu City is the most accessible, with several flights per day that will get you there in under an hour.

Iloilo Nightlife; Smallville Complex & Riverside Boardwalk

By far the biggest and best concentration of bars, clubs and other Iloilo nightlife venues is the Smallville Complex and Riverside Boardwalk. There are other hotspots, usually located around shopping mall developments, but the Smallville Complex and surrounding area is easily the best in town.

One slightly disconcerting aspect of these nightspots are the armed guards that take care of security... Personally, if security concerns are a big enough issue that guns are needed to keep the masses in order then I’m not sure I should be recommending the place, but that’s just my English perceptions kicking in. The security does a good job and I’m unaware of any safety issues, so don’t be put off by the sight of guns.

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The usual arrangement of bars, bar/restaurants, Karaoke bars and nightclubs are all in residence at the Samallville complex and Riverside Boardwalk, but what you won’t see are strip clubs, or freelance hookers soliciting their services. The Iloilo authorities have taken action to ensure that this part of the Philippines does not become an Angeles City type location.

These things can’t be completely driven away though, and there are some Filipina hookers paroling the Iloilo nightlife scene. However, recent crackdowns by the authorities have reduced the number of prostitutes that work the streets by quite a lot.

Apparently, most of them have found it easier to simply ply their trade online via the personal ads sections of local websites, or more usually the dating sites.

Happy ending massage in Iloilo City is a rarity, although there are some ‘registered’ sex workers working as masseuses as well as Guest Relations Officers in the nightclubs.

I am unaware of any parlours that provide happy ending massage so, unless you know of somewhere specific, I’d run with the idea that they’re most likely to be located near to the other nightlife venues.

Isla De Gigantes, a small island off northeast Panay Island.

There’s also a lack of any dedicated Iloilo escort agencies operating in the city, and there are only a small number of Iloilo escorts to be found advertising on the big region-wide online operators. All in all, if you are a fan of the P4P scene then you’ll be somewhat disappointed by the lack of options here.

Iloilo Nightlife; The Dinagyang Festival

The Dinagyang Festival is a week-long party that hits the streets in the second half of January each year.

This is a local festival in Iloilo City that you won’t find anywhere else in the Philippines, and it does get busy. It coincides with the best part of the year as regards weather, so the tourist high-season (such as it is) will also be in full flow.

It is a sort of carnival with lots of music and street performances, but it is also traditionally a feast, so you get a lot of different cuisine from all around the world being sold at hundreds of market stall vendors.

The party runs throughout the night for the duration of the festival, and it enjoys a very friendly atmosphere. I think Iloilo City is one of those parts of Southeast Asia where the lack of foreigners (especially the naughty boys) has helped to maintain a friendly disposition towards us westerners, and the crime rate in general is low.

If the carnival atmosphere appeals to you, then I’d recommend visiting the city for the last two weeks of January. It’s also a good time to meet local Iloilo girls, with lots of students participating in the festivities...

Final Thoughts

Whilst the Iloilo nightlife scene does not offer the typical Southeast Asian fare for the depraved amongst us, it will be of interest to guys who have an appetite for a more mainstream way of life with a local lady of good character.

If you are a gentleman of good character and you want to find a place away from other westerners where you can pitch your tent for the long-term, Iloilo City is one place that should be on your list of potential places to stay.

Crime levels are amongst the lowest, at least in the Visayas region of the Philippines, and Pinay Island has some good selling points that might make up for the slightly disappointing Iloilo nightlife scene.

One of those selling points is the beaches that you’ll find here, Panoy Island has got a lot of truly beautiful smaller offshore islands with stunning beaches and crystal clear waters to explore. Panay Island itself also has some good beaches, and some come with a mountain range backdrop!

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