Iloilo 1993: A Missed Opportunity in an Ancient Town

In 1993, I participated in the KASAMA sa UP conference in Iloilo City and later we transferred to the town of Miagao. The KASAMA sa UP is a union of all the student councils under the University of the Philippines nationwide system. So we had representatives from Diliman (which I was part of), Manila, Pampanga, Los Baños, Baguio, Cebu, Iloilo, Tacloban, and Mindanao.

Molo Church  Photograph by akrosdayunibers.com
Molo Church
Photograph by akrosdayunibers.com

The city of Iloilo and Miagao are found in the island of Panay, in the Visayas Region of the Philippines. Both towns were developed during the Spanish Occupation of the Philippines (1521-1898), and have many structures from that time that are still standing. Sadly, I wasn’t able to go around and tour, while the others did. I was so focused on the job at hand, and I was unable to take some time off.

1936 Francesco Riccardo Monti - Law & Order, Iloilo City Hall
1936 Francesco Riccardo Monti – Law & Order, Iloilo City Hall

The the main building of UP Iloilo was former the Iloilo City Hall, which still has the 1936 sculptures of “Law and Order” by the Italian Francesco Riccardo Monti. Being young and brash, I couldn’t help having my picture taken in such an ornery pose.

1939 Guillermo Tolentino - Oblation, UP Iloilo
1939 Guillermo Tolentino – Oblation, UP Iloilo

The campus at Miagao is a satellite school of UP Iloilo, with the College of Fisheries as the main educational department. Situated beside the beach, the Miagao campus can be very relaxing. Once again, I couldn’t help myself but climb the 1992 replica of the National Artist for Sculpture, Guillermo E. Tolentino’s 1936 statue “Oblation”. The Oblation has become a symbol of the whole UP and each campus has a copy that was cast from the original piece.

The rest our stay in Iloilo was all about work, which I have very uninteresting photographs. I never tried to tour around the place, because I was busy with the conference, since we were focused on our plans to support the Magna Carta of Students’ Rights, which was being filed at the Philippine Senate.

Maskara Festival Photography by rojohn143torreres.deviantart.com
Dinagyang Festival
Photography by rojohn143torreres.deviantart.com

The next time I was in Iloilo, it was in 2002. However, this was a passing stay, and I wasn’t able to go around again. One of these days, I hope to return with my family and explore this old town, and maybe experience its famous Dinagyang Festival.

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