From the time when the Philippines was still under Spanish rule up to the early 1940’s before the second World War, Iloilo City has always been one of the country’s most important cities being the center for textile trade, sugar export and other businesses. But decades after Iloilo has been overtaken by other cities in terms of developments, it has slowly been progressing as a center for education with more than 5 century-old universities and other schools catering to the growing population of the city.

When the new airport with international standards was built in 2007, Iloilo City and Province were ready to cater more tourists and most importantly, investors. Hon. Jed Patrick E. Mabilog has always been the favored candidate by the majority of Ilonggos who voted since he first ran as a city Councilor then Vice-Mayor and Mayor in 2010.

But before he became very popular in our city, he was always a guest speaker in many occasions and events in different settings such as schools and local communities. He has always motivated people to unite and rise up not just in their education, livelihood or as an individual but as a people of a city rising up to face many challenges.

He’s a leader who definitely knows whom to approach when he needed help. His connections around the city have been growing pretty impressively. He knows how to deal with different personalities from the poor up to the richest and most powerful in the country.

He works with people who can help bring change to the city. Along with private individuals, organizations, government officials and city employees, many programs and projects have been implemented transforming the city physically and more importantly influencing the Ilonggos to have that feeling of being proud of their place.

From criticisms to suggestions and commendations, he spends time personally dealing with the people on his social media. By giving them reports on a daily basis on what’s happening around the city, the newest developments and promoting tourism, Ilonggos have always been up-to-date with their beloved city.

Not only that we are now more proud to be Ilonggos but we feel more involved in everything that’s happening in our city. People are now happy and aware that there are many destinations in Iloilo City to visit and bring their visiting friends to.

The downtown area where several decades-old buildings can still be seen standing and being used were restored to beautify this historic area. Plazas that complement beautiful churches were also cleaned and fixed.

In terms of investments, numerous restaurants, hotels, offices, schools and other companies have come to Iloilo to bring more jobs and offer better lives for everyone here. Even the good Mayor has been busy for the past few years attending to these inaugurations and meeting with more investors.

No other leader in the history of this city can be ever be credited like Mayor Jed for having done so much. The Iloilo City Hall alone is one of his biggest achievements. It is a testament for all that indeed there is a government and a City Mayor who is always on top of this City working hard and efficiently to deliver every service it has for the people.

With the help of Senate President Franklin Drilon, Congressman Jerry Treñas, the City Councilors and President Benigno Aquino, Iloilo City is now moving forward as one of the country’s premiere cities. Bringing back old credits and fitting titles that once was ours as it opens up to the world.

Next year, important side meetings for the APEC Summit will be held here in Iloilo City. The world-class Convention Center is now being constructed as well as the old runway of the former airport into a township with hotels, malls and other amenities. Two major townships are also being developed nearby along with the existing developments in this new business district.

From the historic old business district in the City Proper area up to Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. Avenue in Mandurriao district where the new business district is located, government and private projects are being developed althroughout Iloilo City.

From the mouth of the river up to the bustling and exciting part of the city efforts have been made to clean the Iloilo River. As the only natural attraction that this city has this inland body of water is now one of the top attractions to visit. The Iloilo River Esplanade complements this wonder. Everyday thousands of Ilonggos and tourists stroll the 1.2km paved riverside walk. Soon, more esplanades will be created even in the old business district where the old ferry terminal was located.

There are still more developments, projects and programs to enumerate and more also coming up. Iloilo City is really the next place to watch out for. I just simply know all of these because I have been taking photos of these developments and blogging them for the past few years. With a leader in Mayor Jed who continues to inspire the youth to be the next leaders of this city rather than moving somewhere else for greener pastures, I’m sure Ilonggos now want to come back and just stay here to enjoy what’s coming up.

Antoine Greg of AGBoi & Cafe Ilonggo blogs
Iloilo City, Philippines