When in Iloilo: Calle Real

Calle Real (Royal Street in Spanish), officially named as J.M. Basa Street, is a historic street located in the old downtown district Iloilo City Proper of Iloilo City, Iloilo, Philippines.The street often referred to as the “Escolta of Iloilo”. It is home to several fine examples of historic luxury American era neoclassical, beaux-arts, and art deco buildings. The street has been famous since the Spanish Era. However, its importance has dwindled and the street has become less maintained; yet there have been efforts to revitalize the street which includes the restoration of the historic buildings along the street and beautification projects.

calle real


Even during the Spanish Era, this street has been the main of street commerce for Iloilo. José Rizal was even impressed by the city during his arrival.

During the early period of American occupation of the Philippines, Calle Real was known as a hub of high-end shopping outlets selling products from Europe.

The street was officially renamed in honor of Jose Maria Basa, a Filipino businessman-propagandist who is also a compatriot of José Rizal. The street remained to be popularly known as “Calle Real”. The name would also be later used to refer to the central business district of Iloilo City.

The Art-Deco buildings and other structures along the street deteriorated but remained to be a shopping hub of the city. Calle Real as a district consisting of Aldeguer, Guanco and Iznart, J. M. Basa, and Mapa streets was declared a Iloilo City heritage zone by the virtue of Ordinance No. 00-054 also known as the Local Cultural Heritage Conservation Ordinance which established the Iloilo City Cultural Heritage Conservation Council (ICCHC).

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines declared Calle Real as a district, a heritage zone in August 8, 2014 with the unveiling of a historical marker outside the Villanueva Building.[4] Its current restoration has been a public-private partnership between the government and the Iloilo Cultural Heritage Foundation, Inc. (ICHFI).

Other efforts to revitalize the district include the pedestrianization of Calle Real, burying of utility wires, and minimizing obstructive advertisements. Regarding pedestrianization, experimentations have been done, including closing the road during Sundays, but permanent pedestrianization is still contested. Cultural performances are then staged to promote Ilonggo heritage and to attract domestic and foreign tourists. The experimentation ended March 9, 2014, but wished to be made permanent by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce Iloilo citing this opportunity to make walking viable and to take pride in the newly rehabilitated heritage buildings of the street.

Article Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calle_Real,_Iloilo



Lalaine or as known as “Lala” to her friends and family, is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Tourism Management who definitely loves to set her foot on different places here and abroad. Right after graduation, she was immediately hired as Holiday Representative.

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