6 Definitive Things That Make You an Ilonggo

What differentiates Ilonggos from other ethnic groups? These are the 6 things that make an Ilonggo an Ilonggo.

1)      Ilonggos love laswa.

Laswa is perhaps the simplest and most versatile nutritious Ilonggo cuisine. A halo-halo of vegetables (such as talong, tugabang, okra, kalabasa, balatong, malunggay, etc.) made into a soup is the perfect partner to rice. Laswa is oftentimes made with a ‘subak’ or ‘meat part’ such as shrimp or dried fish for variety of flavor and texture.

This dish is purely Ilonggo and can be cooked according to preferred taste. At first, kids may hate laswa due to their natural aversion to vegetables. But sooner or later, an Ilonggo would eat and long for laswa wherever they are in the world. The sabaw is enough to make you feel nostalgic.


Laswa with pasayan subak


2)      Ilonggos speak or understand two sub-languages

The Ilonggo primary dialect is Hiligaynon. Among Filipino dialects, Hiligaynon is distinctively marked by its songlike tone making Ilonggos sound ‘malambing’ or tender. Hiligaynon is mostly spoken in Iloilo City itself.

Another sub-language from Iloilo province is Kinaray-a and it is closely related to Hiligaynon. Kinaray-a is often spoken in Iloilo Provinces, Capiz, and Guimaras and mostly in rural areas. Both Hiligaynon and Kinaray-a may share many words but the latter has a more pronounced “r” and often used instead of “l”. The accent may differ in some areas but is still considered Kinaray-a.

EDITOR’s NOTE: Kinaray-a is a language spoken mainly in Antique province. 

Most Karay-a speakers can understand Hiligaynon but some Hiligaynon speakers may have a difficulty understanding Kinaray-a if they are not rooted in places where Kinaray-a is the dominant language. Nevertheless, native Ilonggos that do not understand Kinaray-a are a very small minority.


Kiniray-a to Ilonggo Translation

3)      Many, if not most, of Filipino Seamen are Ilonggos

It may not come as a surprise — Iloilo is a place most Pinoy seamen call home.

A lot of families from the city and provinces are supported and fed by seafarers. No wonder why we have a lot of maritime academies, training centers, and offices in Iloilo City. It should also be noted that Ilonggo sea professionals are also considered to be the best in what they do.

If you want to find experienced kapitans, chief mates & engineers, and primeros – go to Iloilo. They are a dime a dozen here!

Ilonggos are excellent seamen

Ilonggos are excellent seamen

4)      Ilonggos are not celebrity fanatics but proud and loyal of their own

People in Iloilo do not easily go gaga over popular celebrities, almost to a fault.

Ilonggos might give an impression of being too proud and arrogant. However, it is just in their nature to be reserved when giving appreciation to local ‘artistas’ and other showbiz personalities. Make no mistake, Ilonggos are the most appreciative and hospitable bunch but they are just not into fanaticism. When they see local celebrities, they are only curious more than anything, and they would’t scream or sacrifice life & limb just to touch a hand.

On the flip side, Ilonggos are extremely loyal and proud of famous people with Ilonggo roots. If celebrities present themselves well, Ilonggos would become die-hard supporters and own those celebrities even if the only Ilonggo connection are the celebrities’ grandparents.

Ilongga Senator: Miriam Defensor Santiago

Ilongga Senator: Miriam Defensor Santiago

5)      Ilonggos are financial ‘seguristas

When it comes to decision-making particularly on spending, Ilonggos tend to go the extra mile in making sure that they are getting their money’s worth.

Ilonggos are oftentimes dubbed as ‘kuripot’ or stingy, but the more correct term would be ‘segurista’ or prudent. Stingy people avoid spending as much as possible but Ilonggos will spend lavishly when they are sure of the quality of product, service, or investment. They are not afraid to part away from their money; they are just smart investors.

Ilonggos are now investing in real estate properties

Ilonggos are now investing in real estate properties

6)      Ilonggos are walking advertisements

Treat Ilonggos well and you get awesome referrals.

For example:
When Ilonggos eat at a new restaurant with bad food and poor service, they would never go back to that place. And it doesn’t end there, they would also discourage all of their family and friends to eat at that restaurant like it’s their life’s mission.

But when you serve Ilonggos the best food and provide top service, they will go back to your place bringing all their friends with them. And their friends will follow suit. They will be your endorsers for life. That is a sure bet.

Ilonggos, if they like you, their friends and relatives will like you too.

Ilonggos: Master of Word of Mouth Marketing

Ilonggos: Master of Word of Mouth Marketing

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27 replies
  1. Adrian O. Villanueva
    Adrian O. Villanueva says:

    Mabait na kaibigan ang mga Ilonggo, huwag nyo lang lokohin may tama kayo. Kapag Ilonggo ang makilala mo diri sa Manila, maayo gid ya ang maramdaman mo at tiwala sa kanya.

    • Cecilia Firmalino
      Cecilia Firmalino says:

      As an Ilongga myself, I feel the same sentiment expressed by Adrrian. Everything he said is true! By the way, I like your Ilonggo/Tagalog blend in your statements, a perfect combination of both the national and vernacular languages of Ilonggos. Proud to be an Ilongga!

  2. fitZ
    fitZ says:

    Tama gid ba.. ilonggo di ya sa mindanao kaintiendi gid sang damu nga hambal.. pareha sang ilokano cebuano okon bisaya kag minuslim.

  3. Joy Sutton
    Joy Sutton says:

    It’s so fascinating to read this information about Ilonggos because it is accurate…it’s detailed concept of Hiligaynon and Kiniray-a showed how two different dialects could merge and understood by Ilonggo’s. My dad’s Kinaray a and my mom’s Hiligaynon so it’s an edge for us growing up learning two dialects. I love my heritage…I miss Iloilo!!!

  4. geraldine
    geraldine says:

    Maan dulang!!!. I am not born from Ilo-ilo but my roots are. Proud to be kaduro sang bugto kag parentes ko jan…Mindanao is invaded by Ilonggo from Ilo-ilo. amo gni na ang mga lugar dre puro ngalan ka lugar nga ginhalin nila dra .I am very proud of it biskan diin kaw maadto dar a gd ang pagka ilonggo.nice meeting more of you guys.

    • Melvin
      Melvin says:

      Invaded is an improper term, it would justify Muslim claim that ILAGA is an acronym for Ilonggo Land Grabbers Association which is not true. ILAGA is originally organized to defend christian communities here in North Cotabato and surrounding areas from marauding Muslim bandits during the 70’s and became notorious when they took the fight to the Muslim communities to avenge christian civilian losses during those times.

  5. Janice Mae
    Janice Mae says:

    Nabatyagan ko gid ang tanan nga gin pabutyag ne Madam M.Santiago…
    Puro nga Ilongga ne taga Jaro…

    From:UAE naga padayaw I AM ILOILO:)

  6. Mark tammy
    Mark tammy says:

    im not Ilonggo, but what I’ve observed from my Ilonggo friend they are good with it comes to friendship. They will treat you like a real brother if they like you.

  7. Tersel Fs
    Tersel Fs says:

    Kadto Kami sa London tan-aw concert ni justin Bieber tapos vip kami Kay royalty alaga q! Ai abaw ang mga puti ga singit gid ga lipong lipong pa! Ai ako tana ha patuyo tuyo lng haha. Ngaa sin-o gid ina c justin haw.? Kung c Sen. Meriam pa jan guro mag wakal sa intablado basi mamati pa ko.:D

  8. Denver Honesty Villanueva
    Denver Honesty Villanueva says:

    Tuud gd na ya nga damu Ilonggo nga seaman.. 12 out of 21 crew sang barko nga ginaskyan ko Ilonggo, 7- Iloilo, 3- Negros, 2-Mindanao, amuna na nga masadya kmi diri sa tunga lawod.. di mga pikon.. hehehehe

  9. Terry Pedrola
    Terry Pedrola says:

    Enjoy na enjoy ako basa sang tanan nga mga comments sang aton mga kasimanwa. Nahidlaw na gid ako sang Iloilo banwa ko nga nahamut-an !! Take care everyone. May God bless Iloilo, and may God bless us all.

  10. Joemar T vaquez
    Joemar T vaquez says:

    In my opinion,kinaray a is the dominant dialect in iloilo province, kay man an nyo halis tanan nga kabanwahan sa sa palibot ka siudad ka iloilo puro kinaray a ang siudad lang nag lain.amo dya ay ang istorya kang mga apuy namon ang siudad na korap na ang linguahe sang mga intsik nga nag istar dyan amo nga ang letra nga R nadula sa ila panghambal pati mismo ang ngalan sang probinsya nag evolve man.sa kabuhayon kang panahon, ang Una nga ngaran Irong Irong, nag raku intsik sa siudad di kasambit ka letra nga R ,ang irong irong nahimu nga ilong ilong,pag dugay tinamad na ang mga tawo .ginpamuguan pa gid Ilo Ilo na lang na bilin,hehe .para gusto gid nyo mapamatud an mag bakal kamo mapa ng daan kay makita nyo ang korti kauna kang iloilo daw irong ka tawo.ang iloilo river serve as nosetrills.kon sin o man ang nag post kag nag sulat kang article nga dya salamat,pero may kulang.mangkot lang sa mga kamal aman basi mas accurate nga istorya ang ma post.nyo.


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