Igbaras is a basket full of numerous activities for tourists and visitors to enjoy. Tourism in the town is built on the concept of ecotourism and the main focus is placed on sustainable use of the natural and cultural attractions which is its foundation, as well as empowering the local communities to benefit from tourism. It offers a diversity of attractions and activities. This makes the town a one stop destination for all your adventure expectations. It is rich in flora and fauna.
This Third-Class municipality is situated in the southwestern portion of the province. It is 40 kilometers away or an hour and twenty minute ride from Iloilo City. It is bounded in the north by the Municipality of San Remegio of Antique Province; east by the Municipality of Tubungan; west by the Municipality of Miagao; and in the south by the Municipality of Guimbal. It has a total land area of 15,245 hectares that is politically subdivided into 46 barangays.
Igbaras is populated by 32, 004 (2015 Census of Population) Igbarasnons. Market day is every Wednesday. It celebrates its Municipal Fiesta every 24th of June and Religious Fiesta every 22nd of May in honour of St. John the Baptist.
To get to the, one can take a jeepney at the Don Benito Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary Terminal in Barangay Mohon, Oton, Iloilo or at the Iloilo Terminal Market in Barangay Rizal Pala-Pala I, Iloilo City.
The name Igbaras comes from a combination of two words, “ig” or “tig” which means “plenty of” or “season of”, and “baras” which means “sand”. Thus Igbaras means “plenty of sand” which alludes to the nearby sandy river. Initially being a part of Guimbal until 1902, it became a separate town in 1919 during the American occupation.
As a result of the implementation of Spanish Governor-General Narciso Claveria’s decree on giving Filipinos with Spanish surnames in 1849, inhabitants of Igbaras during that time were interestingly apportioned with surnames starting mostly with the letter “E”
RUINS OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH CHURCH was said to have been constructed in 1784 under the supervision of Rev. Father Juan Aguado. Originally made of yellow bricks, it has a beautiful convent that was constructed in 1795. The materials used were quarried from the mountains of Igbaras. It was however destroyed by the flood. Another church was built under the supervision of Father Ignacio Marcos and the convent was under the supervision of Father Celestino Fernandez. However, both were destroyed by Lady Kaykay earthquake in 1948. Though now in ruins, it is still famous for its altar which was transformed into a grotto of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Portions of the original belfry had been converted into an Adoration Chapel.
MOUNT NAPULAK the mist-shrouded peaks of this famous mountain situated in Barangay Tigbanaba provide a stunning backdrop to its magnificent landscape. It is the highest mountain in the area measuring 1,200 meters above sea level. The shaped reminds one of a woman’s breast where massive coral rock, as big as a two-storey building, that sits on its peak and provides trekkers an eye-catching view of the city with mountain patches of the neighboring Antique Province.
The trails getting to the mountain exposes the area’s virgin forests and abundant wildlife. Walking tours in the foothills are a feature, although only the experienced and fit should attempt an ascent on its peaks. The highland meets cloud and mountainous landscapes; and flanking to this astounding array of natural habitats lie the artistic farmlands and villages of the local inhabitants providing very good photographic opportunities. Possible routes can be from the Poblacion to Barangay Bagay is a 5 – 8 hour trek or from the Poblacion to Barangay Tigbanaba approximately 4 – 7 hour hike. For those planning to get to the mountain, it is best to book the at least two days before.
The Municipal Tourism Office helps and recommends official mountain guides. There is no water source when on the peak of the Napulak so hikers are advised to secure water containers. It is very cold up there especially during early morning so proper clothing is needed to those who wish to pitch in their tents for an overnight stay.
IGCABUGAO CAVE in Barangay Igcabugao is 14 kilometers away from the town proper. It is a downhill walk on a rocky track where tremendous rock formations frames the way to the cave. One can relax in the cool and clear waters of Igbolo Creek nearby. The chambers inside the cave are eerie and immense. Lantern-equipped guides will take one to a pool of clear but extremely cold water.
NADSADJAN FALLS in Barangay Passi is approximately 10 kilometers away from the town proper. It is a 100-foot high waterfall that pours into a cauldron-shaped natural swimming pool. It is the most visited falls of this town by tourists. Getting to the area is a one and a half kilometer not so difficult trek carved out of rocky landscapes with its fertile soils dotted with numerous serpentine-shaped river tributaries that embraces the track. A huge Balete tree stands near the falls. Other falls include Lagsakan Falls, Timapok Falls, Guiritsan Falls, Kiput Falls and Sampanan Falls.
TANGYAN is annually celebrated every 3rd week of May. The name of the festival refers to the river Tangyan that was once named Orang Tangyan. According to local folk history, Orang Tangyan was the father of Queen Maniwangtiwan, wife of Datu Marikudo, the Aeta Chief who sold to the 10 Bornean Datus the island of Aninipay (Panay).
The Ati Chieftain and his family once lived in the plains of Igtalongon at the foot of Mt. Napulak along the river, named after Marikudo’s father-in-law, Orang Tangyan. The festivity is a time when this scenic town unites in recognizing the economic importance of its Tangyan River to the community. The river has functioned as the economic heartland where Igbarasnons are engaged in agriculture. As they say, the most fertile areas for farming are in the plains near the Tangyan tributaries where it provides irrigation, potable water and fish stocks, supporting livelihoods in the area. The festival is also dedicated to the preservation and protection of their cultural heritage and to be able to share them with the younger generation.
MT. NAPULAK NATIONAL INVITATIONAL CLIMB is celebrated every 3rd week of January. Started in 2008, it is organized by Friends of the Higher Grounds Mountaineers Iloilo, in cooperation with Municipality of Igbaras LGU and Municipality of Igbaras Tourism Office to promote the town of Igbaras as a destination for mountaineering groups based in Iloilo and Panay Island. Participants joining pay a registration fee that includes their t-shirt, IDs, certificate, transportation and meals for the two nights / three days event. Mt. Napulak is the highest peak of the municipality of Igbaras. It is called Napulak because of its iconic “nipple” rock in the local language that sits at its very summit. The metal cross was built on top of this rock to signify the faith of the people.