Calle Real, Iloilo

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Calle Real
CalleReal Iloilo.jpg
Calle Real in 2007
Other name(s)J.M. Basa Street (official)
Former name(s)Calle Real
NamesakeJose Maria Basa (official name)
LocationIloilo City, Philippines
Completion? (Spanish colonial period)
StatusHeritage zone (Declared by the NHCP in 2013; the district)

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".[1] 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 include the restoration of the historic buildings along the street and beautification projects.


Historical Marker

Even during the Spanish Era, this street was the main street of commerce for Iloilo. José Rizal was even impressed by the city during his arrival.[2]

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.[3][4]

The street was officially renamed in honor of Jose Maria Basa, a Filipino businessman-propagandist who was a compatriot of José Rizal.[1] The street remained popularly known as "Calle Real". The name would also be later used to refer to the central business district of Iloilo City.[5]

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).[5]

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines declared Calle Real as a district and 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.[6] Cultural performances are staged to promote Ilonggo heritage and to attract domestic and foreign tourists.[7] The experimentation ended on March 9, 2014; the Philippine Chamber of Commerce Iloilo wished to make this permanent, citing this opportunity to make walking viable and to take pride in the newly rehabilitated heritage buildings of the street.[8]


Calle Real is noted for its historic buildings, many of which were built between the late 19th century and the early 20th century.[4]

E/R Villanueva Building[edit]

Dating back to 1927, the E/R Villanueva Building was once known as the International Hotel, which hosted American, British, Spanish patrons as well as Chinese bankers, merchants and bankers. It fell into disuse and deteriorated. It was in 2012 that the building was restored.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Calle Real seen as business zone". Iloilo Metropolitan Times. 15 August 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  2. ^ The Royal Street of Iloilo: Calle Real
  3. ^ a b Jardiolin, Victoria (19 November 2012). "Calle Real, Iloilo City's heritage street, restored". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Yap, Tara (11 August 2014). "Calle Real embodies Iloilo's glorious past". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  5. ^ a b "'Save Calle Real' forum set". News Today. 10 May 2006. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  7. ^ Calle Real embodies Iloilo’s glorious past
  8. ^ Permanent Calle Real pedestrianization mulled