Bacolod and Iloilo: A tale of two cities

From March 20 to 22, Colliers Philippines participated in the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines’ (ECCP) business mission in Iloilo and Bacolod. I was joined by my colleague, Colliers Philippines’ Director and Head of Landlord Representation Maricris Sarino-Joson. The business mission was productive and action-packed.  I want to thank our colleagues from Trends and Concepts led by Mr. Joe Bantiling and Kenneth Kung for inviting Colliers Philippines to the investment promotion mission that focused on the potential of Western Visayas.

During open forum and networking sessions, Maricris and I gamely shared data-backed property insights with members of the European Delegation and key LGU officials from the cities of Bacolod and Iloilo, led by Iloilo city mayor Jerry Treñas. We highlighted the two cities’ attractiveness as property investment hubs and the crucial role the cities play in attracting job-generating IT-BPM investments. Maricris, for instance, played a pivotal role in facilitating EXL’s expansion in Iloilo city. What’s interesting is that based on my discussion with the cities’ investment promotion officials, more IT-BPM firms are planning to expand operations in Western Visayas. Roxas City was also highlighted during the ECCP sessions, with Mr. Alex Lavin of Pueblo de Panay and Roxas City Councilor Fernando Viterbo highlighting the city’s potential as a property investment destination in the Western Visayas region. 

Bacolod and Iloilo are part of Western Visayas which expanded by 9.3% in 2022, faster than the national economic growth of 7.6% during the year. The Services sector remains as the main driver of the region’s economy, accounting for 61% of the Western Visayas’ economic output in 2022. This only indicates that IT-BPM services and allied sectors continue to play a major role in the region’s economic expansion.

Over the past few years, we have seen how Iloilo and Bacolod attracted some of the largest IT-BPM companies in the country. The two cities attract these investments because of their competitiveness, ease of doing business, skilled manpower, and quality infrastructure network.

 Bacolod as Western Visayas’ residential sweet spot

There’s no doubt Bacolod remains as one of the primary residential hubs in Western Visayas. Colliers encourages developers to carefully monitor attractive price segments in the pre-selling market. In our view, developers should be proactive in assessing the viability of launching more mid-income (PHP3.2 million to PHP6 million) to upscale condominium projects (PHP6 million to PHP8 million), especially with the entry of national players such as Megaworld and Rockwell in Bacolod. In 2023, Colliers saw the share of mid-income and affordable projects to total take-up reaching 78%. Meanwhile, the upscale segment accounted for 2% of total units sold during the period.


Among the top-performing projects in the mid-income and upscale segments in 2023 include Megaworld’s Kingsford Hotel and Kensington Sky Garden, Cebu Landmaster’s Casa Mira Towers Bacolod, and SMDC’s Smile Residences.

Meanwhile, developers should further assess the Bacolod market’s reception for luxury projects, especially in light of newly-launched residential towers by national developers. In our view, developers are likely to further test higher-income segments over the next 12 to 24 months.

Bacolod’s property scene will definitely become sweeter once these projects are completed. Even sweeter than my favorite piaya and napoleones.

Consider alternative options for house-and-lot developments 

While Bacolod City remains the primary site for residential development, Colliers encourages developers to explore alternative sites around the fringes of Bacolod including Talisay and Bago. In 2023, these areas accounted for 55% of the total take-up of horizontal units (H&L and lot-only) in Negros Occidental.

Iloilo’s overflowing potential for residential investments


Colliers still sees Mandurriao accounting for the bulk of new condominium supply in Iloilo. Colliers recommends that developers further assess the viability of more township projects or mixed-use communities in Iloilo. Developers may opt to explore other districts outside Mandurriao. SMDC launched its residential development called Glade Residences in Jaro district in Iloilo City. The project is near an SM Mall opened in 2022.

 The Panay – Guimaras-Negros bridge will span 32.5 kilometers, including connecting roads and interchanges that will link the three islands. Once completed, the bridge is expected to reduce travel time from Panay to Negros Island from 3-4 hours by ferry boat to less than 1 hour by car. 

 Launch projects based on the most attractive price segments

From 2015 to 2023, the lower mid-income segment (PHP3.2 million to PHP7 million)  dominated total condominium take-up in Iloilo. The segment accounts for the highest share of condominium units sold annually. Meanwhile, we saw the upper mid-income segment’s (PHP7 million to PHP12 million) share increasing to 16% in 2023 from only 4% in 2022. This is due to accelerated take up of Megaworld’s newly-launched residential tower, Firenze.

Exciting property landscape 

Bacolod and Iloilo definitely have a lot to offer. And I’m not just thinking about the two cities’ delicacies. People are known for their warmth and hospitality and you can experience this as you roam around Iloilo and Bacolod. Industry insiders tell me several big-ticket developments are lined up in both cities and more exciting and interesting projects are due to be completed in the next three to six years. Property developers and investors should keep an eye on Western Visayas, especially Bacolod and Iloilo.