Located on JM Basa Street and spanning from Plaza Alfonso XII (now called Plaza Libertad) up to Plazoleta Gay, “Calle Real” or Royal Street is the location of prime commercial establishments and is considered as Iloilo City’s historic center.
Decades old buildings lining up Calle Real still stand against the test of time and reflect how glorious Iloilo was then. The street serves as some kind of museum of old buildings that have survived the war, countless typhoons, flood, earthquakes, and of most of all, time. Today, it still serves as the center of commerce and trade in Iloilo City (formerly called The Queen City of the South). Until now, the street is still alive with the hustle and bustle of downtown traffic and countless number of people going out and about.
Most of the buildings were constructed during the Spanish era (The Philippines was colonized by Spain for 377 years from 1521 – 1898) and served as the shopping and entertainment center of the region. Most of the buildings show European and American influences of the late 19th and early 20th century. Most of the buildings are one or two storeys. The first levels serve as commercial establishments while the second levels serve as residential places for Iloilo’s elite back then.
Although the heritage buildings located on the street still stand up to this day, they have also been damaged from the wear and tear of the time. Other factors include World War II and the 1948 magnitude 8.3 great earthquake that struck Panay, Iloilo City and Antique. Because of this, the old buildings have been neglected.
In the year 2000, the Local Cultural Conservation Ordinance was passed by the City Government in order to preserve the establishment and prevent future damages to the buildings. Today, with the efforts of the local government and private sectors, most of the buildings have already been restored and beautified.