Villa de Arevalo commonly known as simply Villa or Arevalo is one of the six districts of Iloilo City, in the Philippine province of Iloilo. It was originally founded as La Villa Rica de Arévalo by a Spanish official who built his mansion along the coastal settlement in the 16th century. It was absorbed by Iloílo City during the 20th century along with the towns of Mandurriao, La Paz, Molo and the city of Jaro.
Its church possesses the third oldest Santo Niño (Infant Jesus) figurines in the Philippines. Arevalo is sometimes given the title “Flower Capital of Iloilo”, where potted plants, flowers, bouquets, wreaths can be bought. Arevalo is also famous for its firecrackers and fireworks. Its prominent attraction is the Villa Beach along the coast which boasts several resorts and an outdoor nightlife such as open air restaurants and bars.
Established on 1581 by Gobernador Ronquillo De Peñalosa as ” La Villa Rica De Arevalo”, named after his hometown Arévalo, Spain, it is one of the first places in the Philippine archipelago to be named in Spanish. It became the capital of the settlement in the province on 1582. It was invaded by the British in 1588 and followed by more raids by Moros in 1600 and by the Dutch in 1609, 1614 and 1616. The continuous raids forced the capital to be relocated near the mouth of Iloilo River, which is the current location of Iloilo City Proper. It was incorporated as a district of Iloilo City on July 16, 1937.
Landmarks and Events:
Sto. Niño de Arevalo Parish
The district’s parish, the Santo Niño de Arevalo Parish, is home to the third oldest Santo Niño figure in the Philippines. The church was built in such a way that when seen from above it is shaped like a cross. Adjacent to the church is the Arevalo Convent, a heritage building in a Spanish colonial design. Residing parish priest is Fr. Escañan.
Arevalo Town Fiesta
In January, Arevalo celebrates its town fiesta in honor of the Santo Niño. The festivities take place during the month of January, the Fiesta day is held every 3rd Sunday of January. During Fiesta day households open their doors and prepare food for fiesta goers, friends, visitors and distant relatives. A fireworks display contest is one of the highlights of the celebration held on the night of the town fiesta.
Arevalo hosts the annual Paraw Regatta, which is the oldest traditional craft event in Asia, and the largest sailing event in the Philippines.A paraw is a Filipino double-outrigger sailboat much like a pump boat which was used for transportation and fishing and still is in limited areas.
The main event is the paraw boat race along Iloilo Strait and also showcases Pinta Layag, sail painting contest; Porma Balas, sand sculpting; Pintawo, body painting contest; Miss Paraw Regatta,a local beauty pageant; Samba De Regatta,music & Mardi Gras contest; Luces by the Sea,a pyrotechnic exhibition; beach volleyball; and photo competition.