The Growth of Iloilo
Panay may well be considered as the cradle of the modern history of the country. It is where our ancestors, the Malays from Borneo, found sanctuary for oppression and perhaps haven for their quest for adventure. Here in Panay were promulgated and recorded one of the oldest sets of rules governing Philippine society.
From the small thriving villages of the early Malay, settlers sprang large communities. The most thriving of these communities is Ogtong, now Oton, Iloilo. Relics from diggings have indicated commercial contacts between the settlers of the communities and the Chinese merchants even prior to the arrival of the Spaniards to the archipelago.
The prosperity of the communities continued to the early Spanish times when the center of commerce shifted to Villa Rica (rich village) now known as Arevalo. Along with its beautiful shores is where Villa Rosa by the Sea beach resort is located.
Queen City of the South
Time and influence of another culture brought the center of commerce and trade from Arevalo to what is today, Iloilo City. In the early American period, Iloilo became known as the Queen City of the South. Endowed with a beautiful river harbor and rich agricultural land, titled by industrious people, the City became not only the hub of trade and commerce but also the center of culture in the region. Neighboring provinces of Cadiz, Aklan, Antique, and Guimaras and even the nearby island of Negros made the city a gateway to prosperity.
However, after the outbreak of World War II, Iloilo City lost its glamour and commercial advantage and continued to decline partly because of economic dislocation but mainly because of political bickering until the 1960s.
Since the proclamation of martial law in 1972, the country experienced an unexpected influx of tourists, both foreign and domestic, apparently most of them “to see things for themselves”. The impact of initial fear-discipline among the citizens, private investments in tourism facilities such as hotels and resorts, and government infrastructure projects, among others, whetted the appetite of tourists and investors. Thus, the tourism boom in the 1970s.
The Birth of Villa Rosa by the Sea
Villa Rosa was conceived in the desire to fill the apparent demand for hotel-resort rooms, particularly, those of “international standard”, in the City of Iloilo. This desire was likewise deemed as a supplement to the major tourism investment of the proponents, Sarabia Manor Hotel Corporation. Villa Rosa is the first resort in Iloilo City with first-class hotel rooms, restaurant function rooms, and a swimming pool. Villa Rosa was established in 1981.