Iloilo markets to top off in August; vendors endure in makeshift stalls

By Mariela Angella Oladive

The much-anticipated redevelopment of the Iloilo Central and Terminal Markets is on track, with a topping-off ceremony scheduled for August and completion expected by December 2024, as shared by Mayor Jerry Treñas during his site visit to the Iloilo Central Market on Thursday, May 16.

“In August, we will have the topping-off ceremony. We will invite the vendors and the business community to this event because it is a significant milestone for this construction. The work seems to be progressing quickly and is on target,” Treñas said.

The mayor highlighted that by November, concessionaires and vendors could begin preparing for the December opening, ensuring a smooth transition from the temporary stalls to the new market facilities.

The Iloilo Central Market will feature a four-floor structure, including ground and second floors, parking areas, a mezzanine, and a roof deck.

Treñas emphasized that there would be no increase in rental fees and no displacement of vendors, addressing a major concern among the market tenants.

According to Maricel Mabaquiao, head of the Local Economic Enterprise Office (LEEO), the Iloilo Central Market will accommodate an extra 285 to 300 stalls on top of the existing 600, providing more opportunities for vendors.

Likewise, the Iloilo Terminal Market adjacent to the central market will also see an increase, expanding from 800 stalls to 1,250.

Mabaquiao also noted the high interest among vendors, as highlighted by Mayor Treñas, reflecting on past economic struggles and the renewed optimism among the local business community.

The revamped markets are designed to offer comfort and efficiency, not just for vendors but for all market-goers. With parking spaces for 390 vehicles, including cars, motorcycles, and bicycles, the new markets aim to provide a better shopping experience.

The redevelopment of the two major public markets is made possible through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between the Iloilo City government and SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SMPHI) with an estimated P3-billion fund.

Treñas thanked M Prime Holdings for their partnership in realizing this project.

“This is a dream come true not only for the mayor but for the Ilonggos and I am very thankful to SM because the city cannot afford this, and they came in to make sure that this dream of everyone will come true,” he stated.

As the city prepares for the topping-off ceremony and the completion, the redevelopment stands as a testament to the city’s commitment to progress and community welfare.


While the promise of improved facilities offers a brighter future, the current construction process is taking a toll on the market tenants as they endure hardships amid redevelopment.

The ongoing redevelopment of Iloilo’s central market brings a mix of hope and hardship for long-time vendors like Gertrudis Claro and Angielie, who have been selling seafood in the market for over a decade.

“We are in favor of the redevelopment, but we want to return and settle into proper stalls because it’s extremely hot here in the makeshift stalls,” Claro told Daily Guardian.

She further narrated how their sales are affected, especially since there’s no parking, and some customers just pass by, saying they won’t buy anymore. They are eager to move back into the market.

This sentiment is echoed by Inday, a plastic vendor, who highlighted the financial struggles since the redevelopment began in September last year.

“Prior to the redevelopment, when our stall was still inside the central market, we could make sales of P10,000 to P15,000. Now, we’re lucky if we make P2,000 a day. Sometimes, we only earn P200. Despite our small stalls, we still pay the same fee of P3,000 pesos, just like when we were inside,” Inday lamented.