The recent meeting of Asia Pacific Economic Community (APEC) in Iloilo City brought me to one of the most promising cities in the Philippines. Of course, as someone who loves to travel and to have adventure I never let this opportunity pass without seeing what Iloilo can offer.
Miagao church’s facade
And what I found out are treasures. Iloilo’s treasures are its churches.
Churches in Iloilo are not just ordinary church structures; they are old but gold. The older the structure, the more precious it is. I am not a history geek but I was easily amazed with structures of churches in Iloilo even without hearing their stories.
Jaro Cathedral in Jaro, Iloilo City
Popularly known as Jaro Cathedral, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles (Nuestra Señora de Candelaria) is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. It was built in 1864.
Saints, altar and chandeliers in Jaro Cathedral
Jaro Cathedral is an iconic structure; something that deviates from the norm with its Romanesque Revival architecture, staying away from the semi-circular arches commonly used in churches.
Jaro Cathedral altar
Jaro Cathedral’s bell tower is detached from the church’s structure
It also has a bell tower which is commonly attached to the church was not attached to the church while the shrine of Our Lady of Candles which is commonly not attached to the structure was attached over the main entrance of the cathedral.
Lighting candles in Jaro Cathedral. Blue for good health_ white for family_ and pink for lovelife!
And what makes Jaro Cathedral more special? It is the first and only cathedral in Panay Island.
Don’t forget to light candles which come in different colors depending on your prayers, as stories told that the Lady of Candles also pray for your prayers for them to come true.
The shrine of Our Lady of Candles over Jaro Cathedral’s main entrance
Molo Church in Molo, Iloilo City
Known for being a “feminist church”, St. Anne Parish Church or commonly known as Molo Church is one of the favorite tourist destinations in Iloilo City.
All female saints statues in Molo Church
Built by the Dominicans in 1831, Molo Church is very unique since it is the only Gothic church in the Philippines.
Molo Church altar
Molo Church undergoing maintenance for its fiesta on July 26
It was called as the “feminist church” as all statues in Molo Church represents female saints.
Miagao Church in Miagao, Iloilo
A closer look of Miagao Church’s facade design
Some 40 to 50 kilometers away from Iloilo City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site lies: the Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish or the Miagao Church.
The Baroque Romanesque-structure Miagao Church is one of the four churches in the country declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site along with San Agustin Church in Manila, San Agustin Church in Paoay, Ilocos Norte, and Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion Church in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur.
One of the side doors in Miagao Church. A perfect frame for photo opp.
Visiting the Miagao Church will give you some bragging rights for visiting a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Miagao Church was built in 1787.
Coming from Iloilo International Airport and if you are staying in a hotel within the city proper, its best to go first to Jaro Cathedral, then to Molo Church, then to Miagao Church.
Miagao Church altar
After visiting these Miagao Church you may choose to stay in one of the beach resorts along the way to Miagao.
Take note that Miagao church possesses exceptional universal value
The three churches are accessible via taxi. But since Miagao Church is a long way from the city, you may ride jeepney going to Miagao at Molo Terminal.