Spiritual Sunday: Iloilo’s Must-See Churches

Spiritual Sunday teaches all about life and our Big Boss.

My restless feet had brought me to two historic provinces in our country for two consecutive years in a row.  Aside from their historical features, these provinces also happen to be the home of Philippines’ grandiose colonial churches.  One was Albay last year and the other one was Iloilo just this year.

When I travel, I do away with too much shopping.  What I do is just go around for a leisurely walk, take snapshots, connect with the locals, and eat whatever food the place offers.  It has always been eat, pray, love journeys for me because what I’m after for is the experience!  So for this post, I’ll be sharing about Iloilo’s finest churches.

Church # 1 Jaro Cathedral

Jaro Cathedral is the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Candles.  I found this church very unique for it has two stairways right in front of its exterior leading to the relic of the patroness.

jaro cathedral iloilo
Situated across the street is the belfry of the original church which stands as a remains after a massive earthquake that shook the place in 1948.  This belfry had been declared as a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Institute of the Philippines.

jaro cathedral belfry iloilo
The pillars of the cathedral were also unique for its collection of male saints.  I just found this ironic to the name of the church which is devoted to a female saint.

jaro cathedral interior iloilo


Church # 2 Molo Church

Contrary to Jaro Cathedral, Molo Church is dubbed as a feminist church of Iloilo for it houses a total of sixteen images of female saints.  It is also known as the Parish of St. Anne in honor of its patron saint Sta. Ana.

molo church iloilo

The spires of Molo Church put me in a trance, letting me experience a feel of England while watching ’em.  This Gothic-Renaissance architecture is one of its kind especially to a remote province in our country.

molo church interior iloilo

The interior of Molo Church is also rich in Gothic elements which is flanked by five wooden altars.  And in contrast to the pillars of Jaro Cathedral, female saints hemmed the place.

Church # 3 Guimbal Church

Guimbal Church is also known as St. Nicholas of Tolentino Church.  It is a humble church reflecting the patron saint’s workings with the poor.  The facade is made of goldenrod adobe stones called igang.

guimbal church iloilo
As a modest church, there are no extravagant paintings nor statues inside it.  But what made it distinct among the others were the saints outside it, giving a homey atmosphere and warm welcome to anyone who wants to get inside.

guimbal church facade iloilo

Church # 4 Miag-ao Church

As a UNESCO World Heritage Site of Iloilo, Miag-ao Church is a world iconic spot that has two big belfries.

miag-ao church iloilo

Also known as the Church of Sto. Tomas de Villanueva, Miag-ao Church is also renowned for its artistic design right on its whole facade.  It is intricately sculpted depicting the way of life of the Filipinos.

miag-ao church facade iloilo
At the upper center of the church’s facade is the relief sculpture of St. Christopher carrying the child Jesus.  Though the church is in Baroque-Romanesque style, it stays indigenous native to Philippine architecture for the additional coconut tree, guava, and papaya shrubs carved on it.

miag-ao church sculpture iloilo
Going against with the church’s grand exterior is its simple interior.  Nonetheless, the altar is being highlighted by a gold-plated retablo with the crucifix at its center.

miag-ao church interior iloilo

Having gone to a handful of places of worship not just in the Philippines, every church visit is a noteworthy experience for me.  I’ve come to know that every church has its own story to tell and own pride to boast.  I’ve come to also realize that every church has its own culture that one must respect and observe while being there.  So for your church visit, take time to solemnly say a little prayer for God’s presence to endow the place.

iloilo churches

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