Following the previous post with the first half of the church hopping day we went on while I was in Iloilo, this is the second installment of our church hopping day as promised! Enjoy~
[Philippines December 2013]
27 December 2013
Miag-ao Church, San Joaquin Cemetery, San Joaquin Church & Jaro Metropolitan Church
As listed in Part 1, we covered the only gothic church outside of Manila in Philippines, one with beautiful walls decorated with colorful stones to form mosaic murals and not forgetting one of the oldest church in Philippines too.
So for the second part, there can only be churches with equally interesting architectures or history!
Church of St. Thomas of Villanova (Miag-ao Church)
Construction of Miag-ao Church started as early as in 1787 but it was only completed in 1797 and it served as a fortress against Muslim raiders. However unlike the other churches we saw earlier, Miag-ao Church didn’t manage to survive the revolution and the natural disasters thereafter and restoration works commenced in 1960 and completed two years later.
In 1993, it was declared as one of the Baroque Churches of the Philippines and listed as part of the Word Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
The facade features a large coconut tree in the center that reaches almost to the apex that symbolizes the “tree of life” to which St. Christopher carrying the Child Jesus on his shoulder is clinging to. The entire architectural form and the intricate carvings on the facade were so unique as compared to the many churches I had seen and it was so stunning that when we arrived at the church, my jaw dropped and I exclaimed, “No wonder this is an UNESCO site!”.
Nonetheless, the church is 216 years old when I saw it!
San Joaquin Cemetery & San Joaquin Church
Frankly speaking, both the San Joaquin Cemetery and Church wasn’t part of the intended itinerary but we happened to pass by both of them and decided to take the chance and check them out!
I actually noticed multiple mentions about the San Joaquin Cemetery while I was researching and planning my itinerary for my trip to Iloilo but I thought… Visit a cemetery as part of the holiday? Oh no please! But, the cemetery is located along the main highway in San Joaquin town so it’s actually quite hard to miss. So… there you go! Haha…
San Joaquin Church, built in 1869 with coral stones and limestones, is unique among those in the Philippines because of its militaristic theme. Its facade features a military scene, the Spanish victory over the Moors in the Battle of Tetuan.
Anyway, the National Historical Institute of Philippines has listed the church as a National Cultural Treasure in support of the state policy to preserve and protect important cultural properties and safeguard the intrinsic value!
Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral
The original structure of Jaro Cathedral was built in 1874 but it was destroyed by an earthquake and it was reconstructed and restored in 1956. Because of the famous shrine located on the front facade over the main entrance with the image of the Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria or also known as the Lady of the Candles, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines approved the cathedral as the National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles.
One distinctive feature of Jaro Cathedral is that the belfry is located across the road on Jaro Plaza instead of the typical churches where their belfries are built right next to the main building of the church.
It was said that she had “grown” and cannot fit in the same niche they had enshrined her in on the facade of Jaro Cathedral when it was first built! And during the annual Jaro Fiesta held every February 2, her image if the focus and devotees will bring their first harvest as offerings to her.
And this sums up my church hopping day in Iloilo! We covered six churches in total. You can actually do more but I just don’t like the idea of rushing around since we’re supposed to be on a holiday and enjoying the experience.
Anyway, don’t you think we should really feel resurrected and glorified at the end of the day? Hehe…
Most posts from Philippines December 2013 travelogue series:
- Harbor View Restaurant, Fort Santiago & Intramuros and Padi’s Point | Manila, Philippines
- Angelicum School | Iloilo, Philippines
- Iloilo Esplanade & Cholabite | Iloilo, Philippines
- Molo Church, Tigbauan Church & Guimbal Church | Iloilo, Philippines
- Miag-ao Church, San Joaquin Cemetery, San Joaquin Church & Jaro Metropolitan Church | Iloilo, Philippines
- 7 EATS in Iloilo | Iloilo, Philippines