Miag-ao Church, San Joaquin Cemetery, San Joaquin Church & Jaro Metropolitan Church | Iloilo, Philippines

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)
Miag-ao Church | Iloilo, Philippines
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.

Miag-ao Church | Iloilo, Philippines
The church hopping companions & the beautiful church behind!

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!

Miag-ao Church | Iloilo, Philippines
There was a funeral service going on when we arrived… 🙁

Miag-ao Church | Iloilo, Philippines
Staring out of the window and wishing…

Miag-ao Church | Iloilo, Philippines
The courtyard is so serene and tranquil…

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!

San Joaquin Cemetery | Iloilo, Philippines
The entrance of San Joaquin Cemetery…

San Joaquin Cemetery | Iloilo, Philippines
Stone steps and the Baroque designed mortuary chapel in the middle…

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 | Iloilo, Philippines

San Joaquin Church | Iloilo, Philippines
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.

San Joaquin Church | Iloilo, PhilippinesSan Joaquin Church | Iloilo, Philippines
Inside, the church aisle and altar is sleek and bears minimal design and decorations…

San Joaquin Church | Iloilo, Philippines
Ok, you’re built in 1869. I got it…

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
Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral | Iloilo, Philippines
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.

Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral | Iloilo, Philippines
A wedding ceremony in progress!

Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral | Iloilo, Philippines
The couple in front of the altar…
And I like the color theme of the interiors of Jaro Cathedral! Mint and gold! Beautiful! 🙂

Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral | Iloilo, Philippines
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.

Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral | Iloilo, Philippines
The Lady of Candles and Jaro Belfry’s reflection on the glass casement that holds her now

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:

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