I mentioned yesterday that I visited the tourism office to get ideas for my leisure sightseeing today. Apparently there are a lot of Spanish heritage churches in the province and my plan is to visit as much as I can in one day. The advise I got was to go to the farthest place early in the morning and move inwards back to the city as I pass by each of the places.
Amidst dark sky and gloomy day, I left for towns outside city earlier today by public transportation and my first stop was in the town of San Joaquin. I rode a jeepney bound for Molo Bus Terminal (PHP7) and rode a bus to San Joaquin (Ceres Bus Line for PHP53). From the main road, I walked towards the church near the plaza and town center.
Built in 1869, the church uniquely has mural carvings of Spanish victory against Moroccan forces reminscent of the Battle of Tetuan. Made with with limestones and white corals
San Pedro Regal
historical marker of San Joaquin Church
inside the church
Going back to the main road to look for public transportation, I saw a giant cross being constructed on top of the hill. One can see the cross and concrete stairway leading to it from afar.
I then rode a jeepney going to Miagao (PHP15). On the way, it passed by San Joaquin Cemetery, built in 1892. I didn't go down and I took this shot from the jeepney I was in passing by. At the center is a mortuary chapel, called Campo Santo, once used for blessing of the dead.
Minutes later, I was in Miagao, Iloilo. The church and the plaza is located along the main road so it's not hard to find.
Miagao Church is another UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Philippines (among the baroque churches given the distinction. Built in 1797, it is mainly made of yellow sandstone.
Also known as Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Church, after its patron saint, it was under renovation when I came, so lots of scaffoldings partially blocked what should be a magnificent sight of the church.
thick walls and support
inside the church
Walls inside are thick, said to be around 1.5 meters thick.
The front facade of the church features a large coconut tree, reflecting a Philippine touch to this heritage church.
historical marker of Miagao Church
Miagao Municipal Hall
I then went to look for Kota Bato. Asking the locals, I was informed it should be around 10 minutes walk on a straight path. I know I was a bit lost already when I reached the shore and didn't see what I was looking for.
Walking around, I finally found what I was looking for. Kota Bato (some refer to as Kuta) is a stone watch tower located Barangay Baybay Norte in Miagao. It's a structure made with the same materials as the church above and was used to watch against Moro invaders coming from the sea. Today it is now used as a Barangay Hall.
historical marker of the watch tower
I walked back to the main road and hailed another jeepney, this time to the town of Guimbal (PHP15). The plaza is along the main road, where I went down, and the church is just on the side, short distance walk.
Built in 1774, this yellow sandstone church of Sto. Nicholas de Tolentino was destroyed during World War II and an earthquake during 1948 and has been restored to its former glory.
side of the church
inside the church
I had my lunch first in Guimbal town proper and then I rode a jeepney going to Tubungan (PHP15). I went down at the market and walked towards Tubungan Church.
Tubungan Church or San Antonio de Abbot Church was built in 1814. The church was burnt down during World War II to prevent the Japanese from using it as a quarters and more was destroyed during earthquake but it has since been restored. The belfry was constructed much later in 1958.
inside the church
view from outside
statues outside the church facade
From there, I rode a jeepney back to Guimbal (PHP15) and a tricycle going to Bantayan (PHP7).
Bantayan is a beach resort in Guimbal but I didn't go there for the beach. My main purpose here is to get closer to the watch tower. I entered the place (PHP15 entrance fee) and walked towards to the right of the resort.
It was raining but it didn't stop me to go to the watch tower. This is one of the 5 watch towers built during 17th century to guard against Moro invaders.
At the other side of the watch tower is a ladder going up, though it was slippery, I still went up just to see what's in there.
The view of the sea is vast from above. After all, it was built for that purpose.
view from the watch tower
I stayed for a while, relaxed and went off minutes later heading towards Iloilo City, but before that, I passed by my last stop of this church hopping series, at the municipality of Tigbauan by riding a jeep from Bantayan for PHP10.
Also called as San Juan Sahagun Church, this church built in 1575 is beautiful from the inside and is graciously decorated with colorful stone murals.
Sto. Nino, from outside facade
Five churches in a day trip, located along different towns at the province of Iloilo. Combined with the other churches I've been to yesterday, it seems like I'm into visita iglesia at this time of the year. Still this has been a very good sightseeing trip for me and as I rode a jeepney on the way back to Iloilo City I feel very lucky and humbled seeing all these beautiful architectures in the province I never expected to be at when I flew in.