7 Iloilo churches you can go to for Visita Iglesia
ILOILO CITY, Philippines – During Holy Week, Catholic devotees visit at least 7 churches to pray before the Blessed Sacrament and reflect on the passion of Jesus Christ as a devotion called Visita Iglesia. (READ: WATCH: Visita Iglesia 2019)
While churches abound in the Philippines, Iloilo province, being one of the earliest places to accept Catholicism, has a lot more to offer with its centuries-old religious structures that witnessed history. (READ: 8 beautiful Metro Manila churches for Visita Iglesia)
Iloilo’s kind of Visita Iglesia is a celebration of one of the Catholic Church’s important seasons while appreciating the province’s heritage. (READ: Virtual Visita Iglesia: Philippine churches in 360-degree video)
Here are some of the churches you can go to for Visita Iglesia in Iloilo:
1. San Joaquin Church
Built in 1869, this Roman Catholic Church firmly stands in the municipality of San Joaquin as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines. Different from other churches, it's designed with a militaristic theme as it features the triumph of Spanish soldiers over the Moors. Approximately 45 minutes away from Iloilo City, visitors can go here by private or public transport.
2. Miagao Church (Saint Thomas of Villanova Church)
Famous for its artistic sculptural relief, the Saint Thomas of Villanova Church serves as a strong foundation of the Christian faith in Miagao town. The construction of this church was completed in 1797, and served as fortress against Muslim raiders at that time. Miagao Church is 30 to 45 minutes away from Iloilo City.
3. Guimbal Church (Saint Nicolas of Tolentino Church)
Completed some time between 1769 and 1774, the parish of Saint Nicolas of Tolentino is one of the oldest in the Philippines. Because of a devastating war and earthquake, this church has been reconstructed twice. Its yellowish color is caused by the construction materials used such as adobe, coral, and limestones. Tourists who want to visit here can take a Miagao or San Joaquin jeepney and can be dropped off at the town plaza.
Here's a video Visita Iglesia presented by the Society of St. Paul Philippines - Macau of 7 churches of the Archdiocese of Nueva Caceres.
4. Tigbauan Church (St. John of Sahagun Church)
Decorated with stone murals and mosaics, the St. John of Sahagun Church is unique for its Latin-American design. It was constructed in 1575, but was destroyed by an earthquake in 1948.
5. Molo Church (Saint Anne Church)
The Saint Anne Church is located near the Molo Plaza of the Molo district of Iloilo City. This church is made of coral rocks and limestones, and is also known for its famous two pyramidal red spires. Visitors can get here by taxi or jeepney.
6. San Jose Placer Church
The San Jose Church is considered as the first church built in Iloilo City. This religious structure was established by the Jesuits to serve the needs of military forces. It was later used to house the Augustinian order.
7. Jaro Cathedral (Church of St. Elizabeth of Hungary)
The seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Jaro, this church stands firmly with the history it witnessed. In 1981, then Pope and now Saint John Paul II set foot on its grounds to say a mass and to canonically crown the image of Our Lady of Candles.
Carl Don S. Berwin is a Rappler lead mover and a SharePH ambassador in Iloilo City. He is also an Economics student at the University of the Philippines Visayas.