Thursday, May 5, 2016

Iloilo: The Grandeur of Miagao Church

It was the day before I am scheduled to leave Iloilo when I decided to go to Miagao to visit the Church of Saint Thomas of Villanueva. More popularly known as Miagao Church, it is one of the four Baroque Churches of the Philippines and is also a declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. With my short stint in Iloilo Province about to come to an end, I just could not let it pass without paying a visit to this significant place of worship.

I was just in time to catch the Caticlan-bound aircon Ceres bus before it left the transport terminal in Molo District, Iloilo City. After settling down on the window side seat to the right, I turned on my cellphone's GPS app just to make sure I know where will I disembark upon reaching the town of Miagao.

Visiting Miagao Church turned out to be easy even for first-time travelers. After about one hour, we reached the Municipality of Miagao and the bus made a stop at the town plaza. I disembarked from the bus and right along the highway I saw the magnificently stunning church.

Construction of this church began in 1787 and was completed in 1797. The church used to serve as a fortress against Muslim raiders. 

The church was destroyed during the 1898 Revolution and was subsequently rebuilt. It was damaged by fire in 1910 and badly damaged by earthquake in 1948.

Restoration work began in 1960 and was completed in 1962.

The church facade has a light orange or yellowish color due to the use of sandstone and eggs on its construction. The facade features a relief structure of St. Christopher carrying the child Jesus while holding on to a coconut tree.

The stone image of Saint Thomas of Villanueva stood above the main entrance which is also flanked on the sides by statues of the Pope and Saint Henry.

Miagao Church stands at the town's highest point of elevation and has two belfries of uneven heights and different styles. Accordingly, this is because these belfries were constructed by different parish priests.

The church has a Baroque Romanesque architectural style. Its foundation is 6-meter deep and the imposing 1.5-meter thick walls are intensified with buttresses at 4 meters thick. Among the four Barqoue Churches in the Philippines, Miagao Church is also declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Unfortunately I wasn't able to check the interiors as the church was closed during my visit. It was already past noon time, so after soaking in the church's grandeur I took a quick lunch at a nearby eatery. Then I walked back to the highway and waited for a passenger van to take me back to Iloilo City.

How to Get There 

From Iloilo City Proper, take a taxi to Molo Transport Terminal. Look for Ceres buses bound for Caticlan or San Jose, Antique and tell the conductor that you're going to Miagao Church. Travel time is about one hour and bus fare is only P 50.00.



  1. The church looks majestic and would be a great place to visit especially on visita iglesia. Anyway, I am interviewing top pinoy travel bloggers and I found you. Are you open for an interview? Kindly let me know if you're interested, email is Thank you :)

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