The Spanish conquest has been evident in the Western Visayas. The Spanish influence in Iloilo is depicted by centuries-old churches. Here are some of the historical and religious sites in the towns of Iloilo City, Guimbal, Tigbauan and Miag-ao in Iloilo.
Miag-ao Church or Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish Church
The baroque architecture was built from 1787 to 1797 and became a fortress during the Moro pirates attacked. The church was preserved as it was named UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Tigbauan Church or Saint John of Sahagun Church
A unique church because of its Latin American churrigueresque architecture that had been built in the 16th century by Augustinian friars. Inside the church is a grotto containing the chapel of Sto. Nino.
Guimbal Church or St. Nicholas de Tolentino Parish
The Spanish-colonial style church was built using corals and adobe. It was also known as the iconic Iloilo’s Yellow Stone Landmark because of the yellow colored limestone blocks and coral powder used. The four-story-high belfry serves as a watchtower against Moro pirates during the Spanish era.
Santo Nino de Arevalo Parish Church
The church possesses the third oldest Sto. Nino figurines in the Philippines brought by the Augustinian friars during 1581. The church stood in one of the places that were first to be named in Spanish as La Villa Rica de Arevalo and is now known by the locals as Villa de Arevalo.
Molo Church or St. Anne’s Parish
A Gothic-Renaissance inspired church exudes beauty which was built by Dominicans in 1831. A feminist church due to the presence of sixteen statues along the aisles is feminine saints. The massive two belfries consist of 30 different sizes of bells.
Across the famous Molo Church is a mansion of the Yusay-Consing clan or widely known as Molo Mansion. It was turned into a heritage museum.
Jaro Cathedral or National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles
The cathedral is declared the National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles and also the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Jaro. Housed inside the church is the stone image of the miraculous Our Lady of Candles.
Separated from the church is the belfry across the national highway and situated in the Jaro Plaza.