About forty-five minutes away from Iloilo City is a small town of Miagao which is known for its UNESCO World Heritage Church. Various people of different ages coming from different places are regularly visiting the said church to witness its unique and classic architecture. For most people who have gone to the place, visiting the church feels like seeing a part of Spain.
Tourists don’t have to travel for miles just to see the kind of church they can usually see in Spain. Here in the Philippines, without spending much of your time and money, you can witness the kind of architecture that European countries can offer.
Construction of Miagao Church began in the year 1787 and was completed in 1797. During the period of revolution, it served as fortress against Muslim raiders. The church was destroyed in 1898, subsequently rebuilt and was damaged by fire in 1910. It was badly destroyed by earthquake in 1948. Restoration work began in 1960 and completed in 1962.
Expect to see an artistic façade in front of you. The façade is sculpted with an image of St. Christopher carrying the child Jesus amidst the shrubs of coconut, papaya and guava. On the lower portion of the façade are structures of a priest and a king holding a sword which reminds of Spanish governance ruled by the king and the church. Right in front is a monument of Jesus Christ. You can also see doors and windows carved with decorative elements such as flowers and leaves. The interior of the church is simple yet elegant with a centralized view of an altar filled with monuments of saints. Surrounding the church are flowers of morning glories, trees, benches and street lamps built in the Spanish medieval period.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit the place is during the month of February wherein the church is celebrating the feast of its patron saint, St. Thomas de Villanueva. During this month, tourists flock the place to witness the Salakayan Festival, a cultural presentation depicting the historical attack of the Muslims in the town.
What to Observe
When visiting the church, observe chastity. Don’t wear revealing clothes such as backless, strapless and plunging necklines. The parish is strict with implementing its dress code especially when visiting their adoration chapel.
If you want to see a unique and artistic architecture, then you should come to Miagao and visit its UNESCO World Heritage Church.