History and Culture

Iloilo's San Joaquin: 4 Must-Visit Spots in the First Landing Site of Datus


Belle Piccio
Belle Piccio | Nov 17, 2015

San Joaquin, Iloilo is popularly known historically as the landing site of the 10 Borneans. The municipality is also the location where the “Barter of Panay” took place. If you’re familiar of the Legend of Maragtas, you already have an idea of the history of San Joaquin municipality. It traces its ancestry to the barter of Panay Island by the 10 Bornean datus from the Ati King, Marikudo, during the start of the 13th century in the southern part of Iloilo which is Sinugbuhan, San Joaquin.

The San Joaquin People’s Center

San Joaquin is the last municipality of Iloilo Province. It is about 54 kilometers away or about 1.5 hours travel by car from the capital city, Iloilo. San Joaquin is a coastal community facing the Panay Gulf at the south. The town is also agri-based, thus, San Joaquinhons are either farmers or fisherfolks.

There are many beautiful spots in the municipality of San Joaquin. Here are 5 sites that you can visit that will give you a general idea of the town’s history and culture.


1. San Joaquin Public Plaza

The San Joaquin Public Plaza

San Joaquin is generally known for its breathtaking waterfalls, thus the town's plaza features a mini waterfall. 

One of the most visited waterfalls is the Gintaguan Falls. Another is found in San Mateo where you can do whitewater rafting. The former mayor of the municipality decided to put one of the waterfalls at the plaza so that tourists and guests can also see how beautiful it is.


2. San Joaquin Gymnasium

The San Joaquin Gymnasium

The San Joaquin Gymnasium, also called as the Garinasium 1, has a mural painting and sculpture that speaks of the story of San Joaquinhons: the landing of the  10 bornean datus and the barter of panay which both took place in the shores of San Joaquin.


3. The San Joaquin Church

The San Joaquin Church

Near the gymnasium is a picturesque San Joaquin Church considered as a National Cultural Treasure in May 2001. Part of the province’s major tourist attractions, it is also one of the 36 churches that was adopted by the National Historical Institute. The church was built as a fortress to withstand the attack of marauders.

READ: Ilolo's San Joaquin Parish: A Symbol of the Victory of Good Over Evil


4. The Camposanto de San Joaquin

The San Joaquin Cemetery

The San Joaquin Cemetery is located along the main highway in the town of San Joaquin, Southern Iloilo. It is known for its Camposanto or mortuary chapel and is popular for its intricate baroque architecture made of white coral and fossil stones with oriental (probably Chinese) influences.

READ: Possibly One of Asia's Most Beautiful Cemeteries: The Camposanto de San Joaquin


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How to Get There

From Manila, you can fly to Iloilo (estimated cost of Php3,000++, round trip, one hour). The Iloilo Airport is 30 minutes (approximately 19 km) away from Iloilo City.

From Iloilo City, you can take a jeepney bound for San Joaquin or a bus going to Antique. Fare is around Php50-60. If you opt to ride a jeepney, go to the Terminal Market near Robinsons Place Mall or ride a San Joaquin jeepney from Molo.

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