History and Culture

10 Must-Visit Historical Sites in Iloilo

, Iloilo,

Belle Piccio
Belle Piccio | Jan 18, 2016
10 Must-Visit Historical Sites in Iloilo

Iloilo City is like a treasure chest of history in Panay Island showing evidence of Spanish colonial period and western influences.

READ:  Iloilo: Getting to Know the Royal City of the South

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) has recognized nationally the historical landmarks of Iloilo such as churches and monuments. Be brought back in the past during the time of our Ilonggo ancestors by visiting these historical sites.

Religious Heritage Sites

1) Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral

The Church of St. Elizabeth of Hungary commonly known as Jaro Cathedral; photo by Belle Piccio

READ: The Jaro Cathedral: One of Iloilo's Oldest

The Church of St. Elizabeth of Hungary and the National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles is simply called as Jaro Cathedral. It is the first and only cathedral in the province.

2) Miagao Church

The church is located in Miag-ao, Iloilo.

The Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Church, or commonly known as Miag-ao Church; photo by Belle Piccio

READ: The Baroque Fortress Church of Iloilo: Miag-ao

The Sto. Tomas de Villanueva is commonly called the Miag-ao Church. The church was completed in 1797 and is famous for the artistic sculptural relief carved on its façade.

3) Molo Church

St. Anne Parish Church, commonly known as Molo Church; photo by Belle Piccio

The St. Anne Parish Church is commonly known as Molo Church. The church was built in 1831 and was completed in 1888. It is made of white corral rock and is considered as one of the most attractive churches in the Philippines.

4) San Joaquin Church

The church is located in San Joaquin, Iloilo.

San Joaquin Church

The church of San Joaquin is a Roman Catholic parish that was built during the Spanish era in the late 1800’s. It is known for its intricate designs and classical architecture.

5) Dumangas Church

Dumangas Church; photo via NHCP

The St. Augustine Catholic Parish is locally known Dumangas Church was built with the convent in 1572. It did not escape different natural catastrophes but was immediately reconstructed in 1887 and was finished in 1896. The Dumangas Church is of Gothic Byzantine architecture flanked by Corinthian columns. It is said to be the first stone church of Panay.

6) Santa Barbara Church and Convent

The church and convent is located in Santa Barbara, Iloilo.

Façade of Sta. Barbara Church and Convent; photo via NHCP

The Santa Barbara Church and Convent was built in 1849 and was finished in 1878. It was used as headquarters by the “Ejercito Libertador” or liberation army headed by Gen. Martin Teofilo Delgado when the revolutionary government in Visayas was founded on November 17, 1898.

7) Ermita Chapel

The chapel is located in Dumangas, Iloilo.

Ermita Chapel; photo via NHCP

The chapel was built in the hilly part of Dumangas, Iloilo. A new chapel was built but you can still see the old structure and ruins of the original structure inside. The chapel was declared as a national historical landmark on June 11, 1978.

Other Historical Sites

8) Nazaria Lagos Monument

The monument is located in Dueñas, Iloilo.


READ: The Florence Nightingale of Panay Island

Nazaria Lagos was the pioneer leader of the Red Cross in the Visayas Region and performed numerous humanitarian activities. She helped build the hospital for the rebels, donating her own hacienda.

9) Old Iloilo City Hall (UP Visayas Main Building)

The Old Iloilo City Hall is located in Iloilo City, Iloilo.

Old Iloilo City Hall; photo via NHCP

The building was designed by Juan Arellaño and Francesco Riccardo Monti and built in 1933-1935. In 1942-1945, it was used by the Japanese during the war. One 9th of April 1947, the building was given to the University of the Philippines (UP) by Mayor Fernando Lopez who became the Philippines’ vice president. The Old Iloilo City Hall is an example of Neo-Classic architecture found in the country.

10) Balantang Memorial Cemetery Shrine


Balantang Memorial Cemetery; photo via NHCP

The national shrine marks the “Battle of Balantang.” On this site is where the bloodiest battle fought by the Panay guerilla forces led by Col. Macario Peralta. Jr. from February 5 – March 20, 1945. The monument is dedicated to the freedom fighters of Panay and Romblon who gave their lives for the cause of freedom and democracy. The shrine is located in Jaro, Iloilo.

There are many more historical sites to visit in Iloilo. Make Dinagyang Festival your jump-off point in exploring Iloilo City. Here's Your Dinagyang Festival Itinerary: An Easy Guide to Exploring Iloilo City.

Dinagyang Festival 2014; photo by Rob Pinzon

SCHEDULE 2016: Dinagyang: The Grandest Festival in the City of Love

What else to see in Iloilo? Explore the province with our Choose Philippines Iloilo Map.

VIEW MAP: ILOILO: Football & Batchoy Capital of the Philippines


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.

You can also opt for a bus trip (estimated cost of PhP875++ per head, air-conditioned bus and boat fare, 17 hours plus).

VIEW: See what else to bring home from iloilo with the Choose Philippines Pasalubong Guide:

Read More About Iloilo
1) Iloilo's Hablon: A Colorful Product in the Textile Capital of the Philippines

2) LOOK: Have You Crossed Miagao's Old & Beautiful Bridges?


3) The Cry of Sta. Barbara—A Shout of Freedom in The Cradle of the Philippine Revolution

4) CHOOSY KA BA: 10 Reasons to Choose Iloilo (More Than The City of Love)

5) Weird or Amazing: The Golden Vampires of Miagao

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