History and Culture

Visita Iglesia: 7 Beautiful & Must-Visit Churches in the City of Love

, Iloilo,

Belle Piccio
Belle Piccio | Mar 23, 2016
Visita Iglesia: 7 Beautiful & Must-Visit Churches in the City of Love

Visita Iglesia is a Lenten tradition in the Philippines where Roman Catholics visit at least 7 churches and pray before the Blessed Sacrament. Some devotees even visits up to 14 churches where they pray one station for the 14 Stations of the Cross. To some that will only complete the minimum of 7, they pray 2 stations for each church visited.

There’s also a superstition belief that if you get to complete the Visita Iglesia, your wish will be granted.

Iloilo is home to many treasured historical churches. Here’s our suggested list of churches where you can complete your Visita Iglesia and at the same time get to know a bit of Ilonggo history.

1) National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles

Jaro Cathedral; photo by Belle Piccio

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles is also known as the Church of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Built in 1864, the church is simply called by the locals as Jaro Cathedral and is one of oldest churches in Iloilo.

2) St. Nicolas of Tolentino Parish

Guimbal Church; photo by Belle Piccio

St. Nicolas of Tolentino Parish is known as Guimbal Church. It is a centuries-old Spanish colonial-style church made of coral and adobe stones that where quarried from the nearby island of Guimaras.

3) St. Anne Parish Church

Molo Church; photo by Belle Piccio

The St. Anne Parish Church is locally known as the Molo Church. It is made of white corral rock and is considered as one of the most attractive churches in the Philippines.

4) St. Augustine Catholic Parish

Dumangas Church; photo via NHCP

St. Augustine Catholic Parish is locally known Dumangas Church. It was built with the convent in 1572. The church 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.

5) San Joaquin Church

via MagTV na Amiga

The church of San Joaquin is a Roman Catholic parish that was built during the Spanish era in the late 1800’s. It was built from the resources taken from the shorelines of the area and from the nearby town called Igbaras. San Joaquin Church was also proclaimed by the National Historical Institute in November 2001 as one of the Cultural Heritage Churches of the Philippines.

6) Santa Barbara Church and Convent

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

The Santa Barbara Church and Convent or simply called as Santa Barbara Chruch was built in 1849 and was finished in 1878. In 2015, the church was restored for the celebration of Philippine Independence Day which was supervised by the National Historic Commission of the Philippines.

7) Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Church

Miag-ao Church; photo by Belle Piccio

Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Church is commonly known as the Miag-ao Church. It is one of the country’s architectural gems because of its unique and impressive design. The church was declared in 1993 as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Baroque Churches of the Philippines.”

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:

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

3) CHOOSY KA BA: 10 Reasons to Choose Iloilo (More Than The City of Love)
4) Weird or Amazing: The Golden Vampires of Miagao

5) 4 Must-Do Activities in Miagao, Iloilo: A World Heritage City

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