Heritage Sites

Guimbal Church: Iloilo's Yellow Sandstone Landmark


Belle Piccio
Belle Piccio | May 27, 2014

The St. Nicolas of Tolentino Parish, or commonly known as Guimbal Church, is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. The church was completed under the leadership of Fr. Juan Campos sometime between 1769 and 1774.


The church was named after an Augustinian Friar, St. Nicolas, who was assigned to Tolentino because of his extraordinary passion in preaching and kindness. He preached in the streets to spread “peace” and worked with the poor.

The church has undergone reconstruction twice after it was badly damaged during World War II and the January 1948 earthquake.


The center aisle has an intricate marble mosaic design.


The belfry which also serves as a watchtower during the Spanish era against prowling Moro pirates is 4 stories high.

A grotto where you can pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary and an image of St. Nicolas can be found just outside the church.

What gives the Guimbal Church its yellowish hue event after a couple of restorations? The yellow colored limestone blocks and “igang” (coral stones) powder used as part of the cement mixture.

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 ride a Miagao or San Joaquin jeepney going to the Guimbal and asked to be dropped off at the plaza. You can also ride a “Guimbal” jeepney at the Terminal Market near Robinsons Place. Guimbal is 45 minutes away by private car.

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