March 24, 2011

MY PHILIPPINES: Southern Iloilo Heritage Trail, Guimbal & Tigbauan

You might as well call this the non-religious folks lakwatsa to Southern Iiloilo's Churches because for our last and final installment of the Heritage Trail posts, yes you guessed it right, another church. 2 actually.

After the jaw-dropping architecture of MIAGAO CHURCH, we headed to the municipality of Guimbal, considered to be one of the oldest municipalities in the province of Iloilo and as follows, it has one of the oldest churches in the country.

We have to disclose though that at this point, we were getting churched out so we did not stay more than 15 minutes per structure. In this short span of time, here’s our impression interlaced with a few historical tidbits gleaned from our research.

Guimbal Church

The Guimbal Church was constructed by force labor in 1774 during the Spanish Colonial Period, it is made of yellow sandstones and coral stones quarried from Guimaras. The design was patterned after Baroque architecture but has a strong oriental design while its columns are distinctly Corinthian.

 Guimbal belfry

 entrance to the ruins

The 4-storey high belfry also served as a watchtower against Moro raiders, back in the day, when the churches’ bell tolling usually means danger.

A couple of minutes from Guimbal Church and right on the way back to Iloilo City, we passed by another one of a kind place of worship, probably the only one in the country. St. John Sahagun Parish or more commonly known as Tigbauan Church, has a Churrigueresque design, a type of Baroque architecture that originated in Spain but flourished in Mexico. The beautiful interiors built with mosaics depicting the life of Christ sounds really pretty and interesting but woe to us, we didn’t get to see it. It's shameful but we own up to our guilt of not entering the church.

Tigbauan Church 

Our thoughts were already consumed with bowls of halo-halo (a popular Filipino dessert of shaved ice, evaporated milk, various boiled sweet beans and fruits and sometimes topped with ice cream and egg custard) due to the unrelenting heat of the mid afternoon sun by then so we just snapped a few touristy photos at the exteriors and boarded the air-conditioned comforts of the car we have left on the curb with the machine idling on.


Moral of the story is not to fit in too many places to see all in one day, especially if it’s about the same theme (e.g churches, architecture). The tendency is you get tired of (seemingly) seeing the same thing no matter how exquisite it is and end up not appreciating the place for its unique special worth.

written by kim & mj


  1. Hay, I really really wanna go to Iloilo! I know a lot of people who love it there. Will read your posts again when we visit.

  2. Iloilo is a gem! It is very charming with its old world collonial feel. We were so impressed we wanted to go back. When you find yourself in Iloilo, take the time to cross to Guimaras as well. Nakakaproud ang ating Pilipinas!

  3. sayang talaga, we ran out of time when we were in Iloilo... luckily, we were able to visit San Joaquin and Miag-ao churches... tsaka yung campo santo... =D

  4. We feel the same way, parang kulang yong time, andami pa sanang magandang puntahan. Oh well, another reason to go back.


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