If you are a Filipino and interested in its culture and history, you must visit 4 of its most important ancient churches. These are the Miag-ao Church, Paoay Chursh, Santa Maria Church, and Saint Agustin Church.
Visiting all 4 of the Baroque Churches in the Philippines, which were also part of UNESCO Heritage Sites List is one of the things that I am proud of. These four churches were built by the Spanish in the late 16th century and their unique architectural style is of European Baroque, mastered by Chinese and Philippine craftsmen. Three of them are located in Luzon and one is in Visayas.
Miag-ao Church in Miag-ao, Iloilo
The Miag-ao Church was built by the Spanish Augustinian missionaries in Miag-ao, Iloilo in 1786. There are two notable frontages of this church: its two watchtowers and a large coconut tree at the center. The watchtowers were built to defend the town and people against the Muslims who invaded Christianized villages during the early times, while the coconut tree represents St. Christopher carrying Child Jesus on his shoulder referred as “tree of life,” which was according to folklore.
It was said that Miag-ao Church has the most interesting interior design of all 4 Baroque Churches in the Philippines because of its gold-plated retablos. Unfortunately, we were one of those who wasn’t able to see it as it was closed when we visited it.
During 1898, when Filipinos revolt against Spain, the church was destroyed. It was rebuilt; however, it was damaged heavily by fire and earthquake in 1910 and 1948.