Church of Igbaras in Iloilo - Philippines
A regular tourist or visitor to Iloilo will be familiar with the many fine churches in the province. But there is one site, called the ruins of the Church of Igbara, that has been drawing in a lot of people too.
The history of the Church of Igbaras began in the early 1870s when plans for the building were started. In 1878, the edifice was completed and at the time it was one of the largest churches in Iloilo and the Philippines. In the succeeding years, another church was built at the site, and became a popular site for devotees. However, by 1948, the main church was in ruins. Most believe that the edifice was destroyed by an earthquake.
Others however, contend that the ruins of the Church of Igbaras was razed down by a large fire, while there are some of the opinion that the flood that damaged the town also affected the church and contributed to its destruction. Be that as it may, there is still something to be seen in the area today.
Heading to the site of the ruins of the Church of Igbaras, you will see a place filled with trees, and an elegant walkway, orange and green in color. As you go near you will see a grotto which has been dedicated to the Virgin Mary. There is also the one remaining wall of the church, which has now been turned into a chapel. The ornate stones around the area were taken from the original structure.
The followers of the Virgin Mary and pious Catholics have been drawn to the ruins of the Church of Igbaras by the grotto, while history buffs by the ruins itself. For the tourist, it presents an opportunity to see the devotion of the people as well as learn a bit of the history of the land as well.
The ruins of the Church of Igbaras are in the municipality of Igbaras. It is not that far from Iloilo City, the capital of the province. If you are staying at the capital, you can head over to the jeepney terminal or just wait for one to pull over and get on one that is headed in that direction. Being very popular with tourists, you can easily get directions from the locals, although asking the driver to drop directly at the church is possible.
The ruins of the Church of Igbaras may or may never be rebuilt, but even at its present state, it commands a sense of awe that can be felt not only by the devotee, but by anyone who pauses by to linger on its hallowed grounds.