The Miagao Church: Symbolizing the Peoples Faith
There are numerous historical churches in Iloilo, but one of the most famous, and the one recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the Miagao Church. What this simply means is that among the tourist attractions in the province, this one can be labeled a must visit.
The history of the Miagao Church began in 1797 when it was built, and was done so out of the conviction that the Christian population living in the town needed a place where they could show their love and devotion to the Creator. Not only did the site become a place of worship, but its very concept became a sort of template with which other Christian houses of worship were designed. Indeed, it has come to symbolize, in many ways, the look of a typical Philippine church in the minds of most people.
Looking at the façade of the Miagao Church you will see delicate images of St. Christopher holding the Baby Jesus surrounded by various greens like papaya and coconuts. There are also other ornamental displays in and around the church, and what one will realize is that it cannot be pigeonholed into a single style. This is because the church represents an amalgamation of eclectic styles ranging from the medieval to elements of Muslim art.
In the midst of this church is a sculpted piece of stone representing St. Thomas of Villanueva, the saint of the parish. Going into the building you will see figures of the St. Henry alongside the Pope. The interior of the edifice is marked by the retablo. These, along with the two belfries that are alongside the façade, form the highlights for one of the most impressive churches in the Philippines. The impression that is formed when one is standing before it, or even outside, is that of a quiet and silently impressive building.
The Miagao Church is at the town of Miagao in Iloilo and is accessible from any jeepney that is bound for that town or San Joaquin. Being a historical landmark, you only need to mention that you want to go to the Miagao Church or the Santo Tomas de Villanueva Parish Church as it is better known among the local populace. If you are still not sure, you can ask any of the people
there for directions as it a well known tourist spot.
The Miagao Church is primarily a place of devotion and worship, but it can also be considered as a site that allows one living in the present to relive the past.