Mar 15, 2016

A Quick Nostalgic Trip to Iloilo's Past

Visiting old churches are just one of the things you can do when visiting Iloilo. It is city where you can find many Spanish-colonial churches and home of Miag-ao Church, one of the four Baroque Churches in the Philippines inscribed by UNESCO World Heritage List. We just have a day to explore the heritage sites so it's important to start early of the day.

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The Baroque design of the church defied all the earthquakes and typhoons for 200 years. It was completed in 1797 and the arty sculpture of the facade have gained popularity among tourist and travelers who have visited the church. We were told that the two huge unequal church towers attach serve as watch towers against invasion of Moros. Miag-ao Church or commonly called the Church of Saint Thomas of Villanova by far is the most visited religious structure and tourist spot in the province and was listed as one of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1993.

Facade of Miag-ao Church

Facade of Miag-ao Church

Facade of Miag-ao Church

The artistic facade of the Miag-ao Church is decorated with a relief sculpture of St. Christopher carrying the Christ child amidst coconut, papaya and guava shrubs.

Miag-ao Church
Image of St. Henry of Bavaria

Miag-ao Church

Miag-ao Church

Miag-ao Church

Miagao Church has a stable foundation being anchored six meters deep into the ground, with walls one-and-a-half meters thick and walls three times thicker.

Inside Miag-ao Church

 The rustic interior of the church


Miag-ao is 45 minutes away from the city proper. Chartered taxi is quite expensive so we took a jeepney bound for Villa Mohon ( Oton) and alight at Mohon terminal along Osmena St.. Mohon terminal serves jeepneys bound for Southern Iloilo towns ( Miag-ao, San Joaquin, Guimbal and Tigbuan). One can also take a jeepney from Iloilo Terminal Market in downtown Iloilo near Robinsons Place. Fare is around Php 34.00.

After visiting Miag-ao, we were about to depart for Guimbal when we saw a poster in the barangay hall promoting clay pottery in the province. We asked some locals for directions and pointed us to board one of those trikes. We flag down a trike along the road but unfortunately he was trying to ripped us of. He saw our cameras dangling from our necks and that means we're tourist. It took us 30 minutes just to get the right info. Finally, we boarded another trike but this time in a trike terminal near the flea market. It cost around Php 24.00 per person, a huge difference from the first trike driver who charged us Php 200 per person / way.

Crossing the hanging bridge in search for the oldest pottery maker in Iloilo

Twenty minutes later we arrived at Brgy. Cabgang. It was a tough ride, some parts of the road are not paved and dusty. To get to the pottery village, you have to cross a hanging bridge first. Don't worry it's well maintain and not tattered.


We asked this three gorgeous ladies by showing them a photo we took from the poster of "Nanay the Pottery Maker" for directions and they told us that she haven't arrived yet but she will be here in a few minutes. We introduce ourselves and had a brief chat with them. It was so much fun chatting with the three grannies. Ten minutes later, Nanay arrived with her husband. We again introduce ourselves to Nanay and say goodbye's to the three gorgeous ladies of Brgy. Cabgang.

Old Grannies


Once we arrived at her home, she immediately showed us on how it is made. She dug her hands into a lump of clay, she then put it in the manual wheel and rotate it in counter clockwise action as she mold it. It was visually easy but it needs a lot of practice and skill just to get the right shape. She done it in less than 15min. Amazing!

Queen of Pottery

Queen of Pottery

our blog name embedded in one of her pots

She let me inscribed my blog name on one of her pots.

Queen of Pottery with her husband

After showing her Pottery skills and workplace, it was time to bid them farewell. Thanks to "Nanay's" unforgettable warm and kindness. We decided to skipped Guimbal and Tigbuan Churches because we have to be in Calle Real before sundown.

A Feminist Church

Molo church or also know as St. Anne Church was constructed in 1831 under Fray Pablo Montaño and further expanded and finished by Fray Agapito Buenaflor in 1888 under the supervision of Don Jose Manuel Locsin. Its two belfries had around 30 bells of different sizes ranging from small handbells to big campaniles making a musical tone. The Gothic character of the church is manifested not only in its two pointed towers but also on the pointed arches at the main altar and four side altars, pulpits and confessionals. It is known throughout the Philippines as the “Feminist Church” because most if not all the statues in the church represent female saints.

Feminist Church

Facade of Molo Church


Take a jeepney bound for Molo or with Molo sign from the city proper. Journey time is less than 20 min.

A Heritage Street

Calle Real or Royal street in Spanish is a historic street located in downtown Iloilo and one of the must- visit places in Iloilo. It dates back to Spanish Era when it was the main street commerce for Iloilo. Not just that, During the early period of American occupation of the Philippines, Calle Real was known as a hub of high-end shopping outlets selling products from Europe.

The street was officially renamed in honor of Jose Maria Basa, a Filipino businessman-propagandist who is also a compatriot of José Rizal. The street remained to be popularly known as "Calle Real". Though the modernization has taken most of the buildings, it was recently declared by NHCP ( National Historical Commission of the Philippines) a heritage zone.

Historic Calle Real in Iloilo

Cultural performances are then staged to promote Ilonggo heritage and to attract domestic and foreign tourists.


After visting the impressive Calle Real, we made our way to Roberto's which is just located along the busy street of JM Basa. Iloilo is always known for its delectable food like Lapaz Batchoy, Pancit Molo, and Biscocho. However, did you know that there’s another must try food shop in Iloilo? That’s Roberto’s Siopao. The dough is soft even if not heated. Ingredients inside taste extremely delicious without sauce and they are right about it.The best Siopao that we had ever tasted. We ordered their best seller which is the " King Siopao" . It is stuffed with with chinese sausage, chicken , pork adobo, with no egg ( Hubby is allergic to egg ).


One of the best Siopao in Iloilo


Another delectable food and specialty here in Roberto's is their Pancit Lomi. The toppings of meatballs, cabbage and pork strips, along with the broth compliments with the saltiness.


Another tasty food from Roberto's is their Double Cheese Burger. A layer of burger patty, cheese, mayo and catsup all in one bun.

Roberto's Restaurant is located along JM Basta Street near the Iloilo City Freedom Grandstand. You may contact them through telephone numbers (033) 3350484 or 3371595.

It was pleasant side trip to the pottery, and although we missed visiting Guimbal and Tigbuan but still great.We have been longing to visit Miag-ao Church and finally made it.

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