negrosiloilochurches02

Some Negros and Iloilo old churches


The church in Silay City, Negros Occidental. Built around the 1930s, the original structure, now a ruin, can be found just beside the present church.

The Cuyo Loop In October of 2006, I visited the remote islands of Cuyo and Culion in Palawan for a photography assignment and passed Negros and Iloilo in transit. This is my account of that journey.

This is the 4th of a series. No doubt about it, I’m a sucker for old churches. That’s why when I travel, the first place that I go to see is the church, especially if it is colonial era. Not to pray, but to admire these architectural wonders as well as to take photos or do some documentation. I always find time to make my own visita iglesia.

For religious heritage lovers, Iloilo and Negros are must go to places in the Visayas. The former is a showcase of the Augustinian legacy as Panay island was where this pioneering order made its mark while the latter was administered by the Augustinian Recollects. Of course, like in other parts of the country, several of these churches have undergone various restorations and renovations that it is now impossible to see still untouched structures.


The San Sebastian Cathedral of Bacolod City.

Dominating the downtown area of Bacolod City is the Cathedral of San Sebastian. I do like its architecture: lofty and solid but elegant as well. Its lines and curves pleases the eye.


The massive church of La Carlota, Negros Occidental.

Of the churches featured in this post, the one in La Carlota is massive and imposing that when I first saw it, I can’t help but see it as a little version of Cabatuan in Iloilo. Its facade is simple and without the rich embellishments of other churches.


The church of Hinigaran, Negros Occidental.

The church in Hinigaran is a welcome change to the usual two towered design of the other old churches in Negros. Not only that, the facade is triangular in form with the topmost part softened into a semicircle.


The church of Valladolid, Negros Occidental.

Just along the main highway, the church of Valladolid is another beautiful church. Unfortunately, when I passed this place, they were cleaning the facade and didn’t get a good picture of the front details. The kumbento located at the right side was already in ruins as it was gutted by fire.


The gothic church of Molo, Iloilo.

Known for its statues of all female saints, the church in Molo, Iloilo is an imposing structure with its clearly Gothic inspired architecture setting it apart from the rest of the churches in Eastern Visayas.


Detail of a window located at the right side of the nave of Miag-ao Church in Iloilo..

Perhaps, the most known church in Iloilo because of its stature as a World Heritage Site, the only one in the Visayas, Miag-ao Church is an architectural and religious heritage gem. The first church was located at the coast but due to the Moro slave raids, they built the present one, overlooking a hill. This fortress church features two towers of unequal height and really thick walls, with one serving as a watchtower. Its pediment is decorated with a relief showing the child-Christ on the shoulders of S. Christopher among local flora.


Detail of the relief found at the pediment of San Joaquin Church in Iloilo. It commemorates the victory of Spain in Tetuan.

The church in San Joaquin is the only church in the country that has a carved relief of a historical event: Rendicion de Tetuan or the Surrender of Tetuan, which commemorates the victory of Spain against the Moors in Morocco. Not as popular as Miag-ao, it is only a few kilometers more and worth the trip.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications.

He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces.

I’m open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

8 Comments

  1. donG hO
    June 10, 2008 @ 11:20

    this shows how much i missed visiting the other churches in this part of the country. ive been to Iloilo, Bacolod and Victorias. but honetsly i only visited the church in Victorias that has an angry Jesus and the church in Molo because we have some relatives there.

  2. lawstude
    June 10, 2008 @ 13:30

    i love churches too and the history behind it. ilo-ilo is among the top of my list to visit because of its century old churches. i want to see miag-ao and hopefully before the end of this year.

    great shots as always estan.

  3. The Islander
    June 12, 2008 @ 17:52

    im always fascinated with the photos… picture perfect!

  4. Traveler on Foot
    June 12, 2008 @ 21:36

    Beautiful!

  5. Allan Barredo
    June 15, 2008 @ 9:04

    the first image is definitely a keeper! thanks for sharing bro.

  6. estan
    August 27, 2008 @ 20:05

    dong, the churches in Negros is not so much known unlike in Bohol and Iloilo.

    oman, as always, iloilo has these wonderful structures but unfortunately, marami na ang na renovate and some, were destroyed by Filipino revolutionaries during the Filipino – Spanish War.

  7. End of the Cuyo Loop | langyaw
    October 3, 2008 @ 12:26

    […] after I made a detour but all my photos were unfortunately lost. Visited several colonial era churches and cemeteries in Negros Occidental and Iloilo and was awestruck at seeing the brick wonder of […]

  8. Irish Jean
    May 20, 2011 @ 19:04

    Im a native of Iloilo…. we live at Igbaras, Iloilo. the town before Miag-ao.. be there last may 6-8, 2011… just love the church where I use to attend mass every sunday….

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