diy travel philippines Visayas

Road Trip to Southern Iloilo

During our recent trip back home, Lyndon and I decided to go on a road trip along the coastal towns of Southern Iloilo. The Southern part of Iloilo have plenty to showcase and is home to some of the Philippine’s cultural gems. We brave the sun and the long ride in a motorcycle and started our adventure in the humble town of Tigbauan.

Tigbauan Church

Tigbauan Church or St. John of Sahagun Parish Church, Tigbauan, Iloilo
Tigbauan Church facing the town plaza.

Tigbauan Church or the St. John of Sahagun Parish church is located in my hometown, Tigbauan. Reported to be the only Latin-American inspired church in the Philippines, Tigbauan Church is indeed amazingly unique. It was constructed in 1575 but destroyed by an earthquake in 1948, leaving only the façade, the bell tower and a few columns of the convent.

The church’s interiors was gradually rebuilt through the efforts of Tigbaueños. Take a peek inside and you will see mosaics throughtout the church’s interior made by local artists.

Make sure to drop by whenever you travel to Southern Iloilo!

Tigbauan Plaza

Tigbauan plaza newly-constructed fountain.
Local government continues to improve the municipality’s plaza.

Right across the Tigbauan Church is the town’s plaza. We noticed improvements since the last time we went to this place. A large fountain with the municipality logo  was constructed at the center of the plaza. It was noon when we went there and the fountain is not in operation but it was indeed a spectacular place to hang out during the afternoon.

Superhero Statues – Guimbal Highway

As we head towards the town of Guimbal, we happen to notice statues of superheroes lined up along the highway. To be specific the statues are in front of Exact Training Center in Guimbal.

We stopped by and had some fun photoshoot with our favorite superheroes. It is along the highway so please be very careful of the passing vehicles.

Guimbal Church

Guimbal Church, Guimbal, Iloilo
Guimbal Church was established in 1774.

One of the oldest churches in the Philippines, Guimbal church or the St. Nicolas of Tolentino Parish is impossible to miss due to its yellow sandstone facade. Imagine the coral stones and adobe stones that the church is made of were quarried from the island of Guimaras.

The church was also destroyed during World War II and 1948 earthquake so the church have to undergo reconstruction twice. The church’s belfry which is four storeys high also acts as a watchtower against invading Moros during Spanish period.

Make sure to include Guimbal Church in your bucketlist whenever you visit Iloilo!

Miag-ao Church

Miag-ao Church, Miag-ao, Iloilo
Miag-ao Church was designated as one of the best examples of the Baroque Churches of the Philippines in 1993.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a sight to behold. The Miag-ao Church or the  Santo Tomas de Villanueva Parish Church is one of the Philippine’s architectural gems because of its unique and majestic structure. 

When we arrived in Miag-ao, several tourists on group tour were busy taking photos of Miag-ao Church. It is indeed one of the must-visit places in the province of Iloilo.

Sulu Garden, Miag-ao

This Japanese-Philippines inspired restaurant is a dainty and cozy place to enjoy your lunch or dinner. It is our first time in Sulu Garden and we actually enjoyed the experience. Menu comprises of Filipino and Japanese cuisine. 

While waiting for our food to be served, we took our time taking photos in their garden featuring fish ponds, river view, miniature architectures such as pagoda, hobbit holes and bell towers. See their website: https://sulugarden.com/.

Campo Santo de San Joaquin

San Joaquin Cemetery is located along the Iloilo-Antique National Road in San Joaquin, Iloilo. If you are not attentive enough and you are driving fast, you might miss it.

Considered one of the tourist attractions in San Joaquin because of its Baroque-style Camposanto or mortuary chapel and is one of the most preserved ancient Roman Catholic cemeteries in Iloilo.  

We made sure to be extra quiet when we were taking photos so we won’t disturb the dead.

San Joaquin Church

 San Joaquin Church, San Joaquin, Iloilo
Located beside the town’s plaza, San Joaquin Church magnificently stands overlooking the sea.

Another cultural gem of the Philippines is the San Joaquin Church built in 1869, made of limestones quarried from the mountains of Igbaras and white coral stones from the shores of San Joaquin.

The church is unique, with its intricately designed facade where sculptural relief representing the victory of Spanish over Moroccan forces is shown. Hence, the church distinguishes itself from other churches in the Philippines because of its militaristic theme.

After looking around the town plaza of San Joaquin, we decided to head back home and call it a day. If we drive further we could have arrived in the province of Antique.

It is indeed fun driving around Southern Iloilo. There is much to see and do aside from the ones we mentioned. But due to our limited time we can only explore spots along the highway.

Have you explored Southern Iloilo? Share your experience with us.

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