November 26, 2014

Iloilo: Guimbal Church

One of the oldest churches in the Philippines.

            Guimbal Church or the San Nicholas of Tolentino Church is one of the oldest churches in the country. There was no specific year when the Church was built but it was estimated in the late 1730s to 1740s under the guidance of Friar Juan Aquado. The construction took around 3 decades and it was completed between the year 1769 and 1774 by Friar Juan Campos.

In 1849, it was then enlarged by Friar Jose Oranguren but by the Second World War, the Church was destroyed. It was rebuilt but by 1948, an 8.2 magnitude earthquake hit the Panay Island and the Guimbal Church was damaged.

There are a lot of similarities between Miag-ao Church and the Guimbal Church: First, Guimbal Church is also a fortress against Moro pirates. The 4-storey belfry acts as the watchtower and the walls are 2 meters thick to withstand attacks. Second, the walls also have a rich cream / yellowish look because of the materials used: the yellow limestone blocks called “igang” and the powdered corals from Guimaras. Third, the construction was carried out under forced labor.

            The church has a combination of Baroque and Moorish features: the massive design with numerous pilasters with Corinthian capitals make up the Baroque features while the ornamental rosette carvings and the finials are of Moorish features.

            The church was closed when we visited so we didn’t get the chance to see the interior.

Another attraction in Guimbal is the public plaza in front of the church. It is dubbed as the “Little Luneta” of Southern Iloilo because of its expansive area in the locality.

How to get there:
Public Transportation
You can ride any jeep with a “Miagao” or “Guimbal” sign in front. Or you can opt for the jeepney terminals for southbound trips: Iloilo Terminal Market and Mohon Terminal.
Iloilo Terminal Market
This is located in downtown Iloilo City near Robinsons Place.
Mohon Terminal
This terminal is located at the boundary of Arevalo, Iloilo City and Oton town.

Van Rental
For a more comfortable option, you can opt for the van rentals. Van rentals for 8 hours in Iloilo cost around 2000php + gas consumption.

Iloilo Series:

Molo Church: The Feminist Church

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