WHEN THE MISSION STATION of the Augustinians in Miag-ao, became a parish in 1731, they built a simple church and convent/rectory. After raids from the sea burned the town and the church in 1741 and 1751, the priests transferred the town’s church to the edge of a hill overlooking the sea and the Miag-ao River.
The new church was built for a variety of uses. Primarily erected as a place of worship, it was also a fortress where the parishioners could evacuate for protection from invasion.
Built of local yellow-orange sandstones, the large fortress church was completed in 1797. Although the Church withstood typhoons and earthquakes, it burned twice; once during the revolution against Spain in 1898 and again during the Filipino-American War of 1899-1902.
This is the Santo Tomas De Villanueva Church, also known as the Miag-ao Fortress Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
How to get there
From Manila, go to Iloilo City
- By air: Philippine Airlines, Air Philippines, and Cebu Pacific offer regular daily flights to Iloilo City.
- By sea: Negros Navigation, Sulpicio Lines, and WG&A offer regular ferry trips to Iloilo City.
- By LAND: The province is now connected via an inter-island highway from Manila. The trip by land takes around nineteen hours.
From Iloilo City, go to Miag-Ao
- From Iloilo City, one can take the jeepney to Miag-ao town for about one and a half hours.