Lazada Philippines

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Via Crucis: The 14 Churches of Iloilo (Part Two)

Click this to read Part One.

One day ain't enough to see all the mystical gems of Iloilo - Churches - that's why on my second day on this journey, I started a little earlier to make sure that I'll get to visit all 14 churches on my list. As early as 6 in the morning, I'm already on my way to my eight church destination.

There's still one church in the southern Iloilo that I've miss, that's why I went back there to complete the southern churches on my list. 

Eighth Destination - Eighth Station - Sto. Nino de Arevalo Church

Sto. Nino de Arevalo houses what is said to be the third oldest Sto. Nino image here in the Philippines, and despite of its claim of having an old image of Sto. Nino, the structure of this church has this modern simple appeal. With high ceiling, which is very common to most Catholic churches in the country, and walls that are mostly made of steel grills, Sto. Nino de Arevalo appeals to those who prefer a simpler place to pray. 

When I visited the place, I must say that its cleanliness is what attracted me. The white statues of saints that are planted on the side of the church is also an additional attraction here in Sto. Nino de Arevalo, though, it wasn't that really appealing, I know.

After visiting Sto. Nino de Arevalo Church, the next one on my list, is one of the well-known landmarks here in Iloilo. And with a town that is also famous for a heart-warming soup, Molo Church stands grand with its Gothic-Renaissance architecture.

Ninth Destination - Ninth Station - Molo Church

The exterior of this church will left your mouth hanging open. The astonishing stones that encapsulates history of the town simply shows how this church was whole-heartily done. It took some time to finally convince myself to go in, and the moment I stepped in, more elegance embraced me. I really didn't know that a plain-naming church like Molo  would be this grand.

There's more Gothic pieces that you could find inside the Molo Church, starting with the altar which reminded me of San Sebastian Church in Manila. The wooden altar attracts such attention due to its natural wood color that seemed to be striking inside this white-painted church. 

One noticeable thing that I also noticed while walking inside this church is that most of the paintings, glass murals and images here are women saints. I didn't get the story behind this women domination here in Molo Church, but I can assure you that you'll feel at home here, may you be a woman or man.

After what seems to be forever of staying here in Molo Church, I finally get the hang of it and headed to my next destination, and this one is located at the center of Iloilo, the Mandurriao Church.

Tenth Destination - Tenth Station - Madurriao Church

It's a good thing that I visited this church because I got to see the small version of Jaro Cathedral, which is the first cathedral in Panay Island. With the same images of Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary at its front yard, this smaller version of Jaro Cathedral, which is located at the town of Mandurriao, also posses the same Baroque style.

And since, it is a replica of the main cathedral, this one has a minimalist design. There's really nothing much inside the church to ponder. But despite of that, its breathable front yard is refreshing to visit and the quiet surrounding is something that this church has to take credit for compared to Jaro Cathedral.

And because of that, I didn't waste any time and continue my church adventure. I took the next jeepney going to Jaro Cathedral.

Eleventh Destination - Eleventh Station - Jaro Cathedral

The first, and so far, the only cathedral in Panay Island, Jaro Cathedral houses male saints, an answer to Molo Church's female saints collection. The Baroque architecture of this church is now mixed with some Gothic touches as far as renovation is concerned. So if ever you dropped by here, you'll easily identify which is old and which is new.

This is my second visit here, and just like before, I can't help but to get excited to go up where the Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria image is located. From there, you'll get a nice view of the the century-old belfry, which is located at park across the cathedral.

I think, Jaro Cathedral is the center of the whole Iloilo Province, so expect busy roads leading to this church. One thing I can assure once you get here, despite of the crowded life outside, is that the sacred ground of this church is a dream come true for first-timers and repeaters, like me.

Twelfth Destination - Twelfth Station - St. Joseph The Worker Church

My 12th station brought me back home. Since, our community church has the exact same name, so I made sure that I'll get to visit St. Joseph the Worker Parish here in Iloilo in respect to our community church thatinspires me in many ways.

Anyway, if you'll ask me which Iloilo church that I've been to has the most modern architecture, I guess my answer would be this church. I personally like the American style of architecture that its possesses. The dramatic glass murals that I found inside the church, though they weren't that many, has also this modern art touch that matches well with the whole interior design. And lastly, the realistic images that hang and placed inside are also attention grabbing.

If there's one downside about this church, that would be its location, which is along the road. Since it isn't that majestic too, it is easy to miss too when you're a first-time visitor of the island.

My second to the last church for this amazing journey served as another dream-come-true destination for me. I've been longing to visit this church since last year, and thankfully, early this year, I finally had chance to visit it and finally saw what it has to offer.

Thirteenth Destination - Thirteenth Station - La Paz Church

It's striking red bricks gave me the feeling of Neoclassic architecture. The pillars right in the doorsteps of this church, though a little contrary, served as a support to the triangular pediment that carries the name of the church.

Inside this stunning church is a simpler appeal that has more Neoclassic features. It is has a resemblance to San Jose Placer at first sight, but when you get yourself really close to everything, you'll see how plain and simple this church is. The side of this church was turned into a school, so expect a little noise when you visit this church. But if ever you come by at lunch time, which is the case when I visited this church, it was all mine.

I'd suggest that after visiting this church, take a stroll at the park outside to feel the life of La Paz, Iloilo and if you get hungry, there are nearby La Paz Batchoy eateries that you can check out.

Fourteenth Destination - Fourteenth Station - San Jose Parish Placer

The last church that I visited on this journey is the first-ever church here in Iloilo - San Jose Placer Parish. Being the first-ever church here in Iloilo, San Jose Placer is said to be one of the few Augustinian churches that you could still find in the country.

The interior of this church is dominated by a series of Corinthian pillars that give impressive uniqueness to the whole place, while the altar carries some Gothic-inspired architectural design that is common to Philippine churches.

This is my second visit to this church, and just like the first time, this church is as grand as ever. Really worth visiting, if I may add.

Sadly, my journey has to end here. I know that there are still some few churches in this very beautiful province that deserve some visit. If God forbids, I'm hoping to visit them soon. But for now, I just wanna express my gratitude to the people who keep these architectural gems still standing and shining.

We barely have the chance to do this kind of journeys in our lives, that's why I'm really thankful to everything and to everyone who made this possible. I learned a lot of stuff from this travel - something that I'll keep in my mind and heart as long as I live - and from this journey, I also got a chance to strengthen my faith and love to our creator.

Really, thank you Lord, for all the blessings! :-)

Happy rammmpa!


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