St. Nicolas of Tolentino or Cabatuan Church is about 23 kilometers from Iloilo City. It is said to be built in 1834, Neoclassical in style but the front façade is Tuscan particularly its pilasters. It is also ornated with Augustinian symbols.
It is the only church in Iloilo that has 6 belfries four of which were destroyed by an earthquake in 1948. The belfries are Byzantine in style. The central structure of the church is in the shape of the cross which is about 50 meters long and about 20 meters wide.
Photo shoot concept by my brother in law at Cabatuan Church
Before World War II. there was a rectory of convent at the right side of the church that can accommodate 3,000 people but it was burned down by the guerrillas. It was then demolished by the Japanese Imperial Army and the bricks were used for the Tiring Landing Field.
The old structure of Cabatuan Church
Every side of the church is a façade in itself because its walls are overlaid in bricks. It is said to be the first and the largest brick structure in the Visayas.
While I was feeding my eyes with the beauty of this church which is located near the town plaza, my companions were enjoying the “sa malamig” (cold drinks) and other street foods at the town plaza. They don’t normally do that but they said that it should be part of the trip ha ha. After this trip is when we explored the Cabatuan Cemetery.
STA. BARBARA CHURCH
Off we go to the next church which is about 20 kilometers away from the city - the Sta. Barbara Church!
This is one church that I am frustrated for not being able to explore fully and witness the marks of one important part of Philippine history. This is the church where General Martin T. Delgado of the Visayan Revolutionary Government convened the junta that raised the first cry of revolution against the Spaniards in Iloilo. Thus the Sta. Barbara Church is famously known as the Historic Cradle of Independence in the Visayas.
According to history most religious construction on this era were done through “forced labor”. That is all males over the age of 16 is required to do mandatory labor on any Spanish-owned construction on a slave-like condition.
There are other more historical stories about this church but lets reserved them at the moment until I totally explore this church. Anyway I am adding this church to my list of further exploration. I am so eager to see the historical “freedom bell” that tolled the signal of final victory. For now let’s enjoy the front façade of this historical church.
The façade of the church is simple but classical. There are four sets of pilasters that divide the church into three sections which are the main entrance, and the two walls that houses the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Sacred Heart. This reminds me of the façade of The Church of St. Anthony de Padua in Barotac Nuevo also in Iloilo City. On the upper most niche at the center also is the statute of Sta. Barbara.
Photo shoot concept by my brother in law at Sta. Barbara Church
The Sta. Barbara Church is one among the Augustinian Church in the Philippines proven by the Augustinian seal located just above the central front door and window.
The Sta. Barbara Church is considered one of the better restored and preserved neoclassical churches in the province. It is also an excellent example of the Filipino baroque colonial architecture.
Since we can not further explore this church off we go to the next church exploration
That was the first thought that came into my mind (and eyes) when I first saw this structure. I consider this church as the simplest by far in design compared to all the churches that I have been into in Iloilo City. It is as simple as its town which is one among the second class municipality in the province of Iloilo.
The Sta. Monica Church is said to be similar in Pavia Italy where this town got its name as well. According to history this Byzantine-styles church made from red bricks and coral windows cases were used by the Japanese as a garrison.
It is a century-old church built by the Spanish Augustinian Fathers sometime in 1862. The walls both exteriors and interiors are made entirely of red bricks. Its façade is decorated with semi-circular arched windows and entrances with three wooden doors, one at the main entrance and two at each sides.
The six panel windows at the center are decorated with stained glasses depicting the events in Christ’s life on earth – The Annunciation; The Baptism; The Last Supper; The Crucifixion; The Assumption and the Ascension.
Photo shoot concept by my brother in law at Pavia Church
By the way, Pavia town is just 8 kilometers away from the city. Ahh we are near home and my tired but happy eyes and spirit are now ready to hit the bed while mentally calculating how I’m going to pack my things that I accumulated during the two-week stay on my over-the-weekend-bag. LOL.
But if you think were done with this trip – nope. We passed by the Jaro Plaza and enjoy the “tiange”, “bargains” and all the things that one enjoy at the town plaza during the fiesta which was just few days away from that date. My in-laws were once again encouraging me to extend my stay until fiesta day but I sweetly declined (though I was very tempted ha ha). I gained a lot of weight during this trip but no regrets!