Miag-ao Church

Miag-ao Church

Miag-ao Church, officially called Santo Tomas de Villanueva Parish Church, is a Roman Catholic Church constructed between 1787 and 1797. It is built in the Baroque-Romanesque style, which features deep foundations and massive stone walls further reinforced by thick buttresses. These elements provided not only protection from Moro invaders but also the ability to withstand natural disasters such as typhoons and earthquakes, which are quite common in the Philippines.

The most prominent feature of the church is the intricately-carved facade, adorned with a relief of a giant coconut tree reaching towards the heavens. This isn’t just a decorative detail; the coconut tree is a symbol deeply rooted in Filipino culture and livelihood. Further enhancing the facade’s charm are depictions of scenes from daily life in Miagao during the Spanish era. Look closely and you’ll see people in traditional Filipino clothing, local flora and fauna, and even a depiction of St. Christopher carrying the Child Jesus, but uniquely garbed in Filipino attire. This beautiful fusion of Spanish influences and indigenous elements reflects the cultural exchange that took place during the colonial period.

It is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993 under the collective title “Baroque Churches of the Philippines,” along with San Agustin Church in Manila, Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion Church in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur; and San Agustin Church in Paoay, Ilocos Norte.

Today, Miag-ao Church remains an active parish church and a popular tourist destination. It stands as a testament to the creativity and resilience of the Filipino people.

Miag-ao Church


Zulueta Avenue, Miag-ao, Iloilo 5023


(033) 315 8001

Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish


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5:00 PM
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Location Map

How To Get There

By Jeepney
From anywhere in Iloilo, proceed to Mohon Terminal in Villa Arevalo District.

At the terminal, ask around or look for jeepneys with signage indicating “Miag-ao”. The jeepney will take you to the town of Miag-ao, and you can ask the driver to drop you off at the jeepney stop near Miag-ao Church.

Alternatively, you can also take San Joaquin bound jeepneys. Just make sure to inform the driver that you are getting off in Miag-ao, otherwise you’d find yourself in San Joaquin, a town between Miag-ao and Anini-y, Antique.

Jeepneys run every 10 to 20 minutes but can depart earlier if it is already full. Travel time from Mohon Terminal to Miag-ao Church is about 40 minutes but may take longer depending on road traffic conditions. Fare for the modern jeep is about P60.

By Bus
From anywhere in Iloilo, proceed to Ceres Terminal Antique Bound – also located in Villa Arevalo District (Note that the original bus terminal in San Pedro, Molo is already closed).

Board the bus with signage indicating “Antique”. Antique bound buses will pass by the towns of Oton, Tigbauan, Guimbal, Miag-ao, and San Joaquin. Inform the conductor/passenger assistant to drop you off in the unloading area nearest Miag-ao Church.

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