Miagao Church was built in 1786 and is also known as the Sto. Parish Church Tomas de Villanueva, one of Iloilo's most visited tourist attractions. It also acted as a fortress, before it was aplace of worship. So it's called the church of the Baroque church.
It was built with the baroque features with touches of imposing patterns, ornaments and motifs of Chinese and Filipino style, making it a one-of-a-kind church. That is why architecture of the Miagao Church is among the most beautiful architectural gems of the Philippines. Its ancient structure, history and UNESCO World Heritage mark make it a gem not only for Iloilo but also for the Philippines.
Over the years, it has gone into and survived many wars and revolutions, fires and earthquakes. Even Miagao Church stands as a living legacy of the Miagao people's culture and way of life centuries ago.
UNESCO has selected Miagao Church as one of the World Heritage Sites as it exhibits numerous architectural styles predominating in baroque architecture and local artistic elements.
The base of the church extends 20 feet deep into the ground, and four meter thick buttresses support it's one-and-a-half-metre-thick walls. Since the town of Miagao was continuously overrun by the "Moros" in the mid-18th century for almost a decade, the church had to be moved to a more secure place, so a new fortified church was constructed at the highest point of the town to protect against possible invaders. But it's unique ochre color that makes this church even more distinctive.
The church was constructed using a mixture of Spanish Baroque and Romanesque Early Medieval architectural styles, with the inclusion of Chinese, Muslim, and local Filipino elements in its facade decoration. St. Christopher, for example, wears a traditional Filipino dress, and is surrounded by decorations such as papaya and palm trees that are very common in the country. The distinctive yellow-ochre color of the Miagao Church comes from the introduction of coral, ground into dust, and egg whites into the adobe mix. Spaniards typically use egg whites to make morter for their churches, to make the mixture more robust.