Hop on this journey to the south countryside of Iloilo and witness the province’s iconic architecture and history with this private land tour. Taking you from century-old churches to various heritage sites, this full-day adventure is perfect for history buffs visiting the region.
After picking you up within Iloilo City, you will be taken to San Joaquin Church in the town of San Joaquin, a Roman Catholic Church built in 1869. It distinguishes itself from other churches with its facade depicting the Spanish victory over the Moroccan forces during the Battle of Tetuan. The church is made of limestones quarried from the mountains of Iqbaras and white coral stones acquired from the town’s shores.
Next, you will be taken to one of the oldest churches in the country, the Guimbal Church, built in 1774 by Father Campos. This church is made of yellow sandstones, adobe stones called igang, and coral stones quarried from Guimaras. Its belfry is four stories high and is used as a watchtower against the Moro pirates during the Spanish occupation.
After exploring the Guimbal Church, you will visit a Latin American-style church next, the Tigbauan Church. This church was constructed in 1575 but was destroyed during an earthquake in 1948. Its facade is in Mexican plateresque, and at the center is an Augustinan order seal surrounded by a retablo-like floral frieze. Above is a niche flanked by pilasters embellished with flowers and a depiction of Saint John and an image of Santo Nino.
Offer a small prayer here before moving on to the Garin Farm of San Joaquin. The farm is an inland resort that combines architecture, leisure, and religion to form a recreational place and a pilgrimage site in one location. The place is also a functional farm that showcases agricultural practices and houses various livestock and crops.
Less than two kilometers from the farm is the San Joaquin Cemetery or the Campo Santo, a cemetery popular for its baroque architecture made of white coral and fossil stones. The cemetery is enclosed by stone walls and wrought iron grills. It is one of the best-preserved cemeteries in the entire province and sits on a hill overlooking the sea. Standing at the center of the vicinity is the baroque-style mortuary chapel which is the centerpiece of the cemetery.
From there, you will have a short stopover for lunch at the restaurant of your choice, either Camina Balay na Bato, Breakthrough, or Tatoy’s. After the meal, you will make your way to Taytay Boni, a stone bridge built in 1854 originally meant to be used by horse-drawn carriages. It was constructed using large yellow coral stone slabs called tablea from the mountain of Iqbaras and held together using lime. It was still passable before and after World War II. The route of the old Spanish road can be seen into the distance at the end of the bridge.
You will then head to Camina Balay na Bato, a 150-year-old stone house in Molo turned into a restaurant to serve Iloilo’s best heirloom dishes. It is the perfect place for food, history, and stories of Iloilo told by the 4th generation of the Camina family. Don’t forget to try and get a taste of the rich and thick Pancit Molo with the meaty Molo dumpling.
You can then buy your pasalubong (souvenir) treats at Mama’s Kitchen and Sinamay House. It is a well-preserved ancestral house that acts like a museum featuring sinamay (abaca fibre) while selling various delicacies. The tour will end at the majestic Miag-ao Church or the Church of Saint Thomas of Villanova. Completed in 1797, the church is famous for its artistic sculptural relief carved on its façade. It is the living legacy of the culture and way of life of the people in Miag-ao, which is anchored in the strong foundation of their Christian faith.
Appreciate Iloilo’s heritage sites with this private day trip from Iloilo City. Check availability by choosing a date.
- All our guides speak English.
- Not all establishments accept credit or debit cards, and ATMs can be limited.
- 455 steps to the cross in Garin Farm.
- Lunch Option: (Camiña Balay Nga Bato, Breakthrough, Tatoy's)