San Joaquin’s Colonial Treasures

San Joaquin Church
San Joaquin Church

San Joaquin Church - Facade Detail
Detail of facade bas relief depicting the Battle of Tétouan

San Joaquin Cemetery (1892)
San Joaquin Cemetery

San Joaquin Cemetery - Detail
Detail of cemetery archway

The southwestern towns of Iloilo boasts of exquisite colonial architecture. While Miag-ao Church gets all the limelight as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the religious edifices of neighboring San Joaquin deserves equal admiration, and are one of best examples of Spanish colonial architecture in the Philippines.


Built in 1869, San Joaquin Church is the only military-themed church in the Philippines. Its facade portrays an impressive bas relief of the Battle of Tétouan in 1860, when the Spanish army defeated Moroccan forces. Another imposing structure is the San Joaquin Cemetery built 1892. A fusion of European Baroque and Oriental architecture, this cemetery is the grandest and best preserved in Iloilo.

HOW TO GET HERE: From the transport terminal in Molo district, Iloilo City, take a bus or van (45 minutes) bound for San Jose, Antique. There are also Iloilo-San Joaquin jeepneys. Along the way, you can stop by the Spanish churches at the towns of Tigbauan, Guimbal & Miag-ao.

6 comments

  1. Markyramone says:

    I went there too, Friday morning after arriving in Iloilo. I heard it was your birthday…Happy birthday

  2. Thank you! Missed you guys, as Lilliane didn’t push through with the trip

  3. my fave among the colonial churches in the PH! it has a distinct beauty of its own 🙂
    belated happy bday

  4. Thank you, James! Southern Iloilo’s churches have the best facades in the country, but the interiors leave me wanting as they have been modernized. For churches with interiors as beautiful as their facades, visit southern Cebu: Carcar, Argao & Bol-joon (nominated as UNESCO WHS), for example 🙂

  5. Ian says:

    Quite malayo pero someday sana mabisita kasi lagi laming nag-Iloilo dahil dun ang province namin.

  6. You should visit San Joaquin, Ian! Beautiful town.

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