6 Historic Baroque Churches for History Lovers

The Spanish conquistadors left an indelible mark on Philippine history and culture. Baroque churches are some of the vestiges of the influence of the Spaniards. These relics of the past play an important role in the lives of Filipinos. They are not just places of worship but also became tourist destinations, cultural landmarks, UNESCO Heritage Sites, and samples of stunning architecture.

Check out these six baroque churches that history lovers will appreciate.

San Agustin Church 

One of the main attractions of a visit to the famed and walled city of Intramuros is the San Agustin Church. Construction was fnished in 1607 and is recognized as the oldest stone church in the Philippines. This Spanish colonial epoch church is a World Heritage Site which earned its designation in 1993. The first structure was made of nipa and bamboo in 1571. After fires burned the structure down a couple of times, the Augustinians decided to use stone. Construction started in 1586 and finished by 1607.

How to get there

The LRT Central Terminal Station is an ideal stop to reach San Agustin Church and Intramuros. From the exit, you can either higher a tricycle to take you for P50-P60 or walk. 

Miagao Church 

This UNESCO Heritage Site is a must-visit during your trip around Iloilo. It was founded in the 18th century when the friars wanted to fill the spiritual need of the locals. The church has survived fires, wars, and revolutions. Some of the materials used in building the church include limestone, adobe, coral, and egg. The massive and thick walls can withstand natural disasters and invasions (a need at the time of its construction). The elaborate bas-reliefs of the façade consist of religious images and daily life.

How to get there

From Iloilo terminal, board a jeep traveling to Miagao. It will pass near the church, so it’s easy to find and locals know the church. Fare is around P40.

Paoay Church

This baroque church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Cultural Treasure. The huge buttresses of the church attract the attention of visitors and are one of its most distinguishing features. The construction of the present structure began in 1694 and concluded in 1710. The buttresses are not just aesthetic additions but also help the church withstand earthquakes. Right next to the church is a three-story high coral bell tower.

How to get there

From Laoag, rent a tricycle to tour you for around P250 up to four passengers. The trip includes Paoay Church, Paoay sand dunes, Paoay Lake, and the Malacanang of the North.

Vigan Cathedral 

This church is part of Vigan’s historic town and is one of its most notable structures. The cathedral follows a distinct earthquake baroque aesthetic similar to the Paoay Church because of its huge buttresses. Its embellishments have a mix of neo-gothic and Chinese aesthetics. The current church dates back to 1790 while the first church was built in the 17th century.

How to get there

Partas has a bus departing from its terminal in Cubao to Vigan for around P665. 

Tuguegarao Cathedral 

This baroque church has a history that dates back to the 18th century. The Dominican friars had the church built using light materials in the early 17th century. The current structure you’ll see began construction in 1761. Next to the church is the five storey high bell tower. The broken and crested pediment is one of the structures noteworthy features.

How to get there

There are regular buses traveling from Metro Manila to Tuguegarao fare is around P700 one way. There are also flights to Tuguegarao from Manila. 

Tayabas Basilica

This baroque-inspired basilica in Quezon is one of the prettiest in the country. Some locals also call it “Susi ng Tayabas” because its exterior looks like a giant key. Its aisle measures 103m long, making it the longest nave among the Spanish epoch churches in the country. The church is also a National Cultural Treasure as declared by the National Museum of the Philippines. Its architecture is baroque but it has Chinese design influence as displayed by the lion statues you’ll see.

How to get there

From Lucban, there are jeeps traveling to Tayabas or Lucena that will pass near the basilica. Fare is approximately P20.

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