Not many people are aware that aside from Miagao Church (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), there is another gem of architecture in Iloilo. That’s right. The San Joaquin Church is one of 26 churches declared by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts as National Treasures. There are so, so many churches from Aparri to Jolo, and to be in the “magic 26” is indeed something to brag about.
What is it about San Joaquin’s simbahan that made it part of the select list?
It’s those amazing relief sculptures (originally in polychrome) at the façade, specifically on the pediment commemorating the victory of the Spanish Catholics versus the Moors at the Battle of Tetuan.
My mediocre photo above might convince you otherwise, so, better see it up close and personal.
Food for thought: How did such a far, far away event end up on the face of a fortress church in southern Iloilo, Philippines?
P.S. Other things to check out.
* inside the church are stone retablos (altars) that were originally painted in bright colors; you can still see traces of the paint
* flanking the main altar are two extraordinary giant columns; nothing like them
* the ruins of the huge convento adjacent to the church. There is a really huge, elliptical well that was the lifeblood of the Augustinian friar community who lived or visited there in colonial times.