Sto. Niño de Arevalo Parish Church

The town of Arevalo was founded in 1581 by the son of an illustrious family in Spain who was appointed Governor-General of the Islands, Don Gonzallo Ronquillo de Peñalosa.

He arrived in Manila on June 1, 1580 and one of the things that greatly impressed him was the wealth of the Panay settlement established by Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legaspi in 1567 right after Cebu. This place was known as Sta. Cruz and it now forms part of the town of Arevalo.

When Don Gonzallo created the town in 1581, he named it “La Villa Rica de Arevalo” or the rich town of Arevalo after his hometown in Spain.

Community work

The Sto. Niño de Arevalo Parish Church is a fairly recent construction. A historical account in the parish book said the community had come together to have its damaged belfry repaired on October 23, 1976, finishing it two months later, and then starting on the main building the following year.

Work on the structure took years and under several parish priests. When Fr. Nemesio C. Espinosa and his assistant Fr. Jerry R. Locsin assumed stewardship of the parish on Nov. 3, 1982, they focused in earnest on the church building.

Fr. Espinosa solicited financial aid from the German Mission and when he took a leave of absence, Fr. Locsin carried on the reconstruction until its completion and blessing on October 30, 1986.

Unique location

The church is considered uniquely situated in the middle of the district plaza, unlike the others that are only built beside or near their town squares.

Another distinct feature of the church is its altar, which is supported by Solomonic or helical columns inspired by the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

The altar centerpiece is a large wooden cross with the image of the crucified Christ. Enshrined in the parish is the third oldest Sto. Niño image in the country, after the Sto. Niños of Cebu (1565) and Tondo (1572).

Parish priests

Town records were only able to identify its curates (parish priests) from 1581, but it is believed that the community before this time was under the Augustinians and seculars that Legaspi was known to never travel without.

Msgr. Amadeo Escañan showed a written list of town curas which noted that it was very likely the town was under the care of the religious group that accompanied Legaspi from 1567 to 1580.

It is even believed, he said, that Legaspi brought with him the Sto. Niño image enshrined in the parish, which is officially accepted as the third oldest in the country.

An account of this Iloilo City district’s story written by Atty. Rodolfo G. Alcantara says it is very likely that Arevalo’s possession of the image may have occurred earlier than 1581 for Legaspi had used the Sto. Niño image to spread devotion to the faith in Cebu and could have done the same in Panay.

Sto. Niño devotion

The accepted account, however, is that it was Peñalosa who brought the image with him from Spain when he founded Arevalo in 1581.

Alcantara said in his book “A Brief History of Arevalo and the 1581 image of the Sto. Niño” that devotion to the Child Jesus in Panay began in Arevalo.

Arevalo, which became the capital of the settlement in Panay in 1582, was one of the few places in the Philippines to be named in Spanish. It was incorporated as a district of Iloilo City on July 16, 1937.


San Joaquin Parish Church

A Spanish colonial era structure with a distinctive feature on its facade, the San Joaquin Parish Church was constructed from 1855-1869 through the efforts of Fray Tomas Santaren.

The church distinguishes itself from similar buildings of the period in the bas relief of “Rendicion de Tetuan” that occupies the whole pediment.

Shallow carvings on the upper triangular part of the facade depict the triumph of the Spanish army over the Moors in the Battle of Tetouan of 1860 in Morocco. It is probably the only church in Panay and even the whole Philippines with a military theme.

St. Joachim who is venerated together with St. Anne as the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the titular patron of the San Joaquin Parish. Considered the secondary patron and revered just as deeply by town parishioners is the Sto. Niño del Joaquin.

Neo-classical design

Information from the San Joaquin Parish said the design of the church, with its walls made from coral stone blocks quarried from nearby barrios, is neo-classical.

It added that the location of the structure and the adjoining areas for the Casa Real, town square, and burial grounds was donated by Tan Esta (Atanacio Santiagudo) who was then the Gobernadorcillo of Pueblo de San Joaquin. He was also the chief collaborator of Fr. Santaren, the parish priest who served for over 30 years, in the church construction.

According to church records, San Joaquin existed as the Parish of Suaragan from 1692 to 1703. When the central area was moved to Punta Talisay, the territory was merged with the Parish of Guimbal and then added to the Parish of Miagao 28 years later.

It was finally established as San Joaquin Parish in 1801.

Historical site, cultural treasure

Filipino guerillas reportedly burned the church, damaging its interior, as well as the convent and all buildings in the town center during wartime in 1943. Only the facade of San Joaquin Church remained intact.

The structure’s belfry also sustained heavy damages from the strong earthquake called Lady Caycay in 1948.

When it was declared a National Historical Site through Presidential Decrees No. 260 in 1973 and No. 375 in 1974, this marked the start of the earnest restoration of the building.

The San Joaquin Parish Church was also identified as a National Cultural Treasure in 2001.


Nuestra Señora dela Paz y Buen Viaje

La Paz is a district in Iloilo City that was under the supervision of Jaro until it became an independent parish in the 1870s.

It used to be called by different names; it was “Lobo” meaning “needle” or “retreat” at one time, according to Spanish era records discovered by parish officials.

In the decree that separated La Paz from Jaro, it was given the name “Ilawod” to refer to its location downstream, that part of the river that spills out to sea.

The same document said it was also called Iznart once after the Spanish alcalde of Iloilo, Manuez Iznart, who governed from 1868-1869.

None of the three names prevailed because the inhabitants of the place chose to call it La Paz, after their Spanish patroness Nuestra Señora de La Paz.

La Paz church beginnings

The first priest appointed to La Paz when it became a parish was the Augustinian Fr. Candido Gonzales. He was followed 13 other Augustinians until the parish was turned over to a diocesan priest, Fr. Pedro Trano, in 1910.

When he started his duties in La Paz, Fr. Gonzales oversaw the construction of a temporary church and convent made mainly of wood and bricks for the Nuestra Señora dela Paz y Buen Viaje Parish.

From 1870 to 1874, he started erecting a more permanent structure from a combination of bricks, stone, and cement.

Fr. Mariano Ysar had this enlarged and completed in 1895. There were those who likened it to the San Jose Church in the city center but said it had a look and style that is its own.

The Nuestra Señora dela Paz y Buen Viaje Parish Church was damaged during World War II and the infamous earthquake of January 25, 1948. Only its facade withstood the man-made and natural calamities.

Neo-classical facade design

According to parish records, the convent was immediately renovated. It was another story for the church as its restoration work took many years, gaining traction under the leadership of Msgr. Melecio Fegarido in the 1960s.

The fully restored church was inaugurated during the May 24 fiesta in 1995.

A parish feature on the church described its facade as neo-classical with mainly dark brown bricks and white window pillars and frames.

Two columns supporting the triangular pediment are new additions as they bear the inscription of the year 1970.

As the population of La Paz grew, new parishes were also erected. Aside from Nuestra Señora dela Paz y Buen Viaje Parish, there are also now existing the parishes of Our Lady of the Assumption in Barrio Obrero (1962), St. Clement in Barangay Luna (1962), Our Lady of Fatima in Lapuz (1972), and San Lorenzo Ruiz in Barangay Caingin (1992).


St. Clement’s Church

The Church of St. Clement came about as an offshoot of the mission work undertaken in Iloilo by Redemptorist priests belonging to the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer.

They first came to Jaro on January 23, 1928 at the behest of Jaro Bishop Denis O’Dougherty, who later became the Cardinal of Philadelphia, and his predecessor Bishop James McCloskey.

Several years before their arrival, there had been discussions for a foundation in Jaro. Bishop O’Dougherty had known for sometime about the mission work of the Redemptorist fathers in Cebu and invited them to form a house in his diocese.

Bishop McCloskey, also aware of the Redemptorist apostolate that had already reached Oriental Negros, formalized the invitation. Negros was still part then of the Diocese and now Archdiocese of Jaro.

Jaro foundation

Parish records said McCloskey and the Vice Provincial Superior Rev. W. Byrne, simultaneously wrote to the Father General in Rome asking him to accept the Jaro foundation. The cable of acceptance arrived on October 17, 1927.

The Jaro Diocese offered all possible assistance to the Redemptorist priests: McCloskey secured them a house on Number 9, Calle E. Lopez in Jaro and even generously spent on its repair; the Padres Paules supplied altar wine and other items for their residence; the Superioress of St. Paul’s Hospital donated tables, chairs, kitchen utensils, and an alcohol stove.

The first missionaries to come to Jaro, appointed by Irish Provincial Superior Fr. John Fitzgerald, were Fathers Raymund Cleere (superior), Joe Wright, Patrick O’Connel, Joe O’Gorman, Brothers Jarlath and Charles.

Beginning January 23, 1928, the fathers occupied the house and offered mass on their first day. The altar they used was a gift from Bishop McCloskey, the very same one used in the first convent of the Carmelite sisters in the Philippines that was located in Molo.

Mission work

Parochial missions were a long established thrust of the Redemptorist congregation. Its mission work from its home base in Cebu expanded to Negros Oriental, Bohol, Cebu, and even went as far as Mindanao.

The Redemptorist community in Jaro spent four months learning Ilonggo from a local teacher before embarking on their first mission in Dumangas in June 1928 upon the invitation of parish priest Fr. Vicente Militar.

Pleased with their work, he sent them to Lublub the following November and then to Pototan. Despite the heavy rains and the fact that it was rice planting season, many gathered to listen to the Redemptorist priests.

Within the apostolic community in Iloilo, in their early years, the priests helped out in the Jaro Cathedral upon the invitation of Msgr. Luis Capalla, heard confessions in Ilonggo, English, and Spanish. They also administered retreats to fellow priests, sisters, and students.

Monastery, church

The congregation picked La Paz as the permanent site for its new foundation in the Diocese of Jaro. It decided to build its monastery in the area, signing the contract for construction on January 15, 1931. The finished structure under the advocation of St. Clement, picked because of his influence over students, was blessed by Bishop McCloskey.

The diocesan apostolate for the students of the Provincial High School and Normal College (now West Visayas State University) was continued by the Redemptorist fathers. They held regular masses for the people and later on established a Confraternity of the Holy Family as a weekly service for male students and adults in the area. The Confraternity survived for 30 years and had a weekly attendance of around 250.

With attendance growing steadily over the years, the Catholic Truth Hall was no longer an adequate venue and a decision was reached to build a permanent church.

St. Clement’s Church was inaugurated on February 23, 1941, with then Cebu Archbishop Gabriel Reyes delivering a special sermon for the occasion. The following day, a solemn mass was celebrated for benefactors, with a misa de requiem offered for those already deceased.

St. Clement’s College

Over a period of 10 years, the number of Redemptorist missions increased from 1930-1940. This was however interrupted by the advent of war in 1941.

The realities of war were brought home to the congregation in December 18 of that same year. Japanese forces began dropping bombs in Iloilo City, damaging the airfield and oil installations along the docks. They invaded Panay on April 6, 1942.

It was decided after the war to establish a Minor Seminary as a first step in the training of Filipino vocations. The superiors agreed to the proposal in October 1946 and construction of seminary was immediately started. Fr. John Ryan was Vice Provincial at the time.

The college was completed in time for school year 1949-1950 and Fr. Patrick Nulty became its first director. It became known for discipline, high academic standards, and basketball and has supplied the nucleus of the Philippine vice province/province.

Filipino priests who studied in the college included Msgr. Ramon Fruto, Bishop Ireneo Amantillo, Willie Jesena, Filomeno Suico, Emerardo Maningo, Gerry Loarca, Tommie Tancinco, and the late Fernando Yusingco, Luis Hechanova, and Rudy Romano.

New parish

A new development happened for the foundation in 1967, when it was established as the Perpetual Help Parish on Easter Sunday.

In his inauguration address during the occasion, first Jaro Archbishop Jose Ma. Cuenco said: “The more parishes in the diocese, the less chance of error among the people; the supreme law is the salvation of souls. This responsibility was brought home to me very clearly during the Second Vatican Council.”

Another apostolate of Perpetual Help Parish is the enclosed retreat movement. The first enclosed retreat was held in the convento on December 7, 1963. The new retreat house was completed in 1967.


Santa Monica Parish Church

Pavia was founded both as town and parish by Spanish authorities in 1862 and a church was built almost at the same time but of less solid material.

Fr. Policarpio Minayo, the first priest of the parish established under the advocation of Saint Monica of Africa, oversaw the construction of this church from 1862 to 1864.

Reconstruction of the Santa Monica Parish Church with the use of bricks began during the tenure of Fr. Antonio Fermentino, who served from 1882 to 1887 and then from 1889 to 1890. A stone convent was added by Fr. Calixto Fernandez in 1887.

Work on the structure continued under the term of Fr. Lazaro Ramirez from 1895 to 1899, when it was finally opened for public worship.

Unique church features

The church is of Byzantine mold, with exterior and interior walls made entirely of red bricks, according to parish records. It is the only one of its kind in the whole island of Panay.

Mass goers and visitors can still see two Greek crosses that decorate the facade today.

Unlike many Spanish-period churches of cruciform design with rectangular transept, Santa Monica’s is round and set against the rear wall.

Fr. Felix Caronongan Jr., writing about parish history in the souvenir program for its 100th founding anniversary in 1988, said the structure is unique because it combines elements of Romanesque and Byzantine architecture. He added that it looks like a simpler and smaller version of the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine in the Iloilo town’s namesake of Pavia in Italy.

The first native priest, Fr. Mansueto Zabala, took over the parish in 1911.

Years of construction, repair

When war broke out in 1941, Japanese forces used the church as garrison and it became the subject of constant raids by Filipino guerillas resulting in the walls getting defaced.

The structure was further damaged by bombing runs of American liberation forces.

After the war, rehabilitation works were undertaken throughout the years by a succession of parish priests. Fr. Melicio Rubrico (1946-1951) repaired the main altar in 1946, Msgr. Ciceron Tumbocon (1951 to 1953) replaced the roof with salvaged galvanized iron, Fr. Vicente Declaro (1953-1958) started on four of the current 18 columns, Fr. Victor Casa (1959-1964) added new wooden benches made possible by donations, Fr. Domingo Tabifranca (1964-1967) had a new wooden altar table made so the priest could face the congregation while saying Mass (Vatican II), and Fr. Victor Piansay (1969-1977) installed steel windows and as well as new marble altar table.

Fr. Casa was also behind the building of a single level wooden rectory because the old two-story structure was already dilapidated and unsafe. Other works by Fr. Piansay included marble flooring for the main altar and cement for the whole church. He added a concrete arch in the man altar.

A new concrete two-story rectory was built under the term of Msgr. Juanito Ma. Tuvilla, who took over the parish on August 27, 1978. With subsidies sourced from West Germany, Msgr. Tuvilla also continued construction of the concrete columns in the church. Incoming priests up to the 1990s contributed their share to building the church and parish.

Solemn, festive celebrations

The Catholic Church decreed Sta. Monica’s day of honor every August 27, moving it close to the feast day of her son St. Augustine, which is every August 28.

While the Santa Monica Parish celebrates it with the usual 9-day novenario and concelebrated mass, it is without the food and funfare characteristic of traditional Philippine fiestas.

Instead, according to parish records, the revelry that marks Fiesta Day happens every May 4.

No one knows why this is so, said Fr. Caronongan. It may be because November weather is not conducive to outdoor activities or it is before the harvest time of the town’s main crop of palay and household funds are already depleted.

Whatever the reason, the townspeople continue to fulfill the spiritual aspect of St. Monica’s feast day in August 27 and conduct festive activities by May 4.


St. Thomas of Villanova Parish Church

When it comes to structures built during the Spanish colonial period, the St. Thomas of Villanova Parish Church is among the more notable ones in the Philippines.

The present edifice, constructed from 1786-1797 under the supervision of Fray Francisco Gonzales Maximo, is the third built in Miagao during Spanish times and was intended not just to serve as sanctuary from pirate raids but also to withstand earthquakes and typhoons.

Its simple and massive form points to its function as fortress, while the ornate details on the facade embodies its spiritual function as the House of God, according to the book Great Churches of the Philippines co-authored by priest historians Pedro Galende and Rene Javellana.

The first church of Miagao was built in 1734, three years after it was established as town and parish, in a low-lying area called Ubos but it was burnt during the pirate raid of 1741.

The destruction of a second church constructed in 1754 by Fray Fernando Camporredondo in another raid prompted the Spanish authorities to move it to a higher elevation in Tacas Hill where it now currently stands.

Spanish colonial Baroque church

Completed in 1797, the St. Thomas of Villanova Parish Church depicts the typical “Spanish colonial Baroque style” in the Philippines.

What makes the edifice an architectural masterpiece are the features and elements uniquely its own: explosion of botanical motif on its facade, centerpiece relief of St. Christopher carrying the Child Jesus on his shoulders that dominate the pediment, massive buttresses that serve to reinforce walls that are already one and a half meters thick.

A book on “The Miagao Church” published by the National Historical Institute described it as a single-nave edifice that follows the Augustinian pattern of “church-convento-atrium.” It added that the bulk of the structure consists of “tabriya” stone blocks quarried from the mountain of Igbaras.

The book also cites the uneven configuration of the bell towers added in 1830: the left side has four tiers and low-pitched dome while the right one only has three but with a steeply conical roof that somehow balances out the whole composition.

Facade embellishments

Galende and Javellana talked about the exceptional elements on the facade, including:

  • A heavily drawn frieze and balusters that set the first level apart from the second as well as the integrated pediment.
  • Relief of overlapping palm fronds that suggest movement.
  • The columns flanking the arched entrance that reinforce this suggestion.
  • Curvilinear undulation of the facade intensified by oval and arch openings that partly eases the upward motion.

They likened the two-dimensional quality of the Miagao church reliefs to “de gajeta” or cookie cutouts, which was also how 16th century Mexican architectural reliefs were described.

A statue of the patron saint, St. Thomas of Villanova, stands on an elaborately framed central niche above the arched entrance.

The church was declared a National Shrine through Presidential Decree No. 260 dated August 1, 1973. It was included in the World Heritage List in 1993, the only one in the Visayas and Mindanao.


Espousal of Our Lady Parish Church

Today’s Espousal of Our Lady Parish Church is a modern structure, inaugurated just at the turn of the 21st century.

But the very first church was built in the early 1900s and served the people of Mandurriao in Iloilo City until the 1940s when it was burned down by guerillas during World War II.

Parish records said Fr. Felimon Galutina ordered the creation of a temporary place of worship made out of coconut trunks bearing a nipa roof when the war ended. Mandurriao had to make do with this makeshift church for 35 years.

When Msgr. Perfecto Capalla took over as parish priest, he oversaw the construction of a more permanent structure in the 1970s. He was also behind the building of an adjacent two-storey convent and Cursillo House.

Major church renovation

A major renovation happened during the tenure of Fr. Andres Sagra from 1985-1998. The first thing he did was put up a concrete fence around the church for security purposes using funds from the 1985 May Flower Festival.

He then spearheaded fund-raising activities beginning in 1987 or 1988 for church renovation.

Bishop Fernando Capalla, Archbishop of Davao, presided over the formal launching of the church reconstruction during the patronal feast on November 26, 1989.

A building plan prepared by the late Engr. Timoteo Jusayan was fine tuned by Engr. Ermelo Porras and Architect Rolando Siendo. The final design was later approved by then Jaro Archbishop Alberto Piamonte.

Blessing and inauguration

Fr. Severino M. Montiague administered the second phase of the project when he took over the parish on September 8, 1990. This lasted from 1991-1997.

The reconstructed Espousal of Our Lady Parish Church was blessed and inaugurated in December 1997. The cost of its rebuilding amounted to around 15 million pesos.


Jaro Cathedral

Among the most illustrious in Iloilo City is the heritage district of Jaro. This is the home of the national hero Graciano Lopez y Jaena. The district pays him tribute through the numerous streets and buildings named after him and statues built in his honor.

The Jaro Cathedral is the seat of Catholicism in Western Visayas and is the center for devotion to the Our Lady of the Candles. The stairs on the cathedral’s facade leads to a shrine of the Our Lady of the Candles above the main entrance of the church.

This photo reportedly taken in about 1889 shows the Jaro Cathedral and belfry with a bamboo replica of the Eiffel Tower, the icon of modernity in its times. Note the absence of the two church towers that were added much later.
This photo reportedly taken in about 1889 shows the Jaro Cathedral and belfry with a bamboo replica of the Eiffel Tower, the icon of modernity in its times. Note the absence of the two church towers that were added much later.

What’s distinctive about the church is that it’s bell tower is located across the street, near Jaro Plaza. While belfries are typically built next to their churches, the Jaro bell tower was built away from the church because the area is prone to earthquakes.

The cathedral was built in 1874 but was damaged by an earthquake in January 1948. It was repaired in 1956 by the first Archbishop of Jaro, Jose Maria Cuenco.

The Archdiocese of Jaro is one of the oldest dioceses in the country, according to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines website.

“It was created a diocese by virtue of a papal bull of Pope Pius IX on May 27, 1865, according to a document signed by Archbishop Gregorio Martinez, then Archbishop of Manila, under whole ecclesiastical province the new diocese belonged as suffragan,” the site said.

Its fiesta every February 2 is marked with pageantry, gastronomy and cockfighting.

A gift shop is found beside the church and blessed candles are always a good buy – for pasalubong or personal use.

A street separates the church from its belfry, which is built high so it can be seen almost all throughout Iloilo City.



Experience the intense variety and striking beauty of the islands of one of Iloilo’s most popular destinations. A trip to the exotic islands in Carles is packed with physical activities, culture, history and good food.

Embark on a tour. If you have something of the explorer in you, then an island-hopping holiday is ideal. Traveling across its vast sea evokes a spirit of discovery and offers a totally new perspective on the area. Explore and immerse yourself in the Gigante Islands of Carles.

Carles is a Second-Class municipality situated in the northernmost tip of Iloilo Province. It is 147.6 kilometers away or a three hour drive from the City of Iloilo. It is bounded in the north by Jintotolo Channel; in the northeast by the Visayan Sea; in the west by Municipality of Pilar, Capiz; and, in the south by the Municipality of Balasan, Iloilo. It has a total land area of 11, 202 hectares that is politically subdivided into 33 barangays.

Carles is populated by 68, 160 (2015 Census on Population) Carlesnons. Market day is every Mondays and Fridays. It annually celebrates its TReligious Fiesta every 15th of October in honour of Sta. Teresa de Jesus.

To get to Carles, one can take the bus at the New Ceres Terminal in Barangay Camalig in Jaro, Iloilo City.


Immigrants settled in the area of Punta Bulakawe, north of the poblacion in 1846. Other settlers from Antique and Aklan eventually populated the settlement which fell under the jusrisdiction of Pueblo de Pilar, Capiz. Ten years later, the settlement was transferred to the lowlands and renamed Badiang.

The first attempt to elevate Barrio Badiang into a municiopality occurred in 1860 but the Provincial Government of Capiz refused. This prompted the town leaders to petition to the Governor of Iloilo, Gov. Jose Maria Carles who eventually approved their petition. Much to the delight of the town leaders of Badiang, a new pueblo was established and named Carles in honour of the Governor. It was inaugurated in 1862.


The Gigante Islands is a string of islands located 21 kilometers northeast from Bancal Port in mainland Carles—the last town north of the province and is 147.6 kilometers away or a 3-hour bus ride from the city.

Consists of Gigante Norte and Gigante Sur, Gigante Islands is not only a favorite holiday destination itinerary by most tourists, but also home to a biologically diverse and rich coastal and marine resource. It contains more or less 50 caves. It is home to an endemic forest frog (Platymantis Insulates) listed to be critical and a Narrow-disked gecko (gekkogigante) listed as endangered under the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Gigante Sur is 21 kilometers or an hour and a half motorized boat-ride from the mainland port of Bancal. Comprised of the barangays of Gabi and Asluman, it prides itself with strings of island beaches that include the islands of Antonia Point, Bantigui, Cabugao Dako, Cabugao Gamay, Ojatras, Balbagun and Tangke. It is also home to Long-tailed Macaque, Bhraminy Kite, Blue-naped Parrot, and Grass Owl.

Gigante Norte is the biggest of the island group chain. Known for its picturesque fishing villages, it is separated from Gigante Sur by a 5-mile channel or a 30-minute pumpboat ride and is made up of the barangays of Granada and Asluman with the islands of Bolobadiang, Uaydajun, Gigantona and Giganteleo. It is home to Long-tailed Macaque, Bhraminy Kite, Blue- naped Parrot, Grass Owl, Monitor Lizard and Gigantes Island Limestone Frog.

SICOGON ISLAND brings together classic charm and modern touches for a unique seaside experience. One will surely enjoy this hideaway with dazzling white sands and clear turquoise sea. Overlooking Tomaguin Island and Molopolo, the Island of Sicogon measures 489.0514 hectares and is composed of the barangays of San Fernando, Alipata and Buaya. The beach of Barangay Buaya is reason enough to go to the island. There is enough space and so few visitors that you will probably find a spot just for yourself. The sugary sands of Buaya extend into deep waters far offshore. It is a heaven for snorkelers.

Sicogon has long been a popular spot with foreigners on holiday and had made its mark as a hot spot for travelers from around the globe. The island was once famous among celebrities and royalties all over the world. It was known as one of Asia’s as a top tourist destination prior to its closure in the 1980s. It has tourist-friendly facilities such as its famous cottages and resort clubhouse, swimming pools, sports facilities, a wharf and an airstrip.

The beach of barangay Buaya in Sicogon Island remains among the most beautiful even up now. It is for those who are dreaming of a quiet vacation under a warm sun and a constant breeze. The island is still a big potential to welcome many of tourists looking for the best beach in Iloilo.

Presently, Sicogon is being managed by Ayala Land Corporation with two high-end accommodation establishments, Balay Kogon and Huni.

PAROLA or the 18th century lighthouse is situated in Barangay Asluman, Gigante Norte where the original lighthouse was built by the Spanish but has long been replaced by a new and modern one with the help of the Japanese. There used to be access for people to climb up the lighthouse and get a more scenic view.

SITIO BAROSBOS in Barangay Asluman, Gigantes Norte is an area identified by the National Museum (as per letter of Wilfredo P. Ronquillo, Chief, Archeology division dated October 1997) as an archeological site, due to the discovery of abundant archaeological material, notably earthenware ceramics that were dated somewhere between ca. 500 B.C. up to A.D. 500.

TUMAQUIN ISLAND fronting Buaya Beach is known for its aura of fantasy. This uninhabited island has crystal clear waters and creamy beach. Identified as a potential scuba diving site, it holds the elusive qualities of undersea world.

LANGUB CAVE in Sitio Langub, Barangay Granada, Gigante Norte is popular among residents eager to narrate the enchanted fairy tales. They tell of the world of the famed Golden Ship and a generous cave. The Golden Ship is said to be the royal inter island carrier of the unseen friends while the cave is said to be a storehouse of regale wardrobe and utensils ready for lending to those with the intent of returning them after use.

GIGANTILLO, GIGANTONA, in Gigante Norte are granite islets that offer an unusual combination of undersea environments, coral reefs and marine rock formation.


PANGISDA is celenrated every 2nd week of October. Derived from a Hiligaynon word for fishing, Pangisda, as a festival pays tribute to the efforts of the local fishermen who provide income not only to his family but practically to the whole town as well. It celebrates the bounties of their sea. Special events include tribal dance competition, boat races, cooking contest, food festival and beauty pageant.



Located in the northern part of the Iloilo Province is famous for its impressive marine resources. It is known around the country as a center for commercial fishing, so much so that it carries the name “Alaska of the Philippines” as a testament to its bountiful marine resources. The reason for this is that Estancia lies in the Visayan Sea triangle, an imaginary triangle extending from the provinces of Iloilo, Negros, Cebu, Samar, and Masbate. This triangle is a part of the “Sulu-Sulaweisi Triangle” of the Sulu Sea and neighboring Indonesia where a large concentration of marine organisms coupled with climate conditions support a massive marine ecosystem. Commercial species such as mackerel, barracuda, sardines, shad, pompano, grouper, squid, cuttlefish, shrimp, prawns, shells, seaweed and others are harvested along Estancia’s waters. It has a fishing port and a pier known to be one of the most developed in northern Visayas and quality accommodations where one can enjoy at a great vacation value.

Estancia is a Second-Class municipality situated in the northeastern portion of the province. It is 135.5 kilometers away or a three-hour drive from Iloilo City. It is bordered in the…It has a total land area of 3, 197 hectares that is politically subdivided into 25 barangays.

Estancia is populated by 48, 546 (2015 Census on Population) Estancianons. Market day is every Tuesday. It annually celebrates its Religious Fiesta every 15th to 16th of May in honour of Ma. Reyna Sto. Rosario.

To get to Estancia, one can take the bus at the New Ceres Terminal in Barangay Camalig in Jaro, Iloilo City.


Don Felipe Aguilar, a rich Spaniard, owned a property that was converted into a ranch in the northern portion of Iloilo Province. It was named Estancia, a Spanish word meaning a large estate or cattle ranch.

It became a pueblo in 8162. Being coastal in location, Pueblo de Estancia developed into a prominent fishing port and became known as the “Alaska of the Philippines” because of its very rich fishing grounds. Because of plentiful catch, Talagog and Waray fishermen and fishbrokers settled in the town and contributed much to the development of the fishing industry and boosting the economy of the town.


PANAGAT celebrated every last week of April is a tribute to Fishermen. It is a call for unity among the people who thrives near the municipal water or sea. It is a celebration that calls for full cooperation among the neighboring towns.The festival shows the creativity of the people through its festive tribal dance competition that incorporates traditions in fishing and showcases costumes inspired from the living creatures found under the sea.