Famous Churches – The Church of Santo Tomàs de Villanueva in Miag-ao

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Church of Santo Tomas de Villanueva, Miagao, Iloilo, Philippines

A historical church that was built in 1797, the Church is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The structure of the Church was completed with locally available yellow-orange sandstone. The Church endured major earthquakes, floods and typhoons and survived. The Church was burned two times: -

  1. During the revolution against Spain in 1898
  2. During the Philippine-American War a few years later.

The Church of Santo Tomàs de Villanueva in Miagao was constructed in “fortress baroque” style and it is one of the best examples of this style in Philippines. The church was constructed at the highest elevation in the town so that it is visible from a far distance. The smallness of the church, the huge pair of bell towers and the angled buttresses strengthen its fortress image.

The Church’s stunning feature is its façade; the unknown master carvers carved its entire surface. The spectacular carving on the facade is probably the peak of Filipino art where local craftsmen desert all the restraint to reinterpret western decorative styles in the local folk expression. The church of Santo Tomàs de Villanueva can be considered as a classic example of the blending of western Baroque style blown up with Filipino folk art.

The singular pretext of a church boasts the engraving of St. Christopher carrying a Christ child. A vast grind picture of St Thomas de Villanueva, a bishopric enthusiast saint, dominates a core of a facade. Adjoining a categorical opening are a forged life-size statues of a Pope and St. Henry with their coat- of- arms above them. The twin belfries support a facade. One of a belfry towers have 3 storeys and a other has two storey’s.

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