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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Miag-ao Fortress Chruch

Miagao or Miag-ao Church is one of the Baroque Churches in the Philippines. Among the four (4) officially recognized by the UNESCO as World Heritage Site "Baroque Churches of the Philippines", Miagao Church  is the only one located in the Visayas. The other three (3) Baroque churches under the list are situated in Luzon.

Construction of the Church began in 1787 while Fray Francisco M. Gonzales was then the Parish Priest. The Church was completed in 1797. In 1899, during the Philippine revolution, the Church was damaged and subsequently rebuilt. 

Church of St. Thomas de Villanova.

Saint Tomas of Villanova born as Tomás García Martínez is a Spanish friar from the Order of St. Augustine (O.S.A.). He is a preacher, writer and an ascetic. He comes from a well to do family in Villanueva de Infantes in Cuidad Real Spain and is well known for his charitable activities. As a young boy, he often found himself naked because he would give his clothes to the poor.

St. Thomas of Villanueva once uttered these words "Charity is not just giving, rather removing the need of those who receive charity and liberating them from it when possible."

                                                    Mother and Child

The key feature of the "bas-relief facade" is a large coconut tree, an integral part of the country's landscape. The coconut tree reaches almost to the apex and appears as the "tree of life". One can notice St. Christopher beside the tree carrying the Child Jesus on his shoulder.

Philippine old folklore legend says that the coconut tree was the only bequest from a loving mother to her two children, a tree which sustained them for life. The lesser facades of the church feature native flora, fauna, native dresses and the daily life of Miagaowanons during the early time.

                   Notice an image of the Virgin Mary on the wall of the Church.

The Church is also known for its thick walls, a testament to its stature as a Fortress Church. The Church has hidden passages as well. The church and its watchtowers were also built to defend the town and its people against raiders.

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