Located in Western Visayas – Region VI, specifically Iloilo, and considered as one of the biggest municipalities of the Philippines consisting of 119 barangays (also known as a village or district which originated from the Malay term “balangay” which meant sailboat) and just about 40-km. southwest from the city. A 45 min. to 1 hour travel from Iloilo Terminal Market “Super” (near Robinson’s Place), Molo Bus Terminal or Mohon Terminal.
Long ago, this distant village and its neighboring towns were most often invaded by Moro Pirates thus it lead to the migration of some of its inhabitants and relocation of most settlements closer to the city to avoid the scourge of Moro Pirates which resulted to the difficulty of its progression and of becoming a significant location to the outside world.
Today, it is a recognized travel destination wealthy of cultural and historical inheritances. It is in here where one of four Baroque Churches of the Philippines enlisted under the UNESCO World Heritage List can be located and home of one of the most outstanding educational institutions in the Southern Philippines, the University of the Philippines Visayas – Miag-ao Campus.
HOME OF A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE
Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Church, a Baroque Church of the Philippines built by the Spanish Augustinian missionaries in 1786 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site proclaimed in 1993. This structure is a collection of four Spanish period churches in the Philippines. Its architecture dates back during the Spanish colonial period when Christianity was introduced to the people of the country and seemingly the only period when the Church and the State were considered as one entity.
Because of many conflicts regarding this idealism and with other religions, specifically the Muslims, most of these churches were mostly invaded by its enemies thus these structures were garrisoned and transformed into a defensive structure therefore mostly represents a defensive fortress rather than a remarkable building of worship.
Gazing upon the front view of the Sto. Tomas de Villanueve Church, you will notice that it is bordered with two belfries (a form of medieval siege tower) and outwardly designs such as a coconut tree at the top, a statue of the Sto. Niño at the center and with flora and fauna figures in some parts. The whole façade reveals the past way of life of the Miagaowanons and for them the coconut tree was considered as the tree of life and one of their most important native products.
SALAKAYAN FESTIVAL: EMPOWERING THE LEGACY
Weeks after the Kasadyahan and the Dinagyang festival of Iloilo City, there’s still another recognized festival within the province limits known as the Salakayan Festival of Miag-ao. This festival dates back to May 7, 1754, a recorded battle when Moro pirate invaders, coming from the shores, “salakay” or attacked the natives to steal their goods and belongings. Village defenders came to the rescue and fought bravely to protect its people and livelihood.
Today, to commemorate such historical event, the Miag-ao government organized the Salakayan Festival, a week-long festival every first week of February. The festival is composed of various activities such as Food Fairs, Trade Fairs, Fluvial Parades, Visual Presentations and so much more. One of the highlights of the festival was the re-enactment of the historical event via a street dance competition, depicting artistic and creative choreography and direction of how the event transpired. The festivity was meant to empower the rich history and culture of the municipality and attract tourists, letting them realize that after the city’s big celebration, the party is not yet over and that its still more fun in Iloilo especially in Miag-ao.
|Parade of Volkswagen Beetle Cars|
A RENOWNED INSTITUTION OF HONOR AND EXCELLENCE
With regards to the University of the Philippines school campus in Iloilo City, there’s another campus found in Miag-ao, built during the time of UP President Emil Q Javier. A renowned campus that mainly focuses on educating students on the fields of aquaculture, marine science, fish processing, food science and many other arts and sciences.
|Statue of the Nymph of the Sea|
An outstanding school for fresh high school graduates who have passions and aspirations with respect to Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. You will really love the place because at one thing, the school is built very close to the shores thus not only will you be able to study scientific facts and ideas indoors but also appreciate the outdoor beauties that nature offers.