San Joaquin - Iloilo Destinations

San Joaquin

Some 53 kilometers away from Iloilo City, San Joaquin is the southernmost town of Iloilo and gateway to the Province of Antique. One of the oldest towns in the province, San Joaquin along with its rich history likewise have a wealth of cultural heritage. The most famous are the two ancient architectural masterpieces: the San Joaquin Roman Catholic Church and the San Joaquin Cemetery.

The church was built in the 19th century by the Augustinians. It has a carved pediment depicting the Spanish victory over the Moors at Tetuan - second only in magnificence to that in nearby Miag-ao. The unique features of the San Joaquin Church has received the admiration of its onlookers including the National Historical Institute, which has listed the church as a National Cultural Treasure. The San Joaquin Church is flanked by a three story bell tower to its right and ruins of its old convent to its left. The church magnificently stands on a plain overlooking the sea and is located beside San Joaquin’s town plaza.

Built in 1892, the cemetery of San Joaquin is made of coral stones. A statue of Jesus with his arms outstretched stands on top of a baroque style gate, and on each side of Christ, two columns with angelic figures are poised as guards. Furthermore, sculpted heads of two cherubs and a skull representing death marks the entrance of the cemetery. A 20-stepped stairway supported by balustrade leads into a small chapel where once believed funeral masses were performed.

The Bayluhay Festival, celebrated every third week of January, reflects the town's unique mixture of races and cultures. Historical and religious themes, mostly anchored from the Barter of Panay, such as efforts with the preservation of rituals, are reflected through the dances presented in the festivity. Featured every annual municipal fiesta is the “Pasungay” or bull fight. During this event, the best bulls from the different barangays are pitted against each other by weight category in a "bull derby". This spectacular and exiting event find its origin on a hillside in one of the inland barangays of the municipality when resting farmers witnessed for the first time the fight between two raging bulls, set loose by their herdsmen. It caught the fancy of the barangay folks and soon it became popular entertainment in most barangay fiestas.

Aside from its rich culture, San Joaquin is also a town with one of the most beautiful sea coasts in the Visayas. The Talisayan Beach Resort is a privately owned beach resort located in the Poblacion, where rest houses can accommodate single or group occupancy for a duration of stay. The Cata-an Cove and Tobog Beach Resort in Barangay Cata-an, about 10 kilometers from the Poblacion, is a place ideal for scuba diving and weekend outings. Facilities such as cottages and water are provided. Almost thee-fourths of the shoreline of San Joaquin is suitable for diving. Private small beach resorts are also sprouting in the area.




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