The iconic Molo Parish Church in Iloilo City in Central Philippines is also known as the ‘Women’s Church’ or the ‘feminine church’ because of its life-sized figures of women saints. They are Sta. Marcela, Apolonia, Genoveva, Isabel, Felicia, Ines, Monica, Magdalena, Juliana, Lucia, Rosa de Lima, Teresa, Clara, Cecilia, Margarita and Marta. It stands out literally in the Iloilo skyscape with its tall pointed towers which whisper of Gothic and Renaissance influences. It was constructed in 1831 and amazingly survived earthquakes and wars thereafter. It was declared a national landmark by the National Historical Institute in 1992.
When Jose Rizal visited this church in August 4, 1896, he noticed that this iglesia bonita(pretty church) has paintings that resemble the works of Gustave Doré. His visit in Iloilo was then very brief, just like his previous stopovers in Cebu and Dumaguete.
Before visiting the church, Rizal dropped by Calle Real to buy a buri hat. He also visited Don Raymundo Melliza, who was his dear friend and classmate. After lunch, Rizal and his family boarded back the SS España. The ship then sailed for Capiz (present day Roxas City) and Romblon before finally arriving in Manila two days after.
In his diary entry for Iloilo, Rizal wrote that it took him 30 minutes to get to Molo from the downtown. It is very different of course today with the advent of modern transportation. There was also no heavy traffic when I visited the church recently. But I appreciate the fact that he wrote a travel-blog-like account of Iloilo City and captured its rustic charm even in just a few paragraphs.
Panaderia de Molo
San Jose St., Molo, Iloilo City