Iloilo – the City of Love, is also known for its beautiful churches and old houses. Molo, one of the city’s 7 districts, used to be a separate town, and a place most Chinese residents used to live – hence it was once called as Iloilo’s Binondo. Today, Molo is home to some of Iloilo’s stunning and most-visited landmarks.
The most notable from among these is the extraordinary Church of St. Anne Parish (or simply, Molo Church). The church was built in 1831 in honor of St. Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary, and grandmother of Jesus Christ. This Gothic and Renaissance styled church is at times dubbed as a “Feminist or Women’s Church”. This is so because of the 16 life-size statues of women saints seen on the aisle pillars inside the church. These women saints are: Santa Apolonia, Santa Cecilia, Santa Clara, Santa Felicia, Santa Genoveva, Santa Ines, Santa Isabel, Santa Juliana, Santa Lucia, Santa Magdalena, Santa Marcelina, Santa Margarita, and Santa Marta, Santa Monica, Santa Rose de Lima, and Santa Teresa.
The church is said to be made of interweaved sections of lime-coated bamboo mixed with sand. The imposing façade is also made of limestone. The two pointed towers, painted in a reddish hue adds more charm to the church. Inside the church, one would immediately be drawn into the wooden altar decorated with remarkable paintings. The ceiling showcases murals of the Pentecost. Everything is just so beautiful.
Molo Plaza. Just in front of the church is a beautifully maintained plaza. The main landmark is a pavilion which features the statues of 6 Greek goddesses — Aphrodite (beauty/love), Artemis (fertility/wilderness), Athena (war), Demeter (agriculture), Hera (marriage), and Hestia (domesticity). It truly adds up beauty to the entire place. I have noticed that the plaza seems to be a favorite hang-out place from among locals. Well it doesn’t come as a surprise since the area is really clean and peaceful.
Molo Mansion: Just across the plaza is a newly opened ancestral structure — Yusay-Consing Mansion. Built in the 1920s by a prominent couple in Molo, the mansion was said to be in a run-down state when SM Land Inc. bought the property. Good thing, they decided to restore and preserve this cultural structure. Now, it is one of the added must-visit sights in the area.
The mansion showcases a cultural retail store (Kultura), selling an assortment of homegrown products like accessories, home decors and innovative souvenir items.There is also an art room where Ilonggo artists’ craft are displayed (too bad, this was close during my visit).
Café Panay & Table Matters: At the back side of this mansion are two eateries that serve Ilonggo cuisine. These are: Cafe Panay and Table Matters.
Cafe Panay primarily serves Ilonggo delicacies like Fried Ibos, Pancit Molo, a pasta called Tabagak, Tablea (chocolate) drinks and Iloilo coffee. I tried their Fried Ibos and Tablea and they were really good.
Table Matters, on the other hand, serves refreshments like healthy juices and “merienda” (snacks) under an old balete tree. I did try their Blue Ternate ice cream, a dessert made from a blue colored flower. It was surprisingly delectable.
(Thanks to Sir Homer for the ttreat!). The Molo Mansion, opens 8:00AM to 8:00PM daily.
How to Reach Molo District:
From Manila, fly your way to Iloilo. Iloilo Airport is about 30 minutes (approximately 19 km) away from Iloilo City. You may ride a van that is city bound and it usually drops off passengers at SM City Iloilo. From there, one can either take a taxi or jeepney. Almost all jeepneys routes with “Molo” or “Arevalo” on its name will pass by the plaza or near it including Villa Arevalo, Molo Mandurriao, Molo Baluarte, Oton Anhawan, and Oton Derecho. Molo Church can be found beside Molo Plaza, the central landmark in Molo District. Molo Museum is just across the plaza.
Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’…