San Antonio de Padua Church

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San-Antonio-de-Padua-Church-map-getting-thereJust up the coast from Iloilo on the way to Concepcion and Carles Gigantes, the San Antonio de Padua Church can be a worthwhile pitstop for the history buffs.

Located in front of the town’s football field below, the church, also called Barotoc Nuevo Church, was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1998 and played a significant role during the Spanish and Japanese occupations.



Barotac Neuvo was discovered and occupied by the Spanish in the late 16th century. The Spanish built a chapel out of bamboo and nipa to begin the evangelisation of the locals in 1573. Then trade and economy flourished with neghbouring areas, but once the soldiers fled the church was burned by locals and its friar slain. As a consequence the Spanish sent an army to “pacify” the locals by burning their houses and murdering some of them, including the local leader. On a milder note, the teachings of San Antonio were so elegantly worded for the simplest and most unread native, that he was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII in 1946, elevated to a saint only a year following his passing in 1231.


Military reinforcements came in 1581 and a new drive to evangelize the locals, to the point of further murder.

The area used to have the name Ginhawa-an, but later changed to Barotac, which in Spanish comes from the word “baro”, meaning mud since a great volcano had covered the entire area with silt and destroyed its agriculture.

After 40 years the church’s reconstruction was completed in 1750, in the Romanesque style, although this did not last long due to the earthquake of 1758. But measures were immediately initiated to build a new one out of coral stone and bricks, now completed by 1802.


A new church was built in 1910, lasting up to the present day, although during WW2 the military ordered the church’s burning so that it could not be used by the Japanese for defenses. The fire only destroyed the convent and the Japanese were able to use the church as a stronghold for the remainder of the war. On June 13 of 1944, a spy from the Filipino troops penetrated the garrison and annihilated all of its Japanese troops. A modern steel bell tower was added in 1966 and the original curvy roof of the central facade was repaired into its present triangular shape.

The church positioned next to the football field, the town of Barotoc Nuevo holds the official title Football Capital of the Philippines.

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Lou PrataliLou Pratali
11:04 25 Jul 23
This is a must to do!!Super ultimate tour is the best with Kayangan and barracuda lake, twin lagoons (my favorite), coral garden (blue fabulous coral) were the best. It’s really worth it to pay for private tour (3500 to 4000 PHP). You will also have to pay for entrance fees (150 to 200PHP by location) and eventually shopping at the market - must do (count 300 for 2 for fish, pork, fruits and vegetables, water).
16:11 07 Feb 23
I was looking for a personalized excursion to the beautiful Gulf of Bacuit.Seeing the comments, I contacted Mel.Very responsive, very efficient and perfect organization.The flight attendants were very friendly and very helpful.And I'm not even talking about the meal on board...a marvel.In all fairness, this excursion will remain an excellent memory and I cannot recommend Mel and his team highly enough.A big thank-you.
Alyse TarbottonAlyse Tarbotton
23:48 30 Aug 22
This tour went well above all our expectations! I couldn't recommend this enough! The boat crew, captain and tour guide were nothing but amazing, everyone was so kind, helpful and friendly. The crew knew the best spots to visit that weren't overcrowded with tourists, 3 times we were lucky enough to have whole islands to ourselves! It was my partner's birthday while away and everything went above and beyond, bonfire, cake, birthday card, singing and celebrating with us.If you love camping this is definitely a tout you should do, it has been the highlight of our trip!!
Danish KayaniDanish Kayani
10:24 31 Oct 19
Coron is the best place i have ever seen.. picturesque. Beautiful. Peaceful
We booked a 4 days/3 nights private boat trip from Coron to Sibaltan. The organization went very well from the beginning, the owner answered to all my questions, and we were able to choose which islands to visit and where to sleep. The first night we slept in a bungalow in Banana Island, the second we camped in Araw beach and the last we slept in a seafront bungalow builded on a tree in Pical on Iloc Island.The islands in that area are the most beautiful islands I have ever seen, with clear water, lots of coral reef and fishes to see, white sand and almost deserted. The crew was very friendly and polite and they organize every single meal and for camping they give you a tent which was just perfect! This was our highlight in our 2 weeks in the Philippines and I wish I had booked a longer trip. A private trip gives you the freedom to decide where and when to go.

We are a family operation managing private custom boat tours in the beautiful Palawan area, and are happy to help travelers with their plans through the country, having traveled a lot of it ourselves and planning to visit it all.

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