Sunday, July 29, 2007


like dalaguete, the municipality of argao was also named after a tree called sali-argaw, which was found in the area. argao is an hour and a half away from cebu city. there is much to see and explore in this town. sadly, we did not have enough time to see everything, so we just focused on the church and other heritage structures.

san miguel arcangel parish. this church is the second oldest church on the island. experts say that the church is perhaps the second construction, because an inscription on its facade indicates 1783 as its original construction, probably handled by fr. francisco espina. according to church records, though, the church was founded in 1733, so details about the construction are sketchy. from outside, you will see that the church is one of the many structures in quite a large complex, which is enclosed in remnants of a stone wall.

the interior of the church boasts of paintings by canuto avila and reynaldo francia, two of the best church muralists at the time. avila painted a mural that tells of biblical manifestations of angels, which francia was responsible for the painting of st. michael triumphing over lucifer.

a controversial part of this church (which formed part of why i wanted to see it), is the painting of the saints in the retablo in gold. it's been said that this was the reason why the church of argao was dropped from the list of world heritage sites - baroque churches of the philippines. what a shame, huh? i wanted to see the monstrosity for myself, and it was indeed... ugly. thank god the rest of the church was still fascinating.

behind the church was a courtyard, and off to a corner was a sculpture of san lorenzo ruiz hanging upside down. i found it quite disturbing.

casa real. another part of the complex is casa real, which is the oldest town hall in the island of cebu that's still standing. it now functions as the hall of justice. it's a low, two-story building that boasts of stone masonry on the ground level, and timber construction on the top level. it's a great example of the balay na tisa architecture that is so popular in cebu.

puerta real. this is another structure that i found interesting. the puerta now does not hold a place of great importance, yet it is still imposing because of its size. it is now part of a residential area close to the sea. it's also quite close to three cannons placed on the ground, which were probably used to defend the town from attacks.

there were other places that i really wanted to see, but i swear to go back to cebu and check them out. argao boasts of its very own rice terraces, falls, and caves. it also has a castle up in jumgao, and you can also watch weavers at work.

to see more argao photos, click here.

to know what other sights you can see in argao, check out the argao tourism website.

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