Don't Miss: Miagao Church

The relaxed coastal town of Miagao (mee-yag-ow), 40km west of Iloilo City, makes for an excellent day trip. The city is primarily known as the site of the elegant honey-coloured Miagao Church, the only Unesco World Heritage site in the Visayas. Built from 1787–97, the baroque church served as a fortress against Muslim raiders, and has striking pyramidal towers. Damaged over the years by fighting, fire and earthquakes, it was finally restored to its rococo glory in 1962. The fabulous bas-relief sandstone facade depicts St Christopher strolling through a tropical forest of coconut palms and papaya trees with baby Jesus. For lunch there's the multtipurpose Sulu Garden, which manages to combine a Japanese teahouse with a fish farm, butterfly hatchery, artists' studios and sushi restaurant. In the town hall, Miagao’s helpful tourist office has ideas for local excursions, including caves, lakes, interesting rock formations and cool fern forests.