Argao’s Historic Church: How San Miguel Arcangel Parish Save Cebuanos From DangerCebu is home to many historic and heritage sites such as ancestral houses and, most of all, beautiful old churches.

One of its well-preserved churches is the St. Michael Parish Church located in Poblacion, Argao. Also known as the San Miguel Arcangel Parish, the church was built from 1734 to 1788.

In 1734, Fr. Ignacio de Olave was the first priest assigned in Argao.  He took custody of the church in 1735. Fr. Francisco Espina, the assigned parish priest from 1782 to 1798, was responsible of the construction of the convent and mostly of the present structure of the church. While Fr. Mateo Perez, the parish priest from 1803 to 1836, improved the town by building stone houses and schools. Fr. Perez was even said to be the one to introduce weaving, salt and brick-making. In 1876, the roofs of the church and convent was blown away and destroyed by a typhoon. Then in 1924, Fr. Joaquin Boiser replaced the tile roof with galvanized iron to make it sturdier. The San Carlos Minor Seminary was housed in the convent between 1949 and 1950.

From 18th to 19th century, the St. Michael the Archangel Parish church and convent served as sanctuary by the locals from oncoming danger and Moro attacks.

The church tower was built separately but was connected through its lower structure. The convent located at the right of the church was erected with wood and coral stone.

St. Michael Parish Church in Poblacion, Argao, Cebu; photo courtesy of Melo Villareal |

At the moment, the two-storey old church made of coral stones features a well maintained complex that was protected by a fort. What remain of the solid wall is a bastion of the residence and a gate facing the sea.

Inside the church, you’ll find 5 altars. The main altar contains 3 life-size statues of archangels: St. Michael, St. Raphael and St. Grabriel. The pedestals are adorned with angels. Cherubim heads and seraphs were also used as decoration. You’ll find floral designed pillars, choir loft and altars.

Another beautiful feature of the church is the paintings you’ll see on the ceiling. Painted in the 20th century, the artwork illustrates biblical passages, activities of angels and archangels in human life and in the bible. The designs were equally painted by an unknown Boholano artist and Cebuano painter Raymundo Francia.

Renowned painter Raymundo Francia was also the one who painted the ceiling of Nuestra Señora del Pilar Parish Church in Sibonga, Cebu.

 How to Get There

From Manila, you can fly to Cebu (estimated cost Php3500++, round trip, 45 minutes). 

From the Mactan International Airport, hire a cab and ask to be dropped at the South Bus Terminal where you can ride a bus (Php80++ per head, one-way, 1.5 hours) going to Argao.

Argao is 67 km away from Cebu City located in the south eastern part of the province.