Jaro, Iloilo City

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District of Jaro
Distrito sang Jaro
Distrito ng Jaro (Tagalog)
Distrito de Jaro (Spanish)
City District
Jaro Cathedral.jpg
Central Philippine University Church in Iloilo City, Western Visayas.jpg
St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary, Iloilo City.JPG
Jaro Cathedral - Belfry.JPG
Jaro Belfry (Campanario de Jaro)
Nickname(s): "City Within a City"
"Seat of the Catholic Archbishopric of Jaro"
"Seat of Catholicism and Protestantism"
District of Jaro is located in Philippines
District of Jaro
District of Jaro
Location in the Philippines
Coordinates: 10°41′24″N 122°33′0″E / 10.69000°N 122.55000°E / 10.69000; 122.55000
Country  Philippines
Region Western Visayas (Region VI)
Province Iloilo
City Iloilo City
Established 1886 (City)
Incorporated July 16, 1937 (Iloilo City)
 • Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog (Liberal) (Mayor of Iloilo City)
 • City District 27 km2 (10 sq mi)
Elevation -2 to 6 m (-6.5 to 20 ft)
 • City District 343,829
 • Metro 1,235,650
Demonym Jaroeño/Jareño, Taga-Jaro, Salognon
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
Patron Saint Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria (Our Lady of Candles) (Catholic Patron Saint)
Feast Day February 2
Website www.iloilocity.gov.ph

Jaro is one of the six districts of Iloilo City, in the province of Iloilo, on the island of Panay, in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. It is a former separate city that lends its name to the Archdiocese of Jaro, which covers the provinces of Iloilo and Guimaras and is the metropolitan of Western Visayas, before it merged with Iloilo City when it was incorporated during the American administration in the Philippines. Jaro is the largest of all districts of Iloilo City. The district of La Paz was a former part of Jaro before it became separated. The Jaro annual Catholic Feast of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria (Our Lady of the Candles) which is held every February 2 is well known in the Philippines.

Jaro is the cradle of Christian faiths with Roman catholic and Protestant institutions established and founded in the area. The Spanish Catholics established institutions like the Jaro Cathedral and the Archdiocese of Jaro, with the coming of the American Protestants in the early 20th century establishing institutions like the Central Philippine University (the first Baptist and second American University in Asia), Iloilo Mission Hospital (the first American and Protestant hospital in the country and in Asia), the Jaro Evangelical Church (the first Baptist Church in the Philippines), Jaro Adventist Center (the first Adventist Church in the country) and the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (the oldest Baptist churches organization in the Philippines) where established.


Its original name was Salog or Saro.[1] It was also referred to as "Ilaya" or "mountain/dry land" together with La Paz which was referred to as "Ilawod" or "sea/wet land".[2] It had been one of the richer areas of Iloilo City even during the Spanish colonial period (1521-1898) and probably the richest town of the entire colony. Historical artifacts indicate that it had once conducted trade with China and Siam (Thailand) due to its port along the navigable river that ran through the town. It was also the center of religious and economic power in the Visayas during the Spanish rule.

Jaro officially became a city in 1886. La Paz, Iloilo City was a part of Jaro until it became independent from Jaro and became a Town and incorporated into the City of Iloilo. It was later absorbed by the City of Iloilo along with the neighboring towns of Molo, Mandurriao, La Paz and Arevalo in the early 20th century when all economic activities were shifted to the port of Iloilo.

Located between Dungon Creek and the Jaro River, Jaro fulfills the ideal design for establishing communities during that era: a site between two rivers, with a church and plaza in the center, and homes of affluent families in the vicinity. The church is the famous Parish of Our Lady of Candles, also known as the Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral, the headquarters of the Archdiocese of Jaro and the site of a miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary, which is a statue that has been growing in size ever since its discovery. Legends also state that among misty days, the Virgin Mary had disappeared from its original nook near the apex of the cathedral and bathed her child in the stream that used to well-forth from Jaro Plaza or that in Moro incursions, the Virgin had assisted in frightening off the raiders. The Marian image was canonically crowned by Pope John Paul II during his visit in 1982. The image is the only religious icon in the country to have been personally crowned by a Pope.

Jaro's celebration of the Feast of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria (Our Lady of the Candles) every February 2 is well known in the Philippines. The fiesta features pageantry with a fiesta queen from one of the prominent families of the place, and a cockfight at the Iloilo Coliseum, where cockfighting aficionados from all over the Philippines converge.[3]

The district is notable for its large amount of nineteenth-century architecture. Straddling the main plaza is the antique Jaro Cathedral and the Palasyo, the Archbishop's residence.

Majority of the mestizo families from Iloilo came from this town, because it was a center and main port during Spanish period and many Spanish traders married natives and settled on the island.


Jaro holds a high-concentration of Filipino-Mestizos and hosts many ancestral mansions of old Visayan families (of Mestizo descent). Family mansions such as those owned by the Lopez, Montinolla, Sanson, Luzariagga, De la Rama etc. families line the streets of this historic district. The French traveler Gabriel Lafond de Lurcy wrote of the place as such in his travelogues.

Religious institutions[edit]

Besides the Archdiocese of Jaro, the district includes the headquarters of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches, the oldest Baptist churches union; the Jaro Adventist Center, the first organized Seventh day Adventist church in the Philippines; as well as the first Baptist church in the Philippines, the Jaro Evangelical Church, founded in 1901; the first Baptist and second American university in Asia, the Central Philippine University, which was founded in 1905.


Also found in the district is the St. Joseph Regional Seminary, in Cubay. It is a theology seminary, as St. Vincent Seminary is a juniorate and philosophy seminary.

Notable institutions[edit]

The Jaro Belfry (Campanario de Jaro)

Jaro Belfry (Campanario de Jaro)[edit]

Built in 1744, the Campanario de Jaro is one of the few belfries in the country that stood apart from the church where it belonged. It has served both as a religious structure and as a military watch tower during the Spanish Colonial Period.[5][6] This three-storey tower, which stands 29 meters high,[6] is currently made mainly of bricks and hewn limestone blocks and follows the Baroque-style architecture. The Campanario has suffered destruction from earthquakes that struck the region. The first among these was in 17 July 1787 wherein it has caused major damage in the structure. It was later rebuilt in 1833 under the supervision of the Augustinian friar Fr. Jesse Alvarez.[5] Another earthquake sometime between 1833 to 1881 however caused damages once again to the belfry, which was later restored by the first Bishop of Jaro Msgr. Mariano Cuartero in 1881.[6] The latest was in 25 January 1948, which only suffered minor damages. This was restored by the Iloilo city government and with the supervision of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (formerly National Historical Institute) in the 1990s.[6][7] The Jaro Belfry was declared a National Historical Landmark in 1984.[8]

Jaro Plaza[edit]

Now called the Graciano Lopez Jaena Park, the Jaro Plaza is the center of activity in the district and is surrounded by the Jaro Cathedral, the Jaro Belfry, several old mansions, the former Jaro City Hall and the Archbishop’s Palace.

The Old Municipal Hall of Jaro

Jaro Cathedral[edit]

Also known as the Church of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, the Jaro Cathedral was built in 1864, the year the district was named a diocese by Pope Pius IX, by order of Mariano Cuartero, first bishop of Jaro. Destroyed in the quake of January 1948 and restored by order of Jose Ma. Cuenco, first archbishop of Jaro in 1956. The cathedral’s style is basically Baroque, with the addition of Gothic elements over many renovations.This has been approved by the CBCP as the National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles.

Old Municipal Hall of Jaro[edit]

Built in the 1930s, the old Jaro Municipal Hall is an Art Deco building designed by the Philippine National Artist for Architecture Juan Arellano and was embellished in the facade by an Italian sculptor Francesco Monti.[9] Currently the building is being used as the station of the Philippine National Police in Jaro district.[10]

Other Heritage Structures[edit]

Central Philippine University, founded in 1905 during the early years of American colonization by the American Protestants is the first Baptist and second American university in Asia. (The photo above is the Central Philippine University Church, one of the famous landmarks in Iloilo City.)
  • Archbishop's Palace, the residence of the Archbishop of Jaro. It is located southwest of the Jaro Cathedral and southeast of the Jaro Plaza.
  • St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary
  • The Lopez Mansion, also known as Nelly Garden
  • Casa Montinola y Sanson, the house is reminiscent of the Gaston house in Silay City, Negros Occidental.
  • Lizares Mansion, it was once the mansion of the Lizares family but was now turned into a school, Angelicum School Iloilo.
  • Central Philippine University was founded by the Baptist missionary Rev. William Orison Valentine in 1905. With more than 40 buildings, it has the biggest library collection in Western Visayas.
  • University of San Agustin H.S.

Notable residents[edit]


  1. ^ http://ilongo.weebly.com/iloilo-history-part-1.html
  2. ^ History of Panay, Felix B. Regalado, Quintin B. Franco, Central Philippine University, 1973
  3. ^ Salvilla, Rex S. (2003-01-30). "Iloilo Coliseum: World's biggest cockpit". Sun.Star Iloilo. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  4. ^ Quinze Ans de Voyage Autor de Monde Vol. II ( 1840). Retrieved 2014-7-25 from Institute for Research of Iloilo Official Website.
  5. ^ a b Orquinaza, Noreen Mae (March 24, 2014). "Jaro Belfry". IloiloNetPh. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c d Rosal-Sumagaysay, Joy (June 22, 2007). "The Jaro Belfry — an Iloilo landmark". I Love Iloilo. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  7. ^ Joven, May (April 11, 2012). "P5M Jaro Belfry restoration set". Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  8. ^ "Belfry of the Jaro Cathedral". National Registry of Historic Sites & structures in the Philippines. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  9. ^ "The UPV Main Building (Iloilo City Campus) by Juan Arellano". I Love Iloilo. 23 March 2007. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  10. ^ "Jaro Police Station 3 - About Us". Jaro Police Station 3. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 

External links[edit]