The dynamic and glamorous province of Iloilo City, is dubbed by notable historians as the regional burghal of Western Visayas. It beautifully lies on the western side which has a serene town named Oton. Aside from this attribution, Iloilo City is the first-string conglomeration of several towns such as Jaro, Molo, La Paz, Villa Arevalo and Iloilo City Proper. Historically, the docile beginning of Iloilo City had started during the Spanish Period which can be best described as a small grouping of those muffled fishermen’s suburbs from the vast Iloilo River.

The ancient Jaro Cathedral.

The ancient Jaro Cathedral.

Due to its insurmountable popularity in the field of economic development, the lofty City of Iloilo had become the second essential dockyard of call in the Philippines. In those years, it was deservingly alluded to as the La Muy Noble Ciudad. To translate this title in the English language, this simply means The Most Noble City in Western Visayas. This was eminently bestowed upon this province by the Queen Regent of Spain. But most importantly, Iloilo has been blessed with a regal place of worship which is known as the Jaro Cathedral. Uniquely, this is also known as Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral and as the National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles. Generally, this was inspired by Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. Architecturally, it was beautifully patterned after the equally-splendid Romanesque Revival Architecture. To define, the Romanesque Revival Architecture is one type of architecture which needs to be simple but elegant. Hence, this kind of developmental approach is commonly used in abbeys as well as the other temples the world over. Meanwhile, the so-called pontifical cathedral was perseveringly built under the supervision of the first-ever Jaro Bishop whose name is Monsignor Mariano Cuartero and its former barangay captain, Manuel Arguelles.

To date, the latter had spent all his hard earned money specially when it was time to build the tower of the unique and beautiful cathedral. It was significantly inaugurated on the 2nd day of February, 1874. From then on, Arguelles had once said that it was the greatest gift of his life. At the time of his death, he was bestowed upon the privilege to be buried inside the National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles. Incidentally, his tomb was lovingly placed at the Sacred Heart of Jesus’ altar. Thus, he was gifted with a chiffonier of different Catholic saints. Insofar as the ancient accounts of Philippine history is concerned, this was were a Filipino hero and patriot was born whose name is Graciano Lopez Jaena. In 1976, the National Historical Institute. had declared the Jaro Cathedral as a National Historical Landmark. Among the distinct features of this noble church are the following: Its bell tower that is located just across the street along Jaro Plaza, Best of all, the Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral in the City of Iloilo City has a splendiferous balcony where tourists can have a full panoramic view of the awesome topographical landscape of Iloilo City and the powerful Mother and Son religious figures. In addition, the Child and Madonna replica that is found within the balcony of Jaro Cathedral is carefully enclosed in a glass case.

More so, these religious statues are beautifully adorned in a dressed cape. It has also an immensely crafted choker on its neck. According to some of the most prominent miracle stories of the Blessed Mother Her Incarnate Son, these statues have unbelievably gotten bigger and bigger each day until there was such a time when their respective measurements were no longer in proportion to their fabulously designed cabinets. However, natural calamities never spared the towering cathedral. Unexpectedly, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles was jolted by a strong quake in 1948. As expected, it was immediately subjected to a much needed reconstruction thereafter. After such an inexpressible renovation, the engineers and architects of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles had come up with a brilliant idea to harmoniously put altogether both the exemplary Baroque and Gothic architectural approaches and styles to magnificently provide the Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral the most glaring and incomparable religious and architectural significance among all the most beautiful and colossal basilica across the Western Visayas.

Getting There

Jaro Cathedral is about 18 kilometers in the southern pathway of the Iloilo International Airport. From that point of origin, travelers should take those vans that are exclusively for rent. Their routes are usually SM Supermarket and Jaro-SM City. Afterwards, they will momentarily stop at Jollibee that is just beside SM Supermarket. Then, once they saw the belfry these church voyagers should also be reminded that from the city’s focal point, they must ride what the Ilonggos call as Jaro CPU or the Jaro Liko. After a few minutes, just simply request the driver to stop in front of the church.

Jaro Iloilo’s meaningful cultural heritage has perfectly echoed the essence of architectural simplicity in the historical metamorphosis of the Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral.Indeed, God moves in mysterious ways.

Category: Travel

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