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March 25, 2010

iloilo: jaro cathedral (church of st. elizabeth of hungary)

Jaro Cathedral
Church of St. Elizabeth of Hungary

This Baroque church with Gothic spires stands in the middle of Jaro district in Iloilo City, the richest district in Panay island during the Spanish colonial period. The cathedral aptly became the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Jaro, one of the oldest in the country, which encompasses the whole province of Iloilo and the nearby Guimaras island.

Cathedral facade
church facade as seen from a garden

The cathedral was built in 1864 when Pope Pius IX declared Jaro a diocese. An earthquake in 1948 damaged the church but it was restored in 1956 by the Jose Ma. Cuenco, the first archbishop of Jaro. (information culled from

A collection of life size statues of male saints line the main corridor of the cathedral, probably Jaro's answer to Molo district's Feminist Church. I wasn't able to take photos of the statues at the time of my visit because the interiors were under restoration work (November 2009).

Interior (under repair)
interiors under restoration

The cathedral is also a shrine dedicated to the devotion to Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria (Lady of the Candles). The 400-year old miraculous statue can be seen on a platform on top of the main door. Pope John Pall II canonically crowned the statue during his visit in 1982. It remains to be the only religious icon in the Philippines to have been personally crowned by the Pope.

Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria (Lady of the Candles)
miraculous Lady of Candles

Another interesting fact about Jaro Cathedral is its belfry is not within its campus, its right across the street in Jaro Plaza.

Belfry across the streetChrist statue and belfry
cathedral belfry

The bell tower is actually a remnant of the original church that was destroyed by an earth quake.

Cathedral at dawn
cathedral before sunrise

You may also want to visit the following churches in Iloilo:
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    Cedric said...

    Hey Allan, I really like how you shoot landscapes. No detail wasted, and the colors look fantastic. :D

    Lantaw said...

    Thanks Cedric!

    Lawstude said...

    nindot bai, specially the last one.

    Lantaw said...

    Thanks Oman!

    the donG said...

    whoa! ang ganda bai!

    lakwatsera de primera said...

    I like the first shot, it's like a church in another country while the tree seems to give the impression of fall season.

    Hazel said...

    Belfry in another location - that's a first for me. Love your photos; I miss those familiar flowers of the garden shot. The final one particularly - pang post card.

    Lantaw said...

    @dom, thanks! daghan gwapo nga simbahan sa iloilo ba

    @claire, thanks! jaro church is really photogenic

    @hazel, yup, only a few churches with such configuration :D. thanks for the visit!

    noel said...


    thanks for sharing a little bit about your world today, thats a very beautiful scene of the cathedral and belfry, i loved the history also and the info about the belfry closeby...interesting place

    Sylvia K said...

    Marvelous, interesting post and gorgeous captures as always. Magnificent churches and cathedrals and beautiful skies for the perfect backdrop! Hope your week is going well!


    January said...

    As always nindot jud kaau imo shots.

    Jenn said...

    For some reason the last photo makes me think of enchanted kingdom. Nag mukhang castle yung church! hahaha! Great shots as usual. Love the facade taken from the garden. :-)

    1ondoncalling said...

    There are so many wonderful churches in your country!

    ☮Pinay Travel Junkie☮ said...

    wow! the images are stunning! should visit someday!

    dodong flores said...

    Nice photos, Bai. superb ang last photo...

    RJ said...

    Kung mahusay lang akong magsulat, parang ang sarap gumawa ng novel na ang setting ay nasa Jaro. ...ganda ng simbahan! I am a full-blooded Ilonggo pero hindi pa ako nakarating sa Iloilo.

    Thanks for taking me to my ancestors' birthplace. U

    Anonymous said...

    Today is the feast of Our Lady candles and you had reflected a great picture and scenery of the Cathedaral; I am from Jaro and I never had celebrated the Jaro fiesta for such a long time.But I believe the miraculous statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the Baby Jesus. It will be great if you could write the history of when exactly was this statue brought by the Spaniards when they came to iloilo and I was told of the vision of the statue of BVM in Jaro about a local story about the Candelaria.I believe about the manifestation of the statue increasing in size.I wonder if you have any information of this nature.
    God bless you more for capturing a beautiful pictures of our Lady of Candles.
    God's love and light,

    Lantaw said...

    @Eva, I'll try to research on that

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