Arguably the most prominent structure in all of Iloilo City is the bell tower in Jaro District. Built in 1744 by Father Juan Aguado, the three-storey, 29-meter high belfry was made of bricks and limestone blocks. On January 24, 1948, an Intensity 8.1 earthquake that hit Panay Island destroyed the bell tower.

Jaro belfryPursuant to Resolution No. 2, series of 1984, the National Historical Institute declared the Jaro Belfry as a national historical landmark.

Jaro Metropolitan CathedralAcross the street is the Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral, the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Candles (Santuario Nacional de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria). The first church was built by Father Bernardino Alisen. From 1833 to 1835, Father Jose Alvarez reconstructed the church.

Jaro Metropolitan CathedralThe present cathedral was built in 1874 by Most Reverend Mariano Cuartero, O.P., the first bishop of Jaro. Like the Jaro Belfry, it was destroyed by the 1948 earthquake. In 1956, Most Reverend Jose Maria Cuenco, the first Archbishop of Jaro, ordered the restoration.

Graciano Lopez Jaena and Jaro belfryOn the December 20, 1856, Graciano Lopez Jaena was baptized at the Cathedral of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary.

Note: This is part of LegendHarry‘s July 30-August 8, 2013 Panay Island Backpacking Trip.


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