The Jaro Cathedral (Filipino: Ang Katedral ng Jaro) in Iloilo was built in 1874 under the management of KGG. Mariano Cuartero, O.P., the first bishop of Jaro. It was destroyed by an earthquake in January 1948. It was later repaired in 1956 by the order of KGG. Jose Ma. Cuenco, the first archbishop of Jaro.
On December 20, 1856, Graciano López Jaena (1856 – 1896), a Filipino journalist, orator, and revolutionary from Iloilo, well known for his written work, La Solidaridad, was baptized in this cathedral.
Now, the Jaro Cathedral is also known as the Nuestra Señora de la Cadelaria (Our Lady of Candles). Notably, Pope John Paul VI conducted a mass in 1982 and set a crown upon the Lady of the Candles, and declared it as the Western Visayas’ Patroness. The statue is carrying a child in her left hand and a lighted candle on the other. It is believed that the lady of candles brings protection and divine illumination to one’s path if the person asks for her help.
Fronting the Jaro Church is the belfry, situated in the Jaro Park. It is preserved by the government officials to give the present, new and coming generations a glimpse of the past. This bell tower historically served as a lookout from sea raiders.
Every February 2, the centuries-old image of the Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria is the main focus of annual Jaro Fiesta. The image is placed in the façade of the church and one can reach the niche through a staircase about 32 steps in each side. Before entering the Jaro Cathedral, a monument of Jesus Christ and a monument of Mother Mary, both inaugurated in February 1925 can be seen. The exterior’s thick and sturdy walls probably made from lime stones and the solid pillars inside the church makes the church tough and strong against several earthquakes and typhoons.
An image of St. Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei and “The Saint of Ordinary Life” can be seen inside the church. Statues of different saints placed in the pillars and the centuries-old chandeliers are some of the features of the church’s interiors.
In 1976, the National Historical Institute proclaimed the Jaro Cathedral as a historical landmark.
Mass Schedule of Jaro Cathedral
Mondays to Saturdays
5:30pm (anticipated mass every Saturday)
Confession: 6:30am (Daily), 4:30pm (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday)
Baptism: 11:00am (Saturday and Sunday)
Pre-Baptismal Seminar: 8:30am to 10:30am (Saturday and Sunday)
Confirmation: 8:00am (First and third Thursday of the month)
Weddings: By appointment except Sundays
Common Wedding: 8:00am (Thursday)
Funeral: By appointment except Sundays
Common Funeral: 2:00pm (Tuesday)
For more information about Jaro Church and appointment of other church services such as sick call, funeral mass in the Barangay, blessing and counseling, please call telephone numbers (+63)(33)329-1625 and (+63)(33)329-3456.
How to get there
Jaro Cathedral is about 18 kilometers south of Iloilo International Airport. From the airport, take the v-hire (van for hire) with SM Supermarket/Jaro-SM City Route with fares usually from P50. Vans usually stop at Jolibee beside SM Supermarket (one of the many SM Malls in Iloilo) and the belfry is very much visible from that point.
From the city center, take a Jaro CPU or Jaro Liko route jeepney with fare usually from P7. Just don’t forget to tell the driver to drop you in front of the church or to the nearest point and take a short walk.