bell_tower__jaro_cathedral.jpgjaro-campanario.jpg 

Article by Joy Rosal-Sumagaysay, first published in 1996 in the Souvenir Program of the Nuestra Sra. de la Candelaria.

Photo courtesy of Jun Rojas 

The belfry, campanario, or belltower is a given fixture of every Catholic church. It houses the bells, which basically toll the hours, call the people to mass, and announce important events.

During the Spanish times, the belfry also served as watchtower against invaders. Such was the case of the Jaro belfry built around 1744. Made of bricks and limestone blocks, it was a three story tower 29 meters high. On July 17, 1787, the campanario was heavily damaged by a strong earthquake. Reconstruction only began in 1833 under the supervision of an Augustinian friar, Fr. Jesse Alvarez.

Records show that between 1933-1881, another earthquake damaged this belfry. Msgr. Mariano Cuartero, the first bishop of Jaro, had this completely restored in 1881. However, the Jaro belfry suffered its third major destruction on January 25, 1948, when the earthquake named Lady Caycay swept through the entire Panay region.

About a decade ago, the reconstruction of the Jaro Belfry was began under the supervision of the National Historical Institute. It is intended as a viewing deck and tourist center.

P.S. from Inday Hami:

My 91-year old Lola (grandma) always refers to it as the campanario. She would mention about the life-size statues that stood on every corner of the belfry’s first level. There was also a huge clock. When the belfry was reconstructed in the mid- 80s, the second and third levels were modified.

Although born in Bacolod, I consider myself a proud Jareño and my image of Jaro would always be associated with the 3Cs–the campanario, the Cathedral and the Candelaria.

When I see that towering terracotta hue of the campanario at the plaza, I know that I’m back home in Jaro, Iloilo.hami-at-campanario.jpg

P.S. No. 2 from Inday Hami:

For lovers of church heritage architecture, check out this definitive guide: Regalado (Ricky) Trota Jose’s book Simbahan published by the Ayala Museum, Makati, Philippines.

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One Response to “The Jaro Belfry — an Iloilo landmark”

  1. gracia Says:

    amiga…

    na addict ko basa articles mo….seen hami finally in this article…

    nami nami gid sang vision mo megs…bout iloilo… kag tani bacolod man…para mabal-an ko man heritage sang negros….

    gracia

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bell_tower__jaro_cathedral.jpgjaro-campanario.jpg 

Article by Joy Rosal-Sumagaysay, first published in 1996 in the Souvenir Program of the Nuestra Sra. de la Candelaria.

Photo courtesy of Jun Rojas 

The belfry, campanario, or belltower is a given fixture of every Catholic church. It houses the bells, which basically toll the hours, call the people to mass, and announce important events.

During the Spanish times, the belfry also served as watchtower against invaders. Such was the case of the Jaro belfry built around 1744. Made of bricks and limestone blocks, it was a three story tower 29 meters high. (more…)

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