1
photographed and written byphotographed and written by:: Fergus DucharmeFergus Ducharme,, assisted by:assisted by: Joema...
2
©
3
©
The driving distance from our jumping off point at the
SM City parking lot in Iloilo to Santa Barbara’s Church
is appr...
4
©
5
©
The story starts, according to the Augustinian Archives, in 1617 where the
Augustinians were ministering to the faithf...
6
©
7
©
The only surviving Catmon tree in the region.
8
©
[as an aside, we were told by one of the local police officers at the foot of the
Catmon tree, that horticulturalists ...
9
©
The Augustinian Seal
The seal can be seen just above
this beautiful Stained Glass window
on the facade of the church.
10
©
As with all major religious construction projects in this era, the building of the
church was done through 'forced la...
11
©
The facade of the church is quite plain, consistent with classical style of
architecture. Four sets of Tuscan Pilaste...
12
©
13
©
Across from the Wall of Remembrance is the actual east side wall of the church.
14
©
Moving still further into the garden area we arrive at the Adoration Chapel.
15
©
And finally, we see the Freedom Bell that tolled during the Revolution to signal the final
victory!
16
©
As we leave the Adoration Centre we enter an area of the gardens which is termed the
Garden of the Saints.
In a very ...
17
©
But by far the most intriguing art pieces in the area are six murals depicting various
scenes involving the General M...
18
©
19
©
The entire Garden area is capped off by a larger than life size statue of the Virgin of
the Baranguay in a sort of a ...
20
©
So then we moved into the west side of the church, into a sort of quadrangle, it is
beautiful and reminds me of "Old ...
21
©
As we proceeded up the beautifully laid tiled walkways we came upon a statue of St
Jean Vianney, the patron Saint of ...
22
©
On our right is the western wall of the Church itself and on the left is the Convento and
the Parochial School of San...
23
©
And then straight ahead is the balcony with its intricate scrolled woodwork and part of
the Parochial School.
24
©
And then looking back towards to back of the church we see the shrine of the blessed
virgin in the middle of the quad...
25
©
OK, so now, what's to do Lord, what's to do? We're out on the street in front of the
church. Do we go into the church...
26
©
Statue of Martin Delgado
in Santa Barbara Victory Plaza
The huge 30 foot by 60 foot Philippine
flag marking the locat...
27
©
The officials of the Revolutionary Government were Roque Lopez, president; Vicente
Franco, vice president and secreta...
28
©
Santa Barbara Town Hall, anchors the
Victory Plaza area of the Town.
Santa Barbara Centennial Museum, the
repository ...
29
©
The huge brick and stone interior is impressive, the church is laid out in the form of a
Roman Cross with the sanctua...
30
©
The side chapels are small and house various statues along with additional seating.
Here are some of the side chapel ...
31
©
32
©
As we move throughout the church, we note that there are many indications of damage
throughout the church that we suf...
33
©
34
©
In the 1960s major work was undertaken to restore the church to its former
grandeur and much of the exterior work hav...
35
©
We recently learned in a report filed by Montesa Grino-Caoyonan of the
iloilonewstoday.com that it was announced on O...
36
©
On the other hand, Defensor said, he has not made any promise but will try to convince
the senator to allocate an add...
37
©
It should be exciting times in Santa Barbara over the next few years, seeing their
church really restored to its orig...
38
©
39
©
40
If you have suggestions or recommendations on how we can
improve our service for you please send your ideas along to:
i...
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The Church of Santa Barbara, Sta Barbara, Iloilo a special Church in the Philippines Revolution

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The cradle of the Revolution in Philippines an old, historic Church, the precursors of which date back to 1615 when the Augustinian Friars arrived in the area of what was then known as Catmon to minister and evangelize the area's faithful. It is a truly important church and is another of the handful of 'must see' churches in the region.

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The Church of Santa Barbara, Sta Barbara, Iloilo a special Church in the Philippines Revolution

  1. 1. 1 photographed and written byphotographed and written by:: Fergus DucharmeFergus Ducharme,, assisted by:assisted by: JoemarieJoemarie AcallarAcallar andand NiloNilo JimenoJimeno.. proudly present:proudly present: Another visit toAnother visit to the Church of Santa Barbara,the Church of Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, IloiloSanta Barbara, Iloilo ©
  2. 2. 2 ©
  3. 3. 3 © The driving distance from our jumping off point at the SM City parking lot in Iloilo to Santa Barbara’s Church is approximately 20 kilometres. Which translates into a driving time of about 30 to 40 minutes.
  4. 4. 4 ©
  5. 5. 5 © The story starts, according to the Augustinian Archives, in 1617 where the Augustinians were ministering to the faithful in the community then known as Catmon. The name of the settlement: Catmon was chosen because of the proliferation of Catmon trees in the area. Unfortunately, over the years the Catmon trees have disappeared from the region and there is only one left to be found adjacent to the current Municipal Police Station and Victory Square.
  6. 6. 6 ©
  7. 7. 7 © The only surviving Catmon tree in the region.
  8. 8. 8 © [as an aside, we were told by one of the local police officers at the foot of the Catmon tree, that horticulturalists and arbourists have tried many, many times over the years to replicate the tree in order to save the species, but unfortunately, their efforts have so far been in vain.] The 'village' was located on a rich and fertile plain which was fed by the Tigum and Aganan rivers. It became quite prosperous by producing rice, corn, sugar, mango and tobacco. It was a visita (chapel) of the Jaro Vicarate. It was only in 1760 that the settlement became a Pueblo (town) and the church an independent parish. It's patron Saint was Santa Barbara and the parish priest was Friar Juan Ferrer. It was not until Friar Francisco Aguerria arrived in 1845 that construction of the present church was started. The startof the church construction conincided with the establishment of the road network in the region. The roads were being built to link Cabatuan, Maasin, Janiuay, Leon and Alimodian. This is an Augustinian Church and as with all others it bears the Augustinian seal on the facade of the church.
  9. 9. 9 © The Augustinian Seal The seal can be seen just above this beautiful Stained Glass window on the facade of the church.
  10. 10. 10 © As with all major religious construction projects in this era, the building of the church was done through 'forced labour'. Under the laws of the Repartamiento all males over the age of 16 had to provide 40 days of compulsory service on Spanish owned farms, workshops and on public works projects often in 'slave-like' conditions. Funding for the church was raised from each family in the area that had to pay a 'tax' of between 8 and 12 reales (between P1.00 and P1.50). And the wealthy coulod 'escape' this duty by paying for their freedom. The main church building used stone quarried in and transported from not so nearby Leon, Alimodian and Tubungan. The wood used: mulawon and mangle was also carried from the mountains and hillsides of those same municipalities. The masons, carpenters and other skilled tradesmen came from far and wide to work on the project. And in a brief history provided to us by the church we find that there were no formal plans for the church. It is said that on close inspection of the walls and posts in the church and ancillary buildings that sketches showing the proposed designs and plans can be seen.
  11. 11. 11 © The facade of the church is quite plain, consistent with classical style of architecture. Four sets of Tuscan Pilasters divide the face into three sections. The centre section is the main entrance and the other two house niches containing the statues of The Blessed Virgin and the Scared Heart. Above, on the second level are three stained glass windows indicating the location of the Choir Loft. Each of the stained glass windows is 'capped' with the crests of the Pope (on the left side), the Augustinians (on the right). Finally, the Cupola has an additional niche containing a statue of Santa Barbara. Moving to the east side of the Church we pass into the beginning of the garden area. In this area we wind a wall which commemorates the friars and priests that have served the parish since it's inception. The remembrance wall was unveiled in November of 1998 to remember the heroism of General Martin T Delgado during his heroic fight during the Revolution of 1896-1899 against Spain.
  12. 12. 12 ©
  13. 13. 13 © Across from the Wall of Remembrance is the actual east side wall of the church.
  14. 14. 14 © Moving still further into the garden area we arrive at the Adoration Chapel.
  15. 15. 15 © And finally, we see the Freedom Bell that tolled during the Revolution to signal the final victory!
  16. 16. 16 © As we leave the Adoration Centre we enter an area of the gardens which is termed the Garden of the Saints. In a very tranquil and quiet settling lush with greenery we see statues of various saints, we have only included two to provide an example of what is available in the area.
  17. 17. 17 © But by far the most intriguing art pieces in the area are six murals depicting various scenes involving the General Martin T Delgado and the Revolutionary era.
  18. 18. 18 ©
  19. 19. 19 © The entire Garden area is capped off by a larger than life size statue of the Virgin of the Baranguay in a sort of a band shell in the yard the parochial school which is part of the church complex.
  20. 20. 20 © So then we moved into the west side of the church, into a sort of quadrangle, it is beautiful and reminds me of "Old Spain". My first thought was that it almost looks like a Hacienda would have looked in Old Mexico or Spain. And don't forget the builders of this and other churches in Panay were Augustinian Friars who travelled to Philippines from their original postings in Mexico. Here's the view that greeted us as we turned the corner into this area.
  21. 21. 21 © As we proceeded up the beautifully laid tiled walkways we came upon a statue of St Jean Vianney, the patron Saint of Priests and next to him is the statue of St Lorenzo Ruiz.
  22. 22. 22 © On our right is the western wall of the Church itself and on the left is the Convento and the Parochial School of Santa Barbara.
  23. 23. 23 © And then straight ahead is the balcony with its intricate scrolled woodwork and part of the Parochial School.
  24. 24. 24 © And then looking back towards to back of the church we see the shrine of the blessed virgin in the middle of the quadrangle.
  25. 25. 25 © OK, so now, what's to do Lord, what's to do? We're out on the street in front of the church. Do we go into the church or cross the street into Victory Square and get into the political history of this place. Well, because a wedding was going on inside, we decided to explore Victory Square and to look into the political history of the place. When the Philippine Revolution broke out on Luzon in 1896, it did not spread immediately to Iloilo. The Spanish authorities thought that they could keep the Ilonggos loyal to Spain. Governador–General Basilio Agustin organized the Volunteer Militia in Iloilo to enlist Ilonggos to fight the Tagalog rebels. Being a “mestizo” and having occupied the highest office in his town, Martin T. Delgado was appointed commander of the “voluntaries” in Santa Barbara. Unknown to the Spaniards, however, Delgado had already become a “revolucionario”. On October 28, 1898 he publicly declared himself for the Revolution and took the municipal building. The Revolutionary Government of the Visayas was organized and on November 17, 1898, was formally inaugurated at the town plaza of Santa Barbara. A large crowd of people gathered from many place in Iloilo for the historic occasion. The Philippine flag was raised for the first time outside of Luzon.
  26. 26. 26 © Statue of Martin Delgado in Santa Barbara Victory Plaza The huge 30 foot by 60 foot Philippine flag marking the location of the 'Cry of Santa Barbara' by Martin Delgado.
  27. 27. 27 © The officials of the Revolutionary Government were Roque Lopez, president; Vicente Franco, vice president and secretary of the interior; Venancio Concepcion, secretary of finance; Ramon Avanceňa, secretary of state; Jovito Yusay, secretary of justice; Julio Hernandez, secretary of war; Fernando Salas, secretary general. General Martin T. Delgado was chosen General –in-Chief of the Revolutionary Forces. Santa Barbara became the base of the Revolutionary Forces and from Gen. Delgado launched the campaign to liberate the whole province which culminated in the surrender of Iloilo City by Governor-General de los Rios on December 24, 1898. The victory against Spain was short-lived for the Philippine–American War followed. Gen. Delgado led the same army against Americans from 1899 to 1901. Delgado was forced to surrender on February 2, 1901. Upon the establishment of the civil government, Martin Delgado was appointed as the first provincial Governor of Iloilo and was elected to the same position in the first elections held in 1903. Santa Barbara became a town under American regime and was incorporated into a municipality by the Commonwealth Government. The town began to progress.
  28. 28. 28 © Santa Barbara Town Hall, anchors the Victory Plaza area of the Town. Santa Barbara Centennial Museum, the repository of the rich history of the town and flanked by both the Town Hall, the Church and Victory Plaza. Having spent sometime exploring the rich history of the town, we then proceeded into the church itself. As we mentioned earlier, there was wedding being celebrated and it was still underway.
  29. 29. 29 © The huge brick and stone interior is impressive, the church is laid out in the form of a Roman Cross with the sanctuary forming the centre anchor. The main altar is simply marvellous. It is flanked by, a statue of St Augustine on the right and a statue of St Monica (St Augustine's mother) on the left and Santa Barbara occupies a niche at the very top of the altar overlooking the entire church.
  30. 30. 30 © The side chapels are small and house various statues along with additional seating. Here are some of the side chapel scenes.
  31. 31. 31 ©
  32. 32. 32 © As we move throughout the church, we note that there are many indications of damage throughout the church that we suffered as a result of the many calamities that have befallen this and other similar structures throughout the province. Particularly noteworthy is the earthquake damage suffered as a result of Lady CayCay in 1948 which effectively brought down the church's incredibly beautiful dome shaped ceiling with paintings of the evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. In addition, several large cracks can be seen on most of the walls, evidence of the earthquake damage.
  33. 33. 33 ©
  34. 34. 34 © In the 1960s major work was undertaken to restore the church to its former grandeur and much of the exterior work have been done and included the addition of the main belfry of the church, which for various reasons had not been built as planned since the original church was constructed.
  35. 35. 35 © We recently learned in a report filed by Montesa Grino-Caoyonan of the iloilonewstoday.com that it was announced on October 8, 2012 that "The National Historical Commission Citing the town of Sta. Barbara as one of the historic sites in Iloilo that served an important role in the 1898 Philippine Revolution, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) has allocated a P20-million budget for the rehabilitation of the Sta. Barbara church and convent to preserve the area as one of the national landmarks in the country. NHCP chairman Maria Serena Diokno, who was here last week to inspect the church and convent, said P50 million was the actual budget they allocated for the project that will start early next year. But, she said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) broke down the budget. It allotted P20 million for Phase 1 or the rehabilitation of the church in 2013 while the P30 million budget for phase 2 or the rehabilitation of the convent, will be allocated in 2014. But, since she wants to start the project in full swing, she said she needed to ask for financial assistance from Senator Franklin Drilon through the help of the Iloilo Provincial Government. She said if this is approved, the church will be restored before the Independence Day celebration in Sta. Barbara in 2015, in time for President Benigno Aquino III's visit.
  36. 36. 36 © On the other hand, Defensor said, he has not made any promise but will try to convince the senator to allocate an additional budget. In late 1890's, the church served as the headquarters of the celebrated Ilonggo hero, Gen. Martin Delgado and his forces against the Spaniards and American forces. It was, however, destroyed by an earthquake in 1948. Aside from Sta. Barbara, Diokno also inspected the old capitol building which is currently under restoration and the Iloilo Rehabilitation Center (IRC) which is eyed for conversion as a regional museum.“ We want to thank Marcos Caratao of www.exploreiloilo.com for his permission for us to use the photo below showing the proposed redevelopment plans for the Sta Barbara church property.
  37. 37. 37 © It should be exciting times in Santa Barbara over the next few years, seeing their church really restored to its original beauty and glory!
  38. 38. 38 ©
  39. 39. 39 ©
  40. 40. 40 If you have suggestions or recommendations on how we can improve our service for you please send your ideas along to: info@historicphilippines.com ©

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