The Feast of Our Lady of Candles in Jaro, Iloilo City

Thousands of devotees gather at the Jaro Cathedral in Iloilo City every 2nd day of February to celebrate the feast of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria (Our Lady of Candle).

The Our Lady of Candles Shrine (photo credit:

This is the reason why Jaro is considered by many as the religious capital of Western Visayas. This is also the time when some Jareños especially abroad would come home and celebrate the feast with their family.

This year's Fiesta Queen is Ray Paulette Antonia-Solinap, and will be crowned in glittering ceremonies at the Jaro Plaza gymnasium – a fiesta tradition that has been carried out for generations.

The Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral, is the site of the miraculous image of Virgin Mary, which was canonically crowned by Pope John Paul II in 1982. It is the only religious image in the Philippines to have personally crowned by a Pope.

The Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral
The church is built in 1864 with fossil stones of creamy color compared to most of the Hispanic structures in Iloilo that were built over bricks and sandstones. Its baroque architecture features designs of entwining of many neoclassic features. Stained glass windows of Romanesque designs contribute to unique balance between baroque and classic style. The dominance of baroque style is seen through the small rose window at the upper half of the church's facade, which is typical to gothic churches.

The Jaro church plays a big part in the history of Iloilo. It is considered as the heart of Catholicism in the island and perhaps the most important shrine in the region.

Jaro, one of the six districts of Iloilo City, originally name was Salog or Saro, was the center of religious and economic power in the Visayas during the Spanish rule of the Philippines. It has been one of the more economically-advanced areas of Iloilo City even during the Spanish occupation of the Philippines and probably the richest town of the entire colony (1521-1898).

Historical artifacts indicate that the town had once conducted trade with China and Siam (Thailand) due to its port along the navigable river that ran through the town.

Jaro became a city in 1886 until it was later absorbed by the city of Iloilo along with the neighboring towns of Molo, Mandurriao, La Paz and Arevalo in the early 20th century when all economic activities were shifted to the port of Iloilo.



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