Jaro Cathedral | Photo Credit
Jaro is the largest among the seven districts in Iloilo City. The district is considered a symbol of prominence since several wealthy Spanish-Filipino families hail from this district. Thus explains all the mansions and ancestral houses found in this part of the city.
To several travellers, a trip to Iloilo wouldn’t be complete without stepping foot in Jaro District.
What to See
Jaro Cathedral and Belfry
Jaro Cathedral is the seat of catholic devotion in Iloilo. It is home to the image of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria (Our Lady of the Candles) and is actually declared the national shrine of the said patron by the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of the Philippines. The church has a Romanesque Revival style with all male saints placed on the main pillars.
Across the big church is the belfry. An earlier church used to stand beside the belfry but it was destroyed by an earthquake.
Being the home of the elite back in the days, Jaro district boasts of several mansions that are now considered as heritage sites. A few of it are open to the public including:
- Casa Mariquit
It may not have been officially turned to a museum but Casa Mariquit houses memorabilias and vintage items such as gramophone, grandfather clock, old copy of Jose Rizal’s El Filibusterismo and many others. The house is still intact including its original furniture and old framed pictures.
Former Philippine Vice President Fernando Lopez used to live in the house with his wife as it was inherited to her by her father.
- Magdalena Jalandoni House
Not too far away from Jaro Cathedral stands the family house of Magdalena Jalandoni, a prolific writer who survived the Philippine Revolution, the Filipino-American War and the Japanese Occupation. Her house is turned into a museum dedicated to her and her works.
- Lopez Heritage House
Lopez Heritage House, or simply Lopez Mansion and Nelly Garden by the locals, is a grandiose structure built by Don Vicente Lopez and Doña Elena Hofileña in 1928. It is prominent for its very wide facade showing the influence of Western aesthetics. The most regal of all, it is considered as Queen of Heritage Houses in Iloilo and declared a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Institute.
- Old Municipal Hall of Jaro
Built in 1933, the structure used to be the seat of government of the former city of Jaro in Iloilo Province before it became one of the districts of Iloilo City. It was then used as Jaro Police Headquarters, Jaro Health Center and Jaro Fire Station before it was donated to the National Museum of the Philippines in 2014.
- Lizares Mansion
Lizares Mansion is one of the most popular heritage sites in Iloilo even up to this day. Built by Don Emiliano Lizares in 1937, the mansion which is a mixture of American and Spanish architecture was sold to the Dominicans in 1963. The Lizares compound is where the Angelicum School Iloilo (private, Catholic school) is currently located with the mansion serving as the school’s chapel. Come December, the mansion is a popular destination for sight-seeing as its becomes alive with all its Christmas decorations and lights.
- Lopez-Vito Ancestral House
Lopez-Vito Ancestral House stands next to Jaro Cathedral, separated only by a small street. It is currently being used as a branch of Isla Bank.
- Casa Sanson y Montinola
Walking distance from Lopez Mansion is the Casa Sanson y Montinola, also known as Sanson y Montinola Antillan House. This old structure next to Collegio de San Jose can’t be missed because you will surely notice how it remains well-preserved even up to this day. While there’s obviously no inhabitant, the house usually becomes alive during Jaro fiesta in February.
- Don Joaquin Ledesma Ancestral House
The mansion of Don Joaquin Ledesma stands near Jaro Cathedral and is next to Lopez-Vito Ancestral House. While it’s definitely a treasure back then, it has started to deteriorate over the years. Nevertheless, it remains an eye-catcher within the busy area of Jaro.
- Locsin Mansion
At the back of Lopez-Vito Ancestral House stands Locsin Ancestral Mansion. Nothing much is said about this mansion and it remains closed to the public up to this day.
- Rodrigo Montinola House
This ancestral house is located a few meters away from Don Joaquin Ledesma Ancestral House.
Central Philippine University
Established in 1905, Central Philippine University (popularly referred to as CPU) is the second American university in the Philippines. It provides instruction from the basic education up to the post-graduate levels. This more than a hundred year old institution is one of the top performing schools in the country especially in Nursing and Engineering. It is also one of the few ISO certified institutions in the country.
It’s library, the Henry Luce Library III is the biggest library in Western Visayas. It houses more than 200,000 volumes of interesting collections like the United Nation documents, World War II documents and Asian Archaeological artifacts.
Events and Festivals
Date: February 2
Jaro Fiesta is one of the biggest events not just in the city but the whole of Iloilo. Devotees from all over Panay would usually flock Jaro Cathedral to celebrate. Mass starts as early as 4:00 AM and every hour or so thereafter. A procession around Jaro Cathedral takes place in the afternoon.
During this day, classes in Jaro and nearby districts are suspended due to road closure and heavy traffic.
There are several ways to get around Jaro.
Jeepney is the most common and cheapest way to get around Iloilo City. Minimum fare is P8.50. From city proper to almost all points of interest in the city, fare is only minimum.
Jeepneys from the towns of Alimodian, Leon and San Miguel have terminals in Jaro Public Market to load and unload passengers. Meanwhile, jeepneys from central towns including Cabatuan, Lambunao, Calinog and Maasin are only allowed up to Ungka Terminal.
Pavia jeepneys pass by Jaro Plaza to get to La Paz. Leganes jeepneys also pass by Jaro Plaza via El 98 Street to get to SM City and downtown area.
From these terminals or unloading areas, you can ride either Jaro CPU, Jaro Liko NFA or Jaro Liko Tagbak to get to your destinations in the city.
Taxi is a convenient way to get around the city. You can hail a taxi almost anywhere and have it drop you to any spot in the city. Flag down is P40.00 and goes higher depending on your destination. When traveling within the city, know that it’s always metered. Never agree on a fixed price even if you are traveling from city proper to whatever district you are heading to. Fixed pricing is only commonly used when traveling from the city to different towns in the province.
To save you from having to hail a taxi on the street, you can call one of the several taxi operators to send a unit to pick you up from your place of origin. Here are some of the biggest operators with their contact numbers:
- GDR – (033) 321 1254
- Light of Glory – (033) 320 5147
- Quarry Taxi – (033) 501 0725
If you’re from the hotel, you can ask the front desk to contact a taxi for you.
If you are interested, you can rent a car to take you around. The cost of self-drive rental starts from P2,000 for 24 hours and can go higher depending on the type of car. For tour with a driver, rent starts at P3,500 for eight hours.
To explore the city on two wheels, you can rent a motorcycle that is being offered by several businesses such as Iloilo Motorcycle Rentals in Jaro. You can also use third party booking such as book2wheel.com.
Iloilo is a bike-friendly city. The stretch of Benigno Aquino Avenue (also known as Diversion Road) has lanes designated for bikers and joggers.
Pedicabs are typically used in villages and minor streets but not in major highways.
Where To Stay
Bed and Bath Serviced Suites
Diversion Road, Cuartero Highway, Jaro, Iloilo City | (033) 323 3333 | +63 977 833 3000
68 Commission Civil St, Jaro, Iloilo City, Iloilo | (033) 393 4637
El Haciendero Private Hotel
1177 Jayme Street, Brgy. Our Lady Of Fatima, Jaro, Iloilo City | (033) 320 9460
61 Commission Civil St, Jaro, Iloilo City | (033) 329 2987
Iloilo Budget Inn
Castilla St, Jaro, Iloilo City | (033) 320 9819
Lelac Inn & Jess Cafe
126 Lopez Jaena, Jaro, Iloilo City | (032) 329 3113
Lopez Jaena St, Jaro, Iloilo City
Pearli View Hotel
Jaro, Iloilo City | +63 917 798 7773
Where To Eat
Afrique’s | Castilla St. | (033) 320 0554
Bavaria | 113 Seminario St. | (033) 329 0078
Buto’t Balat Restaurant | 427 E Lopez St. | (033) 320 3836
Chicken Sari-sari | 50a Commission Civil St. | (033) 329 0485
Jo’S Chicken Inato | 11 Benedicto St. | (033) 321 0234
Mang Inasal | Plaza Rizal St.
Margec’s Cream Horn | E.Lopez St. | (033) 330 3697
Perri Todd’s | 8 Jalandoni St. | (033) 508 2598
Perri Todd’s Grilled Hamburger | Corner Cuartero & Sta. Isabel Sts. | (033) 508 2598
Salvi’s Grill | Jalandoni St. | +63 920 135 8424
Ted’s Oldtimer Lapaz Batchoy | Arguelles Bldg., Corner Plaza Rizal & Arguelles Sts.
Toninos Ristorante | Locsin Subdivision, Cuartero St. | (033) 320 6645
Uncle Tom’s | E Lopez St, San Vicente | (033) 330 4110
Robinsons Mall Jaro
Location: E.Lopez St. corner M.Jaime St., San Vicente, Jaro, Iloilo City
Ang Kamalig | (033) 320 2615
Griller’s Oyster House
Jollibee | (02) 8898 7777
Pub Express | (033) 501 7681
The Katsu Don | 0999 425 4051
Where To Shop
The city proper district has the most number of shops and business but we are only listing those you may find interesting and offer a variety of products.
Malls and Commercial Centers
Savemore Market Jaro | El 98 St. corner Libertad St., Jaro, Iloilo City
Robinson’s Place Jaro | E.Lopez St. corner M.Jaime St., San Vicente, Jaro, Iloilo City
Iloilo Supermart Tabuc Suba | R4, Tabuc Suba, Jaro, Iloilo City
CT Mall Tagbak | R4, Tabuc Suba, Jaro, Iloilo City
Iloilo Society Commercial Tagbak | R4, Tabuc Suba, Jaro, Iloilo City
Puregold Jaro | El 98 St., Jaro, Iloilo City
Ledi Supermart | Benedicto St., Jaro Iloilo City
Chefs and Bakers | Jea 2 Building, E.Lopez St., Jaro, Iloilo City
Baking supplies and equipment
Roger’s Trading | Tabuc Suba, Jaro, Iloilo City
Baking supplies and equipment