Little is known about Don Cristino Javellana, goberdanorcillo of the then city of Jaro, Iloilo during the late 1890s. In 1893, the Maura law was passed with the aim of making the municipal governments in the Philippine Islands more effective and autonomous. One of the changes that this law brought about was the reorganization of certain structures of town governments, among which was the designation of town head’s title, that is, gobernadorcillo, also as capitan municipal, effective 1895. Thus, Cristino Javellana was fondly called Capitan Tinong.
The limited information extracted from memories depicts him as a deeply religious man, a very devout Catholic and a benefactor of the church. From these few stories, it was learned that he was among those who helped build the Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Metropolitan Cathedral, which was started in 1864 after Pope Pius IX decreed the establisment of the Diocese of Jaro (now the Archdiocese of Jaro).
Cristino Javellana (born c. 1840) married twice — first, to Baldomera Ledesma (born 26 February 1851), and second, to Hermenigilda Hinolan. By his first wife, he had five children — Juana (born 26 December 1870), Perpetua (born 8 April 1873, Note: Her baptismal record described her race as “white”), Maria Cecilia (born 22 November 1874), Melquiades (He became mayor of Buenavista, Guimaras in 1918), and Cirilo (born 1886). Juana married Celerino Grecia, Perpetua married Antonio Alfaraz, Melquiades married Paz Darroca, and Cirilo married Felisa Rosales. Maria Cecilia died as a child.
By his second wife, Cristino Javellana had four children — Maria Consolacion (born 1891), Rosario Dionicia (born 1895), Socorro, and Jose (born 1899). Consolacion married Cirilo Punzalan, Rosario married Pedro Pama (date/place of marriage: 23 April 1924/Pototan, Iloilo), Socorro never married, while Jose married Cresenciana Papas (date/place of marriage: 1 March 1925/Talisay, Cebu).
Cristino Javellana was the sixth of the nine children of Don Manuel Javellana and Doña Gertrudis Lopez. His siblings were Escolastica (married to Geronimo Jiz de Ortega), Petra (married to Sixto Golez), Quintana (born 1840), Narcisa (born 1842, married to Simon Grecia), Inocencia (born 1849, married to Juancho Jamora), Mariano (born 1851, married to Crispina Gamboa), Florentina, Cristeta, Carmen (married to Miguel Jayme y Lopez) and Marcelina (married to Victoriano Catagui).
To honor Cristino Javellana’s contribution to the Church, his remains were interred in one of the 12 columns along the aisle of the St. Elizabeth of Hungary Metropolitan Cathedral in Jaro, together with his son Cirilo. Carved in the gravestone were:
RESTOS MORTALES DE
D. CRISTINO Y CIRILO JAVELLANA
(Mortal remains of D. Cristino and Cirilo Javellana)
D is the abbreviation for the title Don, which is an acronym for the Spanish phrase De Origin Noble or in English, Of Noble Origin. Don is an honorific title during the Spanish colonial period for someone who has been elected into public office or someone who is wealthy. His title Don and his having served as gobernadorcillo indicate that Cristino Javellana was a principalía, a member of the ruling class in Jaro, which became a city in 1886 until 1904 when it was downgraded into an arrabal (suburb) of Iloilo City by the Americans.
The gobernadocillo was elected from among the ranks of the principalía by twelve senior cabezas de barangay. He was the primus inter pares of the cabezas of a confederation of barangays that made up a municipality. Cristino Javellana was also referred to as a cabeza de barangay in other documents.
Seventy-four people were interred inside the Jaro Cathedral — 67 were lay persons and 7 were former bishops of Jaro. According to Armando Suñe, author of The Lapidas of Jaro Cathedral (2009), Cristino Javellana and the 73 others were given “esteemed places” inside the Cathedral because of their “admirable deeds of philanthropy, religious piety and dedication to the Church, particularly their significant contribution in building this beautiful and sturdy Cathedral, the home and sanctuary of Our Lady of Candles.”
Below the name Cristino in the gravestone, the following were carved:
DESCANSA EN PAZ!
SOMBRE TU TUMBA LAS
FLORES DEL RECUERDO
NUNCA SE MARCHITAN
TU ESPOSA, HIJOS Y NIETOS
(Rest in Peace! The flowers that bloom in your grave will keep your memory forever. Your wife, children and grandchildren.)
There is a common dateline in the tombstone that reads “JARO, ILOILO, I. F., FEBRERO 4, 1918”. The date may not mean the day of death considering that there are two remains in one tomb and it would be improbable for father and son to have died on the same day. It could mean the day their remains were transferred from their respective tombs outside of the church to their final resting place inside the cathedral. “I. F.” stands for “Islas Filipinas”.
When facing the altar, the tomb that hosts the remains of Cristino and Cirilo Javellana can be found on the fourth column at the left side of the aisle from the front entrance, near the third station of the Via Crucis (Jesus falls for the first time). On the same column can be found the tomb labeled “FAMILIA JULIO JAVELLANA” hosting the remains of Maximo Jalandoni and his sister Sofia Jalandoni de Javellana, second wife of Julio Javellana, a cousin of Cristino Javellana.