Jaro Revisited

Taken from Monografias de los Pueblos de la Isla de Pan-ay published in 1899 by Fr. Juan Fernandez, OSA, and translated into English by Professor Jose Espinosa Jr.

Municipal Hall of Jaro, Iloilo (Courtesy of the United Architects of the Philippines)

The name of this town is “Castilianized.” The true one is Salog, which in Visayan means “river”, and also “to deepen”, “to dig under”, “to go deep into the stream,” etc. The river that bathes the town and passes behind the Municipal Hall is named Salog, and from here the town gets its name. Some people from Cabatuan, from Santa Barbara and from Pavia who claimed that the name of Jaro was Tigom were wrong, because Tigom flows into Salog, very near Maasin.

Until 1584,it was a Visita of Ogtong. In this year they gave its own Minister, but annexed to the town of Arevalo. In 1587, they made it an independent parish, but, on October 7 of the same year the Augustinian gave the order to abandon all Ministries in the Visayas, Jaro followed the luck of the rest.

Although the Friars came back in 1590 at the request of Governor General Gomez Perez Dasmariñas, Jaro was still without a parish priest, until 1598, when he raised it to the category of Priorate, because for many years it has been among the most cultured towns of the Visayas and during that very time the delightful and admirable gardens of its vast plain, wherein people of the cultured society of the immediate towns used to take their recreations, were very famous.

Jaro Cathedral and Bell Tower (Courtesy of Life Magazine)

In 1613, the Augustinian Inspector Father Guevara demoted it until 1644 when Dumangas had declined very much. When the latter was demoted, Jaro was a Priorate again and augmented prodigiously in culture and in wealth. In continued being so until 1865 when the Augustinians gave it up for the Episcopal See, although they continued occupying it until 1868.

The old Jaro was near the present church of Mandurriao. In 1668, the parish priest constructed a new church because the old one was in ruins and the Jesuits complained to Bishop Lopez, saying that if the Augustinians were permitted to build a church in Mandurriao without permit from anybody, why were they not permitted to construct one in Suaraga?

However, the Fiscal answered them very adequately that the Augustinians were using their right to construct the parochial church within the limits of the parish without usurping the jurisdiction of anybody as the Jesuits were doing in Suaraga, which was under the Augustinian administration for about one hundred years.

In 1614, the Dutch reduced this town to ashes, and thanks to those who helped, the Dutch were driven away to La Punta. However, with a year’s time it was completely rebuilt. As the jurisdiction of Jaro was immense for it extended to all what the curate of Maasin administers today, the Augustinians thought of transferring the parish to Catmon, today Santa Barbara, so as to obviate the difficulty of the administration, but it remained a plan and it didn’t materialized.

Excluding the lawsuits that the Parish Priest of Jaro had with the Jesuits and those with the Parish Priest of Villa pertaining to jurisdictional boundaries, they still had another on who should administer the Spaniards, the Chinese, and the mestizos living in Jaro, which Bishop Bayot resolved on June 28, 1697 in favor of Jaro.

A scene from Jaro market (Courtesy of the University of Wisconsin)

Independent of the lawsuits on the possession of Mandurriao and Canipaan, which will be discussed accordingly later, the residents of Jaro had several others with the Jesuit Fathers. Two of them did not last long. The Jareños ended it by beating black and blue the cow and the cattle tenders of the Jesuits so that they would not go to any parcel of land in the Jarense territory anymore. Also, so that the workers of the garden that the Jesuits claimed to have founded would not be unemployed.

We mention also the litigation of Datag, which the Jareños won through legal proceedings. In order that the readers shall have an idea about it, we transcribed a document of the Principalia (Board of Town Officers):

Through us, and in the name of the rest of the Principales and timauas, Don Augustin Manlabi, Don Pedro Salora, Don Juan Benegat, Don Diego Ilario, Don Gaspar, Don Ph. Mamba, present Governor of the district of Jaro, encomienda of his Majesty, its Principales and Cabezas de Barangay in it and in the Cabecera of this town too action and precaution on time to disclose and to say freely and formally before you that three days before this date, as many as fifty heads of cattle, the big ones among them are more or less females, have been smuggled and placed by the Colegio de la Compañia of the Iloilo Port in Datag, which fences and guarded by men on horseback and on foot, lands near the town of Jaro and to which they belong, less than one-fourth of a league away from the church of the said Matrix.

Their intention to hoard a big number of cattle to start an estancia (ranch) has been consistent and verified to be a prejudice and a very grave damage to our sown lands and cultivated fields, on which depend the subsistence of our families and the payment of the tribute besides the lands that are taken from us. And for the same matter we have to look after ourselves or all the others shall be obligated in the course of time to abandon and leave our cultivated lands, our property for which we have the right.

Your honor, as the Higher Judge of this Province, to whom His Majesty, by repeated government orders, entrusts the benefaction and protection of the natives, with this copy of information, attend to what is being alluded and deign to order to supersede in the prosecution of said claim. Give us back what has been taken from us. Above all things, we protest the damages and impairments which otherwise will ensue to us and which will worsen.

With fairness and in truth, without any malice, we do protest and ask for your magnificent protection. Moreover, your Honor, we are appealing that our written petition last year of ’66 be granted to us, for we do not have one this year. (Signatures of the complainants followed.)

When Second Lieutenant Bernabe Lopez was commissioned to go to Datag and to declare the exactness of the document, he returned by saying that everything was certain, and in his power rendered judgment in favor of Jaro.

He must order and so ordered: that the said Reverend Father Rector within six days of the announcement of this judicial decree shall drive the cattle outside of this land, leaving the natives free. It’s a pity that the damages and impairments, which would be increasing should be charged to them, if the said condition of taking out of the place the cattle had not been followed yet.

And so he resolved it, ordered and signed the decree given on December 31 of that year, because the current seal of the year had not arrived from Manila:

= Juan Tirado =
Before me, Bernabe Lopez, Public Scrivener

In 1725, Governor General Marques de Torrecampo wanted to favor the small farmers against the landed estate owners, who would take everything, and ordered the small farmers not to work by day neither by hour in the farms or the haciendas. However, the rich people of Jaro clamored so much and made so many petitions, that the situation contained the way it was before it occurred to Marques to give the order.

Jaro had for its Titular the “Nativity of the Blessed Virgin”, but on October 3, 1615 it was empowered to choose for its Patroness the “Purification of Our Lady”, which continues until today.

Bishop’s Palace (Courtesy of Life Magazine)

In 1865, His Holiness Pope Piux IX created the Bishopric of Jaro, and in April 1868 the first Bishop Fray Mariano Cuartero took possession of the new Diocese. Ultimately, Jaro was elevated to the category of City.

The Visitas of Jaro were: Mandurriao, its Titular the Immaculate Conception; Bolocaue, its Patroness, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin; Canipaan, Titular, St. Augustine; Catmon, Patron, St. Peter; Adlao, Titular, San Nicolas de Tolentino; Bagtason, Patron, St. Lawrence; Logon, Titular, St. Jerome.

Its population today is very small, because nine parishes were taken from it.

It is bounded on the North by Pavia and Mandurriao, on the South by La Paz, on the East by Leganes, on the West by Molo.

Productions: Rice, sugar, mongos, tobacco, vegetable.

Jaro’s industries and trade merge with those of Iloilo.

Seminario de San Vicente Ferrer (Courtesy of Loven Ramos)

Public structures: Cathedral made of stone, with a tower separated from it; Episcopal palace whose mezzanine is made of stone, the main floor made of poor wood; good parochial house whose ground floor was made of stone, the upper floor made of wood; the spacious Conciliar Seminary; beautiful college for girls belonging to the Daughters of Charity; small hospital made of stone; cemetery with stone enclosure and with a chapel; magnificent Town Hall made of stone; good group of houses and good roads except the one going to Leganes which was very poor.

Population: In 1884 it had 24,756; In 1894, it went down to 5,346 owing to the above-mentioned cause.

Sixty-two (62) Augustinians have been curates of Jaro from 1584 to 1856.

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Published on September 19, 2011 at 9:16 am  Comments Off on Jaro Revisited  
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