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Travel PH | National Shrine of Our Lady of the Candles - Jaro, Iloilo

What stood out for me during my Panay Island tour are the number of old churches we have seen.  Although this was not the main focus of my sojourn but if given the time and opportunity, I do passby one in the area.

Jaro is just minutes away from Iloilo City town proper.  You can easily reach this place via jeepney and costs only Php8.  Just remember to shout "lugar lang" instead of the usual "para" if you are from Manila.  Take the CPU Jaro Jeep from Town Center.  You can take the same Jeep back as they merely turn around a the Church Plaza.  You can also take a cab, there's a taxi queue or line in front of SM Hypermart.  There's GrabTaxi here as well which we highly recommend if you need a taxi.

Jaro Cathedral or Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral once called is now the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Candles.  In the visayas region, this is the second national shrine next to the Basilica del Sto Nino in Cebu.  Originally built in 1874 by the first Bishop of Jaro it was destroyed in the 1948 earthquake and was repaired in 1956 by then first Archbishop of Jaro, Jose Maria Cuenco.

What struck me as odd or unique is the presence of Our Lady outside of the Cathedral.  Sitting on top of two leading staircases, devotees can walk up and pray to Our Lady encased in glass and one can offer candles at her feet.  

Another unique feature is that the Cathedral is open to the public, except that a huge fence was placed inside of it which for me was first to encounter it.  How odd indeed.

Another oddity is the presence of the belfry separate from the church.  I don't know if its still working, but the belfry was located on the opposite of the road.