Jaro Belfry in Iloilo - Philippines
Probably there are few tourists in Iloilo who have not gone to see its churches, which are among the most beautiful and historical in the Philippines. One of the most striking and unique is definitely the Jaro Belfry.
Location and Cost
The edifice is at Jaro, one of the districts in Iloilo City. You can board a tricycle or jeepney bound for the area, and you just need to kindly inform the driver to take you to the belfry. It is near the Jaro Plaza, so you can use that place as a landmark. The cost of a jeepney ride by the way, is only Php 7.50. Check with your hotel to see if it is included in the package tour; if it is, they will take care of the transportation for you.
What to See
A belfry of course, is part and parcel of a Catholic Church, but what makes the Jaro Belfry unique is that it has been segregated from the church and stands on its own. Over 28 meters high, its architectural design is simple yet imposing, with traces of Neo Classicism in its appearance. The walls of the structure are a combination of white, grey and a deep shade of red. The statue on its side, plus the lovely trees and greens around it, evoke a feeling of quiet grandeur and a sense of calm.
According to historians, the structure was built in 1744 by the Spaniards, and while the structure was essentially a religious shrine, it also served as a military watchtower. However, in 1787, the Jaro Belfry was heavily damaged by a powerful earthquake. It was not until 1883, several decades later, that any attempt at reconstructing the place began, through the efforts of Father Jesse Alvarez.
Historical records show that in 1881, another quake struck the place and in 1948, another powerful tremor leveled the structure. However, the setbacks were only temporary, and once again, reconstruction was started, and under the supervision of the National Institute, the shrine was rebuilt and declared a National Historical Landmark. Today the Jaro Plaza has become one of the major tourist attractions in the province, and the biggest draw is this edifice, which today has been restored fully.
The Jaro Belfry today i used primarily by tourists and visitors to the city for the purpose of obtaining gorgeous vistas of the city. However, it is also admired for its structure, which ranks as among the most exquisite in Iloilo and the Philippines.