San Jose Church: Birthplace of Dinagyang and More
Nothing more defines the heritage of Iloilo City than the Church of San Jose (Iglesia de San José de Placer) located at Plaza Libertad. The church rose to prominence when Iloilo was proclaimed as ayuntamiento, the Spanish equivalent of a city, as it became of part of elite Ilonggos and local Spaniards daily routines. The church together with Plaza Alfonso XII (now Plaza Libertad) played central roles in Ilonggo city life.
The site of the present church may also be the place of the first church constructed in Iloilo City. The previous structure was erected by the Jesuits in 1607 to serve the needs of the military stationed at Punta de Iloilo (present day Iloilo City). Today’s San Jose Church was constructed around 1873, when the newly-named friar Fr. Mauricio Blanco took over the Augustinian house of San Jose. The two storey church was completed with two towers built with a clock and a barometer (which is still present today). A nearby convent was also built at that time.
Renaissance in design, the San Jose Church is simple but very much ornated with Hellenic influence, with Corinthian pillars supporting the central nave. The church is shaped like a Latin Cross with a dome at the center. The altar was renovated in the early 1980s with marble imported from Romblon which added grandeur and beauty. The main altar has Gothic characteristics with its emphasis on height and use of biblical scenes in its ornamentation. A painiting of the Descent of the Holy Spirit is found at the semi circular dome above the main altar.
One of the precious treasures of the church is the image of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary or Nuestra Senora del Rosario. According to historians, the image (Our Lady with the Infant Jesus) was found by Diego Quinones, the commander in chief of the Visayas, during the struggle against the Dutch in 1616. Quinones fell into a hole and found a box when opened contained the image.
Two Augustinians, Fr. Jeronimo Alvarado and Fr. Juan de Morales, the troops’ chaplains, then organized a procession and took the image at Fort San Pedro. Devotion to the image led to establishment of a confradia or confraternity to the Virgin.
Another image of importance is the replica of the original Sto Nino of Cebu which was brought to the church as a gift in 1968, a year later after the devotion to Nino Jesus (Child Jesus) started. The celebration of the Sto Nino’s arrival became what we today call the annual Dinagyang Festival. The arrival of the image at the Old Iloilo Airport was greeted with dancing and parade at the streets of the city which was led by the Confradia del Santo Niño de Cebu – Iloilo Chapter. The image can still be viewed at the right wing of the church. In addition, a relic of the True Cross is encased on the marble where the image sits.
How to get there:
Jeepneyss going to and from Fort San Pedro passes at front of Plaza Libertad. The San Jose Parish Church is bounded by Calle de la Rama, Zamora, and Sto Rosario. It is also walking distance from the new Iloilo City Hall.
Schedule of Services:
5:30 AM Ilonggo
7:00 AM English
8:30 AM English
10:00 AM English
2:30 PM Ilonggo
4:00 PM English
5:30 PM English
7:00 PM Ilonggo
Monday to Saturday
5:00 AM Ilonggo
7:00 AM English
5:30 PM English
Baptism: Saturdays at 11:00 AM
Confession: Tuesdays & Saturdays 4:30 PM
Weddings: By Appointment
Sick Call: By Appointment / Upon Request
Saturday 8AM at Fort San Pedro
NOVENAS & Other Devotions
Monday: Sta Rita
Tuesday: St Joseph
Wednesday: Mother of Perpetual Help
Thursday: Our Lady of Consolation and Cincture
Friday: Sto Nino de Cebu
Holy Rosary: Weekdays at 4:45 PM and Sundays at 11 AM
Tags: Church, Dinagyang, Iloilo City, Metro Iloilo - Guimaras, Visita Iglesia
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