San Jose Church (Iloilo City)
Posted by admin on July 27, 2006
The first church in Iloilo was built by the Jesuits around 1607 to serve the needs of the military stationed in Punta, as Iloilo was then called. However, on 29 April 1617, the Augustinians established San José, a house of the order. They held San José until 1775 when administration was given to the secular clergy. In 1868, Iloilo along with La Paz (Loboc) was given to the Augustinians in exchange for Jaro which had become the seat of the newly founded diocese. Fr. Mauricio Blanco was named prior in 1873 and he started enlarging and repairing an older church built of light material. Later he decided to build a new church of stone and brick, after the Miguelete church of Valencia del Cid (Spain). However, he was unable to fulfill his plans, and stopped when he had completed two stories. He finished the church, added two towers one with a clock and barometer and built a convent. The towers were begun on 14 November 1893. The church was repaired in 1902 under Fr. Manuel Diez, restored in 1945 under architect and engineer Mariano Cacho following plans by Fr. David Caseres. The altars were gilded by Fr. Jesús Fernandez. During World War II, the church was saved from being bombed by the Americans after they received information that Japanese were not holed in the church as they were previously informed. Between 1980-82 the church was renovated, a new marble floor was laid, under the direction of poet-writer, Fr. Gilbert Centina. San José is one of the few parish in the Philippines still under the Augustinians.
Heritage Features: The church’s appeal lies less in ornamentation and more on the rational modulation of forms and spaces. Typically Renaissance in inspiration, the church façade is neatly divided into proportionate vertical modules, pierced by arch and round apertures. The twin bell towers flanking the façade uses composite capitals and has a balustrade running above the fourth floor. The church interior has an arcade of Corinthian columns supporting a faux barrel vault over the nave and groin vaults over the aisle. The main altar has some Gothic touches. A precious treasure of the church is an image of the Nuestra Señora del Rosario discovered by Diego Quiñones during the Dutch siege of Iloilo on 29 September 1614. The statue was brought by Frs. Jerónimo Alvarado and Juan de Morales to the fort, where a cofradía (confraternity) to the Virgin was established. Damaged by a fire which gutted the church ca. 1850, the image was restored in 1873 and 1907.
Location: Bounded by Sto. Rosario, Zamora and de la Rama Sts.