Often times, the rich heritages are neglected – just like Iloilo’s Plaza Libertad, formerly known as “Plaza Alfonso XII.” This plaza was Iloilo’s symbol of rising from an uninhabitable land to an internationally known cosmopolitan city in the 1890s. The plaza existed together with the San Jose Church and its beautiful garden maintained by local elites in the early 1870s. It has been said that when the Ayuntamiento of Iloilo in the early 1890s took over, the place was at its worst. 8)

plaza libertad

Paula and I walked around a very historical site: the place where Governor General Diego de los Rios surrendered to the Filipinos revolutionary troops of General Martin Delgado, Christmas of 1898 – ending the 333 years of Spanish colonization of the Philippines. The place where the triumphant revolutionaries first raised the Flag of the First Philippine Republic on Iloilo City. The first site where in 1968, the Dinagyang Festival was held to honor the arrival of the Santo Nino de Cebu.

san jose church

I’ve been a local for 21 years and it is only today that I have discovered something new about the rich past of my own city. It was an experience that took me deeper – deeper than just the appreciation of sites, buildings, natural heritages, and people. It was an experience no teacher could ever impart. 🙂