A belfry or more commonly known as a bell tower or a campanario in the Philippines usually comes along as a package with the church. It houses the church bells used to call the people for mass or to signal important events and during the Spanish colonization, it served as a perfect watch tower against intruders.
The Belfry of Jaro stands out as it is one of the few belfries in the country separated from the church. It lies just outside the plaza of Jaro and is facing Jaro Cathedral. To get a closer look at this historical landmark, you can ride a Jaro Liko or Jaro CPU jeepney for only Php7.50 pesos. if you want convenience, you can always board a cab and ask the driver to take you to Jaro Cathedral. You will not miss it as it
The Belfry Story
Records show that this religious structure was built by the Spaniards in the year 1744. Though it was primarily built for religious purposes, it also became handy as a military watch tower and as a clock tower at the same time. It was originally made from bricks, with fossil and lime stones following a Neoclassic architecture.
On July 17, 1787, the Belfry was heavily damaged by an earthquake leaving only the base. It was only in 1833, spearheaded by Augustinian friar, Father Jesse Alvarez, that the belfry was completely rebuilt. According to historians, a second earthquake hit the belfry sometime between 1833 and 1881. Msgr. Mariano Cuartero, the first bishop of Jaro, initiated the reconstruction. On January 25, 1948, the structure was shaken by earthquake Cayca resulting to minimal damages and another reconstruction took place. This time it was under the supervision of the National Institute. After the shrine was rebuilt it was declared as a National Historical Landmark.
Today, the Jaro Belfry has retained its grandeur and is one of most visited spots in the city. Although there is still much room left for improvement, especially its interior, Jaro Belfry stands magnificently as it depicts the unwavering sprits of the Ilonggos that no earthquake or any challenge could break apart.