Oton is a first class municipality in the province of Iloilo, Philippines. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 82,572.
Oton is politically subdivided into 37 barangays.
- Abilay Norte
- Abilay Sur
- Batuan Ilaud
- Batuan Ilaya
- Bita Norte
- Bita Sur
- Cabolo-an Norte
- Cabolo-an Sur
- Poblacion East
- Poblacion North
- Poblacion South
- Poblacion West
- Pulo Maestra Vita
- San Antonio
- San Nicolas
- Santa Clara
- Santa Monica
- Santa Rita
- Tagbac Norte
- Tagbac Sur
The Augustinian Friars first arrived in Oton as early as 1572 under Friar Martin Rada from Dumangas where he had established ‘the church’ in southern Panay having been sent there from the town of Pan-ay in Capiz in 1566, because of his success in evangelizing the population and his ability in the languages of the region. According to history the first Church built by Friar Rada (date unknown) was destroyed in 1614 when Oton was attacked by Dutch Privateers who razed the church in one of their raids.
The on-going history of the church in Oton is very unclear with the next reference to church construction, according to The Panublion, being in the mid 1800′s.
It was under the stewardship of Friar Demetrio Cobos, the parish priest from 1844 to 1854, that construction of the ‘new’ church was started. Construction, with interior decorations being made in 1882, was completed in 1883. It was officially blessed in 1891.
This was the largest church in the region at the time.
The original church was constructed in a blend of Greek and Gothic/Classical elements. It was built in the shape of a Greek cross in which all arms of the cross are of equal length. The massive and imposing altar was located at the centre of the cross.
Unfortunately this fantastically beautiful church was completely destroyed on January24, 1948 by the Lady CayCay Earthquake which had a magnitude of 8.1 on the Richter Scale.
There are only a very few reminders of that edifice on the grounds of the present church.
One is the portion of wall which now forms part of the grotto to Our Lady of Fatima on the northeast corner of the property. This is believed to have been part of one of the old church’s exterior walls.