Santa Barbara is a second class municipality in the province of Iloilo, Philippines. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 55,472 people. It is located in the center of Iloilo, 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) from Iloilo City.
Santa Barbara has a land area of 13,196 hectares (32,610 acres), ranks 29th as to size among the 43 municipalities of the province and occupies 1.5% of all lands in the Province of Iloilo. Almost 100% of Santa Barbara’s land is cultivated and alienable or disposable.
The topography of Santa Barbara varies from slightly rolling hills to almost flat or gradually inclined plains, sliced by Tigum River at its centremost, which flows from the northwest to the southeast and the Aganan River in the southern section.
Santa Barbara is politically subdivided into 60 barangays.
- Balibagan Este
- Balibagan Oeste
- Barangay Zone I (Pob.)
- Barangay Zone II (Pob.)
- Barangay Zone III (Pob.)
- Barangay Zone IV (Pob.)
- Barangay Zone V (Pob.)
- Barangay Zone VI (Pob.)
- Barasan Este
- Barasan Oeste
- Bolong Este
- Bolong Oeste
- Cabugao Norte
- Cabugao Sur
- Cadagmayan Norte
- Cadagmayan Sur
- Calaboa Este
- Calaboa Oeste
- Gen. Martin T. Delgado
- San Sebastian
The Agustinian Archives, Vol. 17-18, which record the missionary achievements of the Agustinian missionaries, mentions that in 1617 the missionaries ministered of a community then known as Catmon, a name derived from a fruit tree which was an imposing landmark, which sat on a rich and fertile plain traversed by the Salug (now Tigum) and Aganan rivers, producing rice, corn, sugar, mongo and tobacco. Then Catmon was only a “Visita Catmon” of Jaro vicariate.
In 1760, Catmon was established as an independent parish, whose patron saint was Santa Barbara and the settlement became a “pueblo” named after her. Its total population at the time was 15,094.
In 1845, its population was 19,719 and it covered area which are now the Municipalities of Zarraga, New Lucena and parts of Leganes and Pavia.
When the Philippine Revolution broke out on Luzon in 1896, it did not spread immediately to Iloilo. The Spanish authorities thought that they could keep the Ilonggos loyal to Spain. Governador–General Basilio Agustin organized the Volunteer Militia in Iloilo to enlist Ilonggos to fight the Tagalog rebels. Being a “mestizo” and having occupied the highest office in his town, Martin Teofilo Delgado was appointed commander of the “voluntaries” in Santa Barbara.
Unknown to the Spaniards, however, Delgado had already become a “revolucionario”. On October 28, 1898 he publicly declared himself for the Revolution and took the municipal building. The Revolutionary Government of the Visayas was organized and on November 17, 1898, was formally inaugurated at the town plaza of Santa Barbara. A large crowd of people gathered from many place in Iloilo for the historic occasion. The Philippine flag was raised for the first time outside of Luzon.
The officials of the Revolutionary Government were Roque Lopez, president; Vicente Franco, vice president and secretary of the interior; Venancio Concepcion, secretary of finance; Ramon Avanceňa, secretary of state; Jovito Yusay, secretary of justice; Julio Hernandez, secretary of war; Fernando Salas, secretary general. General Martin T. Delgado was chosen General –in-Chief of the Revolutionary Forces.
Santa Barbara became the base of the Revolutionary Forces and from Gen. Delgado launched the campaign to liberate the whole province which culminated in the surrender of Iloilo City by Governor-General de los Rios on December 24, 1898.
The victory against Spain was short-lived for the Philippine–American War followed. Gen. Delgado led the same army against Americans from 1899 to 1901. Delgado was forced to surrender on February 2, 1901.
Upon the establishment of the civil government, Martin Delgado was appointed as the first provincial Governor of Iloilo and was elected to the same position in the first elections held in 1903. Santa Barbara became a town under American regime and was incorporated into a municipality by the Commonwealth Government. The town began to progress.
In 1948, Barangay Tuburan-Solbud was transferred to Zarraga, Iloilo.
Roman Catholic Church and Convent
One of the better restored and preserved churches in the province, Santa Barbara Church is an excellent example of the Filipino baroque colonial architecture. It is a neoclassical church where General Martin T. Delgado of the Visayan Revolutionary Government convened the junta that raised the first of cry revolution against Spain in Iloilo.
Cry of Santa Barbara Marker
This lies in the same site where the Filipino Flag was first raised outside Luzon. The event is now popularity known as Cry of Santa Barbara, one which recognizes the heroism and bravery of General Martin T. Delgado and his Liberating Army. This marker is the anchor of the Town’s important role in the Philippine History.
Roman Catholic Cemetery
One of the oldest landmarks in the town. Its facade bears the mark of the Spanish influence in the country and considered as one of the strongest structure in the town. It was constructed in 1845.
A tree with thick, green foliage and distinctly big, white flowers, this is where the town was first named after. Standing alone at the front, left side of the Municipal Hall Building, the Catmon Tree is the only one of its kind that can be found in the town now.
In front of the Municipal Hall building, stood a 120-feet flagpole amidst a well manicured mini-park. This was constructed in time with the 1998 Philippine Centennial Celebration and it flies the biggest Philippine Flag outside Luzon. This flag is one of the only five giant flags in the country.
General Martin Delgado Monument
A bronze statue, facing the Municipal Hall Building in the northwestern entrance of the “Victory Plaza”. The monument is a tribute to the town’s most distinguished son and the greatest revolutionary hero Visayas has ever produced, Gen. Martin T. Delgado. The statue which was unveiled in time with the 1998 Centennial Celebration is an unfading memorial of the gallantry and patriotism of Gen. Delgado and his revolutionary forces.
Iloilo Golf and Country Club
Carved on a 35 hectares of plain and rolling hills, the 18-hole golf course in Brgy. San Sebastian claims an undisputed pre-eminence in golfing history. Asia’s largest golfing publication “Golf Digest” called Santa Barbara Golf Course as the oldest course in the Philippines and one of the oldest courses in Asia. Built in 1907 by a group of British and Scottish expatriates working on the Panay Railway System, it distinguishes itself from other clubs as not only a place for recreation historical landmark as well.
Centennial Museum and Convention Center
Constructed in 1998 as part of the Centennial Freedom Trail Site Project of the Philippine Centennial Commission, the museum houses antiques, artifacts and photos which tells the story of Santa Barbara’s proud historical heritage.
Santa Barbara Irrigation Dam
Constructed in 1926, the irrigation dam is the first gravity irrigation system in the Visayas that has revolutionized farming. This is the oldest irrigation system in the country.
Nestled in the heart of the town and landscaped in time for the 1998 Philippine Centennial, its is considered as a favorite hang-out of young and old especially during afternoons and early evenings. It has two main historical features which include the Bandstand and the Rizal Monument. The Bandstand, an octagonal-shaped structure was constructed in 1925 and since then served as venue to various political gatherings and other social activities. Another prominent structure with historical value in the plaza is the monument of Dr. Jose Rizal and the Propagandist.
The Cry of Santa Barbara fueled the revolution in Visayas and Mindanao. Philippine history would have not been complete without the Ilonggos’ display of bravery and heroism in defiance against Spanish oppressors. So important was the role of this uprising in Philippine history that Santa Barbara was the only municipality outside Luzon that was declared as a National Trunk Site on the Centennial Freedom Trail during the Philippine Centennial Celebration in 1998.
On its 103rd celebration last 2001, the Municipal Tourism Council proposed an innovation in the telling of “Cry”history-one which will catch the attention not only of local folks but that of foreign tourists, as well Thus, Kahilwayan Festival was launched in public during the 2001 “Cry” celebration. Kahilwayan is an Ilonggo term which means freedom or liberty, or independence and Kahilwayan Festival is a cultural festival in a dance-drama form which showcased the events that led to the historic uprising of the Ilonggos against Spain leading to its ultimate victory and freedom now known as the Cry of Santa Barbara. Hundreds of students from different contesting groups parade all over the town in colorful period costumes ( e.g. rayadillo, saya, kimona and camisa chino) and revel in street dancing cum street theater to the tune of Marcha Libertador ( composed by Posidio Delgado, brother of Gen. Martin T. Delgado, is was the official march of the Ejercito Libertador). The highlight, however, is the dance-drama presentation depicting the events that led to the first “Cry of Santa Barbara”.
Three major events are given emphasis in the storyline of the Kahilwayan Festival, first the bringing of saber and flag to Santa Barbara by Lt. Honorio Solinap and Tia Patron Gamboa; second is the use of Marcha Libertador as background music and the third is the hoisting of the Philippine Flag. All these shall be witnessed in the course of every contesting group’s performance.
Amidst the hundreds of festivals all over the country today, Kahilwayan Festival may be considered as just one of the many. But what sets Kahilwayan Festival apart from them is its originality and uniqueness. This is the only festival all over the country, which resolves, in one, single storyline the ” Cry of Santa Barbara “. It is unique for it strictly requires the contesting groups to dress-up their dancers in period costumes only. It is not only about dancing or drama but a celebration of life itself, it is about bringing back history and reintroduce them to the younger generation in manner that they can understand, they can relate, they can appreciate and enjoy. It is about looking back and giving honor to the people who fought and die for freedom that we are enjoying today.
Basically, Santa Barbara is an agricultural town with 84.75% or 6,568.19 hectares (16,230.4 acres) devoted to agriculture. The rolling hills, amounting to 155.99 hectares (385.5 acres), are unsuitable to farming and are utilized as pasture and open grassland. The built-up areas within the poblacion and the barangay areas total 678.98 hectares (1,677.8 acres) or 8.761%. Also included in this category are the areas utilized for commercial, institutional purposes, parks and open space. Agro-industrial area is 101.928 has. or 1.315%, industrial area is .069 % or 5.330 has., utilities or roads comprise 150.853 has. or 1.946% . The area for the cemeteries is 4.720 has. or .061 % and bodies of water is 1.084% or 84 hectares.
There is a distinct climate in this municipality, which is deal for planting of multiple crops. It has a type “C” (moist ) rain sufficiently distributed with almost 4 ½ dry months or first –type climate with two distinct seasons of six months.
The average annual rainfall is 137.47 centimetres (54.12 in). The average temperature is 27.9 °C (82.2 °F). This municipality is not within the country’s typhoon belt although tropical storms and occasional typhoons pass thru it.