The old, historic Church of St James the Greater, Maasin, Iloilo

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Information about The old, historic Church of St James the Greater, Maasin, Iloilo

Published on March 4, 2014

Author: senorfrog



This old, historic church dates to arrival of the Augustinian Friars in the area during the mid-1750s to evangelise the area's inhabitants. It is a small and interesting church to visit in a very pleasant community.

The Church of St James the Greater Maasin, Iloilo 1

The driving distance from our jumping off point at the SM City parking lot in Iloilo to the Church of St James the Greater in Maasin, Iloilo is approximately 30 kilometres. Which translates into a driving time of between 45 to 60 minutes. HERITAGE RATING: This Heritage Rating indicates that the site visited has: “SOME HERITAGE INTEREST” Our Heritage Ratings are NOT a reflection of the quality of the attraction, nor a review of the visit! They are a very subjective assessment of the historic interest of the specific location or attraction. We only assign a rating to Churches, historic buildings & locations that we have actually visited & reported on for either of our websites or 2


from the Municipal website 4

Maasin is known as being the premier Bamboo producing area in the region. Town artisans produce many varieties of bamboo based products such as furniture, wall coverings, musical instruments and even items of clothing. It is all quite impressive and this diversity is celebrated annually during the Tultugan Festival. Set one day before the town fiesta, Tultugan Festival, the 29th of December, annually, features competition of tribes and street dancing with participants wearing native costumes made of bamboo as dominant material and dancing to the live beats of bamboo instruments. Tultugan comes from the root word Tultug, an action verbalizing the act of playing sound on bamboo. Usually this is rendered through a bamboo stick striking it against the body of the bamboo, thus becoming a rhythmic instrument called Tultugan. This is classified in ethno musicological term as idiophone because the source of sound is the body of the instrument being used as percussion in contrast to the membranophone where a membrane or animal skin is being struck as a drum. 5

Participants in the annual Tultugan Festival held on December 29th each year. 6

A few of the bamboo products created by the artisans in and around Maasin, Iloilo using locally grown bamboo. The full line of products can be seen at the LGU Office in Maasin. You’re probably asking yourself why is he spending so much time writing on the bamboo business, when we’re here to see the Church. Be patient – all will become clear soon enough. 7


As you can see from this photo and the ones to follow showcase the work of the local artisans with the bamboo raw materials of the region. The Church is truly beautiful with the panels highlighting the intricate bamboo work of the natives. 9



It’s important to remember that all the wood work in the Church is bamboo or bamboo by-products that are all locally sourced.. 12





In the courtyard, just to the east of the Church itself within the compound is the Convento and the various parish offices… 17



Closer to the compound entrance is a wall of burial chambers which appears to be the final resting place of some members of the leading families in the community as well as some of the Fathers who have served the Parish in the past years. 20


Next door to the Church Compound is the Compound occupied by the St James High School operated by the Daughters of Jesus (Hijas de Jesus). Unbeknownest to me a cousin of “She Who Must be Obeyed” is the Superior of this particular School as well as the School in Cabatuan. We will be visiting Sister Nilda and her colleagues when we return to Maasin and Cabatuan in the next week or so. Nilda has promised us lunch and when she does that you just can’t miss it…it’s always so delish!! And her company and that of her fellow sisters is always an interesting and fun experience. I for one, am really looking forward to it. 22

If you head west from the Plaza facing the Church and school, a five (5) minute walk takes you to the foot of Gines Hill, where if you climb the 160 steps you will go through the 14 stations of the Way of the Cross until you reach the top of the ‘mountain’ and are greeted by a statue of the Sacred Heart and a magnificent view of the town site and the countryside in the distance. 23




They say it’s only 160 steps, for me, it was a huge workout trying to reach the top of Gines Hill. I made it only as far as the 4th station about 20% of the way up. I was beat and had to turn over the camera to Joemarie and Nilo who headed to the top – they know what we’re looking for and as usual they did the job properly. I waited for them at the bottom of the Hill and it seemed like an eternity, it was really only about 40 minutes in all so for someone with health challenges you can make it up and down in about an hour. There I am waiting for their return, Joemarie appeared first and Nilo was not far behind, still taking pictures. Once we reunited at the bottom, we decided to head home…after a good day on the road… We’re sorry if you feel that this visit may not quite measure up on the basis of the history and the full story of the Church we normally bring you. Try as we might we have not been able to get our hands on anything to do with the actual history of the church. The only thing we have been able to establish is that The Augustinians first came to the area in 1752. Other than that NOTHING. We’ll try to do better, next time! 27

If you have suggestions or recommendations on how we can improve this service for you please send your ideas along to: 28

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