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Santa Barbara is home to structures and events that have helped shape it into a heritage-rich town of Iloilo.
As a way of preserving and promoting its rich historical past, Santa Barbara has designated a heritage zone within the municipality. Within it can be found buildings dating back to the Spanish and American periods and markers commemorating momentous occasions.
These are of walking distance within Santa Barbara's heritage zone.
First off is the Cry of Santa Barbara Marker, built on the site where the Filipino Flag was first raised outside Luzon on November 17, 1898. The event is now popularly known as the Cry of Santa Barbara, and it is a testament to the heroism and bravery of Gen. Martin T. Delgado and his revolutionary army. This marker is the anchor of the town’s important role in Philippine history.
A bronze statue facing the Municipal Hall in the northwestern entrance of the “Victory” Plaza pays tribute to a distinguished revolutionary hero of the Visayas, Gen. Martin T. Delgado. The statue, which was unveiled in time for the 1998 Philippine Centennial, is an unfading memorial of the gallantry and patriotism of Delgado and his revolutionary forces.
One of the better restored and preserved churches in Iloilo Province, the Santa Barbara Church is one of Spanish period structures in the Philippines. It was constructed in the mid-1800s and finished 33 years later. Here in this church is where Gen. Martin T. Delgado of the Visayan revolutionary government convened the junta that raised the first cry of revolution against Spain in Iloilo.
In 1990, it was declared as a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Institute.
Nestled in the heart of the town and landscaped in time for the 1998 Philippine Centennial, the Victory Plaza is a favorite hangout of townsfolk especially during afternoons and early evenings. Aside from Gen. Martin T. Delgado's monument, other historical features include the Bandstand and the Rizal Monument. The Bandstand, an octagonal-shaped structure, was constructed in 1925 and has 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 his fellow Propagandists.
In front of the Municipal Hall Building stands a 120-feet flagpole set amidst a well-manicured mini-park. This was constructed in time for the 1998 Philippine Centennial and it flies on special occasions the biggest Philippine flag outside Luzon. This flag, which measures 30 feet by 60 feet, is one of the giant flags in the country.
Constructed in 1998 as part of the Centennial Freedom Trail Site Project of the Philippine Centennial Commission, the museum houses antiques, artifacts, and photos that tell the story of Santa Barbara’s proud historical heritage.
A drinking well at the far left side of the Municipal Building Complex, this is a very old “poso” that used to be a source of drinking water of townsfolk. From its depths, red-gold water gushes out, making it one of a kind.
Santa Barbara was first named Catmon, after this tree with thick, green foliage and distinctly big, white flowers. A lone Catmon tree at the left side of the Municipal Hall building is the only one of its kind that can be found in the town now.
Santa Barbara also has other attractions outside of the heritage zone. Below are some of the town landmarks that are worth a visit.
Set on 35 hectares of plain and rolling hills, the 18-hole golf course in Barangay San Sebastian distinguishes itself not only as a place for recreation but a historical landmark as well. Asia’s largest golfing publication “Golf Digest” called the Santa Barbara Golf Course as the oldest course in the Philippines and one of the oldest courses in Asia.
The course at the Iloilo Golf and Country Club was built in 1907 by a group of British and Scottish expatriates working on the Panay Railway System.
Constructed in 1926, the irrigation dam is the first gravity irrigation system in the Visayas that revolutionalized farming in Iloilo Province. This is the oldest irrigation system in the country.
One of the oldest landmarks in the town, the Spanish period Roman Catholic Cemetery bears the mark of Spanish influence in the country. It is considered one of the strongest structures in Santa Barbara.
WUTHLE is a non-profit organization that seeks to uplift the lives of women through embroidery and lace-making.
The women, some of whom are healed lepers, were handed down the skill to embroider Belgian lace. The endeavor was started by the ICM Sisters' Apostolate of Belgium.
Their workplace can be found inside the compound of the Western Visayas Sanitarium, where visitors can actually see the women nimbly create Belgian lace by hand. This is the only one of its kind in the Philippines.
The Santa Barbara Eco-Adventure Park is located at the town’s scenic riverside. The facility is envisioned to be a tourist attraction that would include a swimming pool, picnic area with cottages and cabanas, food kiosks, boating facilities and a zipline.