DUENAS is a unique destination. Culturally enriched and colourful, it offers visitors a unique experience. The beauty of this town is not natural. Many are isolated in its remote barangays. Many who fancy a little outdoor adventure and getting away to the remote locations and enjoying the activities that come with it is much more satisfying. The town is a perfect day trip outing.
The Fourth-Class municipality of Duenas is situated in the eastern portion of the province and is 46.1 kilometers away from Iloilo City. The town is bordered in the north by Passi City; east by Lambunao; south by Pototan, northeast by Calinog; southeast by Dingle and southwest by Badiangan. It has a total land area of 9, 052 hectares and is politically subdivided into 47 barangays.
Duenas is populated by 34, 242 (2015 Census on Population) Duenasanons. Market day is every Sunday. It annually celebrates its Religious Fiesta every 30th of September in honour of St. Jerome.
To get to the town, air-conditioned bus is available daily at the new Ceres Terminal in Barangay Camalig, Jaro, Iloilo City.
Pre-Hispanic relic establishes the fact that the early beginings of the town of Duenas was already exposed to international trade as proven by Chinese porcelain from Sung (960 – 1279) and Ming (1368 – 1644) Imperial Dynasties.
Duenas has its foundation and Christianization in 1590 with the name of Sumandig. In 1599, it was moved to Sibucao and in 1603 Sumandig was annexed to Dumangas and two years later in 1605 it enjoyed her independence.
In 1608, Sumandig was absorbed by Laglag, now Barangay Pader and remained so until 1667. It had only five barrios, namel: Sibucao and Sumandig in the lowlands; Misi, Camatugan and Malonor in the upland area. In 1668, Laglag was joined to Passi, only to be separated a year later in 1669. From 1669 – 1844, Laglag was still the name it was known, reason as to why most family names of Duenas begin with letter “L.”
In 1845, Laglag was moved four kilometres eastward and finally given the name “Duenas” in memory of the birthplace of Fr. Florencio Martin, the author of the transfer, in Duenas, Palencia, Spain. The death of a Spanish priest at the hands of a native shaman occurred during the town’s period of Spanish Christianization. In 1663, the Parish Priest, Fr. Francisco was killed by a Babaylan (shaman) named Tapar who refused to accept the new religion and went about trying to reconvert the natives back to their original religion based on superstition and folk magic.
The word Duenas or Duena was derived from a Latin word domina, which means landlady or madam who has dominion over a certain house or estate.
ST. JEROME PARISH CHURCH is of Baroque – Romanesque architectural style. The first church was made of wood but was destroyed by an earthquake in 1787. The present church was constructed under the supervision of Father Nicolas Gallo in 1878. Materials used were stone and bricks. Its interior of Tuscan design with an exterior of Doric design measured 65 meters in length and 16 meters wide. The church was damaged during World War II and in the 1948 earthquake. The dome and transept were reconstructed in 1982.
CALANG ECO-HISTORICAL TREKKING ADVENTURE in Barangay Calang could be reached by a 15-minute trek. Several points of interests are found in the area where sets of historical spring wells can be seen. Most popular is the Pitong Bubon or the seven (7) century-old natural spring wells in the heart of a forested area. It is said that it existed since the pre-colonial period and were said to have served as drinking and washing areas. Another group of eight (8) Tuscany Wells are located in a cliff of the same barangay, just 20 meters away from Pitong Bubon and approximately 30 meters away from Ered Falls in the east. Ered Falls got its name from the word “air raid” since the area was used to be an air raid shelter during the Japanese Occupation. The Ginoong Tawo form a series of spring wells on an adobe bed flowing towards a huge spring forming mini falls and is found at the base of a century-old Balete tree. Another cluster spring wells are found in the area that has become a popular bathing site.
MILLER HOUSE RUINS believed to have been the ancestral house of an American family during World War II in Hacienda Jaguimit is abandoned and in ruins. It has a crumbling beauty on its own and they inspire dreams of what they might be turned into if these former mansions, once owned by rich businessmen during the early 19th centuries in rural Iloilo. The house had been stripped of nearly every architectural element–from doors to floor tiles to fixtures. Yet, it retains elegance in the middle of a sugarcane field. A few meters across the house is the famous remain of a Muscovado Sugar Mill.
ANIHAN is celebrated every week of September. It started in 2003 highlights its tribal dance competition by showcasing its practices, customs and traditions before or during the harvest season. The dance is this town’s expression of thanksgiving for bountiful production of agricultural crops. Dueñas is an agricultural area that mainly depends on farming as its major source of livelihood.