Janiuay is a showcase of natural history and dramatic landscapes. It is also an ideal place to combine relaxation and adventure. It is also a sought after destination by adventurous tourists. Many natural and historical attractions await visitors in this place complemented with routes to explore.
The First-Class municipality of Janiuay is at the northwest portion of the province and is approximately 29 kilometers from the city. Occupying a fertile plain, the town is bordered by Cabatuan in the south; in the southwestern part is Maasin; in the eastern part, with which it shares a border along Mina; Lambunao in the north; and by the Province of Antique in the west. The town measures 17,910 hectares and is politically subdivided into 60 barangays.
Janiuay is populated by 63,905 (2015 Census on Population) Janiuaynons. Market day is every Wednesdays and Saturdays. It annually celebrates its Religious Fiesta every 28th of January in honor of St. Julian.
To get to Janiauy one can take a jeepney at the Ungka Transport Terminal (fronting Christ the King Memorial Park) in Barangay Ungka-II, Pavia, Iloilo.
Ancient natives of Tala-ugis (Zarraga) migrated from the coast to establish a settlement north along the Suagi River. The first settlers were families led by Datus Gumok, Hutikot, Ugamot and Pagdakton, who settled in what was then known as Yabon, Ubian and Matag-ub barangays, respectively.
The increasing number of inhabitants in each was place dunder a Datu. After 160 years, the Spanish were able to penetrate these parts where the four Datus had founded the barangays. The major barangays of Biruk, Ilawod, Kanhe, Danaw, Lubang Banwa, Yabon, Batakun and Kiput were ruled by their respective Datus. In 1738, Datu Buhawi of Yabon recognized the Spanish Government, subjugating himself to Spanish rule. In the same year, the Spanish government, now with its seat in Yabon, being the largest of all settlements, was set-up and was called “Visita de Yabun” with the first Catholic mass held in a provisional shack called “Ermita.”
In 1745, the seat of government was moved to Danaw, in 1759 it was moved to Matag-ub where Don Miguel Likawan was its first “Kapitan Basal,” an honorary title. Matag-ub was then the political and administrative center of the settlements. Don Miguel Likawan was the first to be married canonically in the new church, to one, Margarita Panay the daughter of Datu Magbaga. In 1770, this group of settlement was officially named Janiuay. It is belived the name originated from the native word hani meaning whisper and uway, a very resilient reed. When these two words are combined it came to mean “whispering of the reeds.”
JANIUAY CATHOLIC CEMETERY of Neo-gothic architecture was constructed in 1875. Known to be one of the most artistic Spanish Colonial cemetery in the entire Philippines, it is made up of three dramatic grand arched gates, it has individual staircases made from slabs of stones and limestone blocks. It was said that the entire materials of the cemetery were quarried as far as the town of Dingle and were hauled by 52 carabaos. The cemetery is fenced by steel and supported by columns made of coral stone. The centerpiece is the octagonal-shaped capilla built by artisans from Manila. It has lancet-shaped doors and windows. This would have been a place of final vigils and services for the dead. Construction was under the watchful supervision of an Agustinian friar, Fr. Fernando Llorente with actual construction being undertaken by Don Placido Marin through forced labor. In November 20, 1885, the cemetery was finished and inaugurated by Archbishop Payo.
RUINS OF SAN JULIAN PARISH CHURCH was built on baked bricks and corals with its Neo-classical architecture with byzantine elements. Originally, it measured 75 meters long and 16 meters wide. It stands on a hill fronting the municipal park. During its construction, red bricks, sandstone and limestone were used. It was finished in February 1770. It was said that its belfry used to carry three magnificent bells, the largest weighing close to a ton. World War II damaged the belfry, and the bells were lowered to ground after the war. The largest bell crashed down during the relocation and suffered a crack 18 inches (460 mm) in length from its lip upwards. When sounded it gives a distinct baritone rattling sound that can be heard for miles.
It is now mounted in the new church’s belfry that was built in the late 1960’s. The bricks from the ruins were used to construct the Japanese Landing Field in Tiring now the New Iloilo Airport in Cabatuan.
RUINS OF WORLD WAR II JAPANESE PILLBOXES on both ends of the bridge in Janiuay overlooks the the Suage River. Both pillboxes, one is about 25 feet tall with a diameter of 9 feet were riddled with bullet holes that tell the story of some fierce fighting and resistance to the Japanese occupation of the area during the war by the resistance guerrillas. Both pillboxes are still intact. Japanese Pillboxes are dug outs where soldiers use to shoot from in World War II.