LEGANES is a residential community being the only coastal municipality that shares a common border with Iloilo City. It is home to families with children, retirees, and seasonal residents. It has a relaxed peaceful atmosphere and the charm of an old-fashioned friendly neighborhood. Although it is small community, the town is progressive within a short distance from the city with a hometown feel.
At many points along this narrow piece of land you can view bodies of water. It joins with the other coastal municipalities in welcoming visitors to its attractions and beautiful seascape. Despite its sleepy appearance, Leganes has its share of the tourist population.
This Fourth Class town is located along the Guimaras Strait, opposite the town of Buenavista in Guimaras. It is adjacent to the City of Iloilo in the south; bounded by Pavia in the southeast; Sta. Barbara in the west; and Zarraga in the north. It has a total land area of 3, 216 hectares politically subdivided into 18 barangays.
Leganes is populated by 32, 480 (2015 Census on Population) Leganesnons. Market day is every Sunday. It annually celebrates its religious fiesta every 5th of April in honour of St. Vincent Ferrer.
To get to Leganes, one can take a 20-minuter jeepney ride from Jaro Plaza.
The municipality of Leganes sprang from a small settlement in the early part of 1840 in the site of now known as Barangay Guihaman. The word “Guihaman” originated from the presence of wild boars of “guihan” which inhabited or foraged the place. The early founders of the municipality named the place “Valencia” in honor of its Patron Saint, San Vicente Ferrer of Valencia, a town in Spain. Learning the existence of the settlement, Don Ysidro A. Brudit, the Spanish Governor of Iloilo at the time, decreed sometime in 1856, that the settlement be registered as “Pueblo” otherwise a fine of P600.00 will believed on the inhabitants. In compliance with the decree, the place was registered as pueblo in 1858.
The little pueblo at that time had grown into a thriving community with the influx of settlers from the adjacent towns of Jaro and Sta. Barbara. One of its founders, Don Miguel Valencia seemed to enjoy unmerited, if not unusual honor after the settlement was named Valencia, while other founders protested and moved to have the name change through a petition to the Alta Mar of Spain. The Spain authorities, annoyed by the complaint, named the pueblo “Leganes”, named after the town in Spain, which is of little significance, just to settle the seemingly petty dispute.
Leganes became an arrabal of Jaro in 1916. Later on progress and peace easily flowed in when Iloilo Governor Tomas Confessor granted Leganes’ autonomy from Jaro to become a full-pledged town.
In January 1, 1940, Leganes was declared a municipality by virtue of Executive Order No. 241 signed by then Commonwealth President Manuel Luis Quezon. In the year 1918, Governor Jose Yulo signed the formal request for separation.
SAN VICENTE FERRER PARISH CHURCH was declared a Diocesan Shrine in April of 2008. The façade of the church is an elaborate example of the usual baroque church common in the Philippines. It shares a lot of similarities to the Church of Saint Theresa in Lithuania. Recently rebuilt, the architects and engineers chose the details that could make an astonishing façade that depicts nothing else but elegance, magnificence and faith.
The church is perhaps the most visited because people from all over the country would come to pay homage and display their acts of faith with hopes that the desires of their hearts might be fulfilled.
SAAD is celebrated every last week of January and depicts Leganesnons’ intense spirituality and religious faith. Saad, a Hiligaynon term for “vow,” it displays both Catholic and ancient influences. The celebration defines the presence of God in every Leganesnon’s life.
The highlight of the festival is the tribal dance-drama competition showcasing the suffering or shame of sin and expressions through movements of joy and worship. The dances also express healing and restoration.
Special feature of the presentations is the palapak, a Hiligaynon word meaning to tread on one’s head an image of a saint. For Saad , it’s the image of St. Vincent Ferrer, the central figure of the celebration, reputed for his piety, scholarship, and preaching and has touched the lives of many who believed and regarded by many as an angel who brings healing, is pressed upon the heads of devotees especially those who suffer from various sickness. It has been said several were healed through this act of intense devotion to the saint. Shouts of “San Vicente Ferrer, Igampo Mo Kami!,” with laughs and cries from performers as they dance for joy to praise their patron saint for his deliverance is also a common scene of every performances.
Saad was previously celebrated in April to commemorate the saint’s death but recently was moved to January to remember his birth.
BIRAY-PARAW is celebrated annually every last Sunday of June and showcases a day of skilled races. Competitions include sailing and visitors to the event can have the opportunity to experience the traditional biray-biray or sailing for a minimal fee. Enthusiasts are attracted by the chance to learn technical skills in the exposed sea and around the Leganes.