Sunday, January 13, 2013

Leganes: Mecca of Western Visayas

LEGANES, Iloilo 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.
ST. VINCENT FERRER PARISH 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.

photo by Jerry Anas

photo by Jose de Luna

PALAPAK is a special feature of the church and is a popular practice where the image of the winged saint is pressed on the head of a devotee hoping for a miraculous cure. Many who suffer from various sickness and even those with physical disabilities are amongst those faithful hoping that a miracle might happen through their patron’s intercession. Wonders and miraculous healing have been attributed by the faithful to their vow of devotion to the patron saint.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

photo by Jose de Luna

SAAD FESTIVAL celebrated annually in April depicts Leganesnons’ intense spirituality and religious faith. Saad, a Hiligaynon term for “vow” is a tourism celebration that provides visitors the opportunity to worship with the local Christian community. Leganes is popularly known as a pilgrimage town to devotees of San Vicente Ferrer, the central figure of the celebration, reputed for his piety, scholarship, and preaching and has touched the lives of many who believed. The festival cultural competition is based on a praise and worship presentation combining the town’s folktale. With choreographed steps, the sound of drums and trumpets interspersed with shouts of "San Vicente Ferrer, Igampo Mo Kami!," with laughs and cries from performers they dance for joy to praise their patron saint for his deliverance.

photo by Bombette G. Marin

BIRAY-PARAW FESTIVAL is celebrated annually every last Sunday of June is a festivity that offers a day of skilled races. Competitions include a sailing event and the traditional biray-biray or sailing.  Regular sailing visitors and spectators even coming from different tourism schools in the city have been captivated by the area’s scenic backdrop. For a minimal fee, visitors can pay for a ride to experience biray-biray. Life vests are provided to all who wish to join in the fun and adventure. Enthusiasts are attracted by the chance to learn technical skills in the exposed sea and around the Leganes. They even get a group together and enjoy the day in a friendly rivalry on the water. It is on this day that seafaring lovers can embark on a self-sail holiday around one of the safest and most picturesque cruising grounds nearest to the city of Iloilo.

SALT-MAKING in Leganes is a much celebrated industry. Hectares surrounding the barangays of MV Hechanova, Napnud, Gua-an and Nabitasan were converted into salt beds. Clay tiles were made to line the salt beds. This prevented the salt from coming into contact with the ground that allows the salt to become as white as snow. Because of this, Leganes has established the reputation as a salt-making center in Iloilo. During harvest time, the scenery along the coastal areas is filled with small pyramids of white crystals where salt are graded and classified. Tertia salt type is known for its most impurities and is darkest in color.  This salt is commonly used with dry ice to preserve ice cream. Segunda salt is used to preserve fresh fish.  The wholesale seafood trading communities in the northern areas of Iloilo are the main buyers of Segunda salt. The Primera or first class salt is fabled to be as white as snow. It is distributed to all public markets and used to flavor fine dishes.

Leganes is a quiet and progressive town subdivided by 18 barangays and is the only coastal municipality that shares a common border with Iloilo City. It 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 is 11 kilometers from the Poblacion of Pavia and approximately five kilometers from the Poblacion of Zarraga.

It has a land area of 3,216 hectares successfully combines modern living and rural ambiance to its residents. It is also home to modern residential villages, but has preserved its rustic appeal especially on its coastal barangays. To get to Leganes, one can take a 20-minuterjeepney ride from Jaro Plaza. For more information, please contact, Mr. Jerry Anas - Municipal Tourism Officer at 09127721033.

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