The Pavia church is an Italian inspired church that was completed in 1895 by the Augustinian fathers. The construction commenced on the feast of its patron saint, Santa Monica, on May 4, 1887.
Pavia was named after the rich agricultural Italian town where Saint Augustine was buried (Basilica San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro). Most likely the explanation why the town was named “Pavia”. Local historians credits the name from the Spanish corruption of the word “biya-biya” . Like its namesake, the once arabal of Jaro was also a prosperous farming locale.
Their festival is held during the summer month of May. It is a double celebration dedicated to their patron saint and to the carabao. The town is also popular for its delicacy, “baye-baye”, a delicious grounded rice cake. It is similar to the Tagalog’s “espasol” but without the powder. They pack it in thin sheets of paper and sold along the road.
Pavia is the smallest municipality in Iloilo (approx. 6000 families). They are also perhaps the only town in the country that have an official “halloween” celebration. The festival of the dead is called “Tigkaralag” or “Pista Minatay”. Held every October 30, all barrios compete in costume and dance competition. I was told that its one of the biggest street events in Iloilo – I’ll have to see it one day.
To all Pavianon – happy Halloween in advance!