Graciano Lopez Jaena shrine: Iloilo City’s first public 24-hr library

Graciano Lopez Jaena shrine
  • Graciano Lopez Jaena shrine and 24-hour e-library will be the first of many public libraries in Iloilo City.

  • The main goal is to hone the youth’s journalism and speech skills.

  • It will also hold workshops and programs to celebrate the valor of the Ilonggo hero.

Ilonggos pay homage to Graciano Lopez Jaena in a 419-square-meter lot in Jaro district to preserve the legacy of the only hero coming from Iloilo who had national significance.

Through the 50-year usufruct between the Dr. Graciano Lopez Jaena Foundation Inc. and the Iloilo City Government, the Graciano Lopez Jeana Museum and Library will soon rise at his birthplace along Fajardo Street, Jaro, Iloilo City.

Usufruct gives a right to enjoy the property of another with the obligation of preserving its form and substance, unless the title constituting it or the law otherwise provides. A usufruct is a real right that authorizes the temporary use and enjoyment of another’s property.

On December 16, 2020 the groundbreaking ceremony was held for the construction of the Graciano Lopez Jaena Shrine in Barangay Fajardo, Jaro, Iloilo City.

The Iloilo City Government has allocated P4 million for the establishment of a public library and a museum dedicated to Ilonggo hero Graciano Lopez Jaena.

The Graciano Lopez Jaena Shrine in the future

In an interview on Uswag Patrol, the city government’s online news program, Mia Fe Lopez-Cruz, the president of the Dr. Graciano Lopez Jaena Foundation Inc. (“DGLJFI”) and a descendant of the Ilonggo national hero, said she is personally grateful that this “dream project” is finally on its way. There were lots of attempts in the past but did not prosper.

The DGLJFI tried by selling Lopez Jaena’s biography written by DGLJFI Chairperson and historian and a former vice governor of Iloilo province Demy Sonza. In 2016, it ventured into the construction of the museum and library, but it was halted due to shortage of funds. Only the façade and skeletal structures were materialized.

The main objective is to hone the journalism and speech skills of the youth through inculcation as soon as the shrine is up. They plan to hold workshop and seminars to enhance the writing talent of the future generation.

Aside from these, they also aim to increase the awareness of the people with regards to the life and works of Graciano Lopez Jaena through educational materials and to combat the fake news and articles about them.

Graciano Lopez Jaena as the pride of the Ilonggos

“A shrine is important to our heroes. As Ilonggos, let us all be proud of Graciano Lopez Jaena and what he did for our country,” said Treñas.

“He is one of the many Filipinos who stood up from the injustices of the oppressors. May we remember his sacrifices and inspire the younger generation to fight for what is right and just,” he added.

Lopez Jaena was the first editor of La Solidaridad, and one of the three giants of the Propaganda Movement, along with Jose Rizal and Marcelo Del Pilar.

His most famous work is the Fray Botod, a satirical character sketch of priests during the Spanish colonization. It was terribly hated by the Spaniards but enjoyed by the masses as they were eager for the next issues.

Graciano Lopez Jaena died of tuberculosis at age 39 on January 20, 1896 in Barcelona, Spain. He was buried by the Sisters of Charity in an unmarked grave at the Cementerio Sud-Oeste.

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