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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Barangay Japitan, Baril, Cebu

Barangay Japitan, nestled in the town of Barili, whispers tales of the past. According to local elders, the 1940s saw the arrival of Japanese soldiers during World War II. These soldiers established a camp and used the shore as their port. The strategic cliffs became their weapon mounts, aiming cannons towards enemies approaching by sea. Some say it’s from this wartime presence that the barangay’s name originated, “Japitan,” a possible link to “Japan.” The residents even earned the nickname “Japitanos.”

The war scattered fragments of history across the Philippines, each barangay holding its own stories, some true, some shrouded in mystery. Barangay Japitan’s narratives differ depending on location. Residents who lived near the coast (within the barangay proper) claim the Japanese sought gold mines in Barili and posed no threat to the locals. However, those who resided in the mountain areas of Barili paint a bleaker picture. Their stories speak of brutality, with Japanese soldiers killing Filipinos and discarding their bodies at the Palalong cliff near Sayaw Beach Resort. A large cross overlooking the ocean is said to mark a mass grave for these victims.

Barili, with its 42 barangays, including Japitan, is governed by a mayor, while each barangay has its own captain or chairman. Mayors hold higher positions within the local hierarchy. Each town and barangay vibrantly celebrates fiestas honoring patron saints, each with unique stories waiting to be unveiled.

Barangay Japitan proudly celebrates the Santo Niño (Holy Child) as its patron saint on January 25th and 26th. This tradition stems from a remarkable discovery by local fishermen. While out at sea, they encountered what appeared to be a simple piece of driftwood, only to find upon closer inspection, that it bore the image of the Santo Niño. The residents considered this a rare treasure and adopted the image as their patron saint.

The 25th and 26th of January witness a grand fiesta in Barangay Japitan. The festivities kick off two weeks prior with exciting activities like basketball leagues, beauty pageants, singing contests, dance competitions, and even thrilling boat races, ensuring a vibrant celebration filled with joy and community spirit.

Here are some photos and videos from this year’s January Fiesta

Beauty Contest
Dance competition winnners
Fiesta Queen
Dance competition
Japitan Fiesta dance off


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