Oton:  Home of Katagman Festival


Oton is about an hour ride from the airport and approximately 45 minutes from the Port of Iloilo. Sailboat and motorboat enthusiasts may reach it via its coastal barangays.

In early 13th century, Oton was already a flourishing Malay settlement. Oton is a hispanized version of the phrase “Ogtong Adlaw”. When Spaniards asked a native about the name of the place, the latter answered ogtong adlaw (noontime) thinking that the Spaniards were asking about the time of the day.

The old church of Oton was acclaimed as the “Highest achievement in religious architecture in the country”, and was a classic example of a Gothic cathedral, patterned after the Greek Cross. It was capped by a magnificent dome and light Gothic towers with the main altar set in the center. Fr. Demetrio Cobos, parish priest from 1844 to 1854 laid the foundations of this church of large proportions. After three parish priests who continued the construction of the church, it was solemnly blessed and inaugurated in 1891, after almost forty-one years of continued construction. The powerful earthquake on January 25, 1948 wrecked this great architectural achievement.