Janiuay has its share of rich cultural heritage. The social and religious structures, the artistic heirloom its people passed on through generations of refinement have made Janiuay the crossroad of the old and the new.
To be sure, modern reformations have encroached into the spirit of its people. But, somewhere deep down the Janiuaynon ethos lies the beauty of the past never to be defaced, only enhanced.
We cannot, therefore, forget the soothing melody of lullabies like Lumalabaylabay Nga Daw Aso, Dalawidaw, Ang Pispis Nga Punay, etc. We cannot miss on the radio the gaily tune of the komposo, and even the recitation of binalaybay onstage. The fact is, they represent our cultural beginning which we polish through the years and make part of our modern life in a culture-conscious society through education, cultural presentation, and restoration, - in the case of historical structures or landmarks.
The baylan is another part of our culture that dates back in 1756. The first and only babaylan mentioned in the Maragtas was Ayag. He performed the baylan rituals before Miguel Likawan, first Capitan Basal of the township of Matag-ub, went to seek the hand of Margarita Punay in marriage through the pamalaye, another cultural inheritance.
Nowadays, a babaylan does the works in as much the same manner as the babaylan many centuries ago did. Rituals complete with incantations and weird movements. Eclectic materials for offering. Made-up drugs and medicines. More often than not, the rituals are performed mainly to cast evil spirits.
Janiuay is also gifted with cultural heritage in the form of historical landmarks and natural wonders that have become identical to its name. These are: 1) The centuries-old Romanesque church, of 19th Century Spanish architecture, conceived as a neoclassical structure: coral stone columns & pilasters alternate with arched openings on brick walls, built (1839-1871) from materials brought in from Guimaras Island and brick ovens built to forge them; 2) The Janiuay Cemetery, “Most artistic in the whole country”, completed in November 5, 1884, constructed from big slabs of stone materials from Dingle, 27 kms. away. Built on a hill more than a century ago. Filipino-Hispano cemetery, one of the major attractions of this central town, 32.4 kilometers from Iloilo City. With octagonal mortuary chapel of tracery design, Gothic windows and spires; 3) The Japanese Watch Towers. Constructed at Suagui Bridge at the poblacion, 7 meters high, 3.3 meters diameter from inside, and 20 centimeters thick. Built as Japanese sentry points during the Second World War to present use of bridge by local guerillas. 4) The Spanish Docking Site and the Cross of Yabon. 1738. A docking site upriver near the settlement of Datu Buhawi of Yabon. The big, concrete cross was erected to symbolize the first and one of the earliest Mass services said on the island. 5) Banderahan in Yabon. A mute witness to guerillas struggles during the Second World War; forested, unimposing promontory that served as refuge of fleeing residents; watch post. 6) Mamalaytayon Rice Terraces. A man’s gift to Mother Nature; a formidable display of endurance, stamina, perseverance, and collectivism, and genius matching feat. A beautiful, realistic work of art. An engineering ingenuity, one of the finest and most beautiful in the Island of Panay. Located in Aglobong & Monte Magapa. 7) The Barasalon Cave. 27 kms. away from the poblacion. An enormous subterranean chamber, forty feet underground. A great challenge to spelunkers. With stalactites and stalagmites, and a niche the locals call Mystical Altar which shines in a riot of colors under the light.