Santa Barbara is a second class municipality in the province of Iloilo, Philippines. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 55,472 people. It is located in the center of Iloilo, 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) from Iloilo City.
When the Philippine Revolution broke out on Luzon in 1896, it did not spread immediately to Iloilo. The Spanish authorities thought that they could keep the Ilonggos loyal to Spain. Governador–General Basilio Agustin organized the Volunteer Militia in Iloilo to enlist Ilonggos to fight the Tagalog rebels. Being a “mestizo” and having occupied the highest office in his town, Martin Teofilo Delgado was appointed commander of the “voluntaries” in Santa Barbara.
Unknown to the Spaniards, however, Delgado had already become a “revolucionario”. On October 28, 1898 he publicly declared himself for the Revolution and took the municipal building. The Revolutionary Government of the Visayas was organized and on November 17, 1898, was formally inaugurated at the town plaza of Santa Barbara. A large crowd of people gathered from many place in Iloilo for the historic occasion. The Philippine flag was raised for the first time outside of Luzon.
The officials of the Revolutionary Government were Roque Lopez, president; Vicente Franco, vice president and secretary of the interior; Venancio Concepcion, secretary of finance; Ramon Avanceňa, secretary of state; Jovito Yusay, secretary of justice; Julio Hernandez, secretary of war; Fernando Salas, secretary general. General Martin T. Delgado was chosen General –in-Chief of the Revolutionary Forces.
Santa Barbara became the base of the Revolutionary Forces and from Gen. Delgado launched the campaign to liberate the whole province which culminated in the surrender of Iloilo City by Governor-General de los Rios on December 24, 1898.
The victory against Spain was short-lived for the Philippine–American War followed. Gen. Delgado led the same army against Americans from 1899 to 1901. Delgado was forced to surrender on February 2, 1901.
Upon the establishment of the civil government, Martin Delgado was appointed as the first provincial Governor of Iloilo and was elected to the same position in the first elections held in 1903. Santa Barbara became a town under American regime and was incorporated into a municipality by the Commonwealth Government. The town began to progress.