Carcar is located at the eastern coast of Cebu south of the capital, Cebu City. It is bounded by San Fernando in the north, Sibonga in the south and Barili in the west. It’s beautiful church overlooks the equally beautiful heritage town, the only one of its kind in the province with its many ancestral houses from different periods.
The town, originally called Siaro, was first located near the sea in what is now the barrio of Valladolid. As early as 1559, the Augustinians already established their convent of Our Lady of the Visitation and was a visita of Sto. Niño. Between 1607 and 1610, it was made a vicariate and in 1611 was transferred under the matrix of San Nicolas.
The town was frequently visited, burned and looted by Muslim slave raiders. When it transferred to its present hilltop location, it dropped its name and used Cabcar or Carcar in reference to a tall fern locally called kabkab that was then plentiful in the area. There’s no definite date to the transfer but Galende noted that the Libro de gobierno in 1620 already used the new name.
Carcar was one of the richest towns in the late 17th century and its spiritual administration encompassed a very large area that stretched down to Oslob upto Tanong (now Santander), at the tip of Cebu. In 1690, it was divided into two vicariates, the southern towns separated and placed under the vicariate of Boljoon.
It is not known how many churches were built prior to the present one but the current standing structure was started in 1860 by Fray Antonio Manglano and finished in 1875 by Fray Manuel Fernandez Rubio.