Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Old Roman Catholic Churches of Bohol

Bohol is one of the Philippine provinces that had an earliest contact with Spanish explorers and conquistadors. It was year 1565 when Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the first Philippine Governor and Captain-General, docked the coast of Bohol befriending the local chieftain, Datu Sikatuna who agreed to make a pact with him which is called Sandugo or Blood Compact. This significant part of the history is commemorated by Boholanos every last week of July.

As Spain colonized the country, they also aimed on spreading Catholicism. With this, they have built churches throughout the archipelago and some of this architectural treasures can still be seen today specially in Bohol. The province didn't suffer much from the bombings of the Second World War and therefore have preserved the old churches. Out of the forty-seven towns and one city in the province, it boasts of 23 old churches, with several that were built atleast a century ago.

I didn't have a chance to see each of these churches but I instructed our driver/tour guide to kindly stop whenever we pass by a church so I could capture a photo. Since we we're in a hurry, some photos were taken inside the Innova. Here are some snapshots.

1. Loboc Church - Built in 1638, this is the second oldest church in Bohol. The bell tower is detached from the main church and is standing gracefully at the other side of the road. On the other side of the church is the Loboc River.

2. Sikatuna Church - Sikatuna became a parish in 1935 with St. Anthony de Padua as the Titular Saint. The church is made of stone.

3. Alburquerque Church - The parish was established in 1869 with the original church built with light materials. There were no records found as to the exact date of when the present church was built but based on how thick the walls had been constructed, it is believed that it was either built or renovated in the 20th century.

4. Dauis Church - The church is beautifully made with stone. Dauis was proclaimed a parish way back in 1697. There is a well inside the church which is the only source of fresh water for the whole of Panglao island.

5. Baclayon Church - This church is the third oldest church throughout the archipelago. It was completed in 1727 and was built using coral stones with egg whites to stick them together. In 1835, a big bell was added to the church. In the church is a dungeon that serves as a quiet witness of the punishment bestowed by the church to natives who violated their rules.

6. Antequera Church - Antequera was proclaimed a parish in 1880 and following that is a construction of a church made of plank woods and other light materials. The present church isn't really built in the old days but the design and fading paint can be deceiving.

7. Bilar Church - This church was built in 1831 making it one of the oldest in the island of Bohol. In 2009, two of the century old images have been stolen inside the church.

8. Batuan Church - was completed in 1960. This 50 year old church has an interesting facade, and somewhat reminds me of a mosque.

9. Loay Church - This church was completed in 1882 using coral stone. It looked weathered from where I was when I took the photo but that only added to the charm of this 129 year old church.

10. Corella Church - The church can be found just about 3 kms away from the Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella Bohol. The church we see today was completed in 1924. The church and the convent was temporarily made a headquarters and command post by a guerilla leader in 1944 where several Filipino Japanese constabulary was killed upon their surrender.

The province isn't just fascinating because of these churches, the people are also admirable for they remained religious through the changing seasons of time. I won't forget my experience walking in Island City Mall as the clock turns six. A prayer was played on their speaker. I suddenly got confused as I noticed everybody stopped moving while I was walking. I then realized that the prayer is the Angelus and everybody has stopped what they were doing to pray. Another interesting fact is that every tricycle in Tagbilaran City has a Bible verse printed on their tricycles, that's the only way the city government will provide them a permit. I now won't wonder why Bohol is a very beautiful place. That's because besides the natural beauty of the island,  people who live here are God-fearing and know how to love and take care of what they were given. :)

Getting to these Churches

I won't be able to share how to go to this place via commute since this and all the other attractions I've visited in Bohol is a part of the itinerary for the whole day countryside tour I designed. We rented a vehicle with a driver that served as our tour guide as well. This is a a family get-away and not my typical backpacking trip so comfort is one of my top priorities arranging this trip. If you need information on who you can contact for renting vehicles, please check this link: Cars/Vans for Hire in Bohol.


  1. Hi thanks for shareing your pictures, im an Austrailian but Bohol will always have a special place in my heart, ingat ka Mike Leggatt, Perth, WA Austrailia

  2. Hi Mike, mabuhay! I'm happy to know you found Bohol an endearing place, I felt the same way too with just my short stay in this island. Thanks for reading and hope you can visit the Philippines again in the near future. Ingat din! :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...