Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dauis Church Complex

Believe it or not, Dauis Church as well as the convent and old bell tower behind it are all made of coral stones. The original church was built in 1697 using light materials by Jesuit missionaries. After the Jesuits left in 1768, they have been replaced by the Recollects who made the church their permanent residence. The present church was started to be built in 1863 and was completed after six years.

This church is an example of Neo-Gothic and Neo-Classic Archiecture. I've been to several old churches both in Iloilo and Manila but Dauis church has it's own beauty that's comparable to nothing else. On the ceiling, dome and altar are delicate painting that resulted from the artistic hands of Ray Francia and Canuto Avila. They worked on these paintings from 1919-1923.

Inside the church, my eyes were fixed to one of the confessionals, it is very intricate. These two confessionals are antique. I also noticed the wooded pulpit near the altar that was used way back in the Spanish times yet it's admirable that it remained functional.

The most surprising feature of the church though is the well that was formed near the altar, on the part of the floor that's opposite to the dome. Early writings note that it is a miraculous well and is the only natural source of fresh water in the whole of Panglao island as water obtained from other sources tasted salty. It is where the nearby town folks freely get their drinking water until it was once featured in a TV show. Our tour guide mentioned to us that since then, the church became more famous and are flocked by more tourists who wanted to fetch water from the well. To control this, the church started bottling the water. Anybody can request for it and they don't ask for payment but donations are accepted.

There is a stair on the side of the altar that leads to the higher end of the altar, where devotees of the Our Lady of the Assumption would have a chance to get near the image. There is a petition box where you can write and drop your prayers. In that sacred area, you'd also have the most beautiful view of the entirety of the church.

Going down, it directed us to the back door of the church where I was surprised by the view - healthy grass, pine and fire trees and the sea nearby is a wonderful sight. I also saw an old belfry on my left which is lower compared to the bell tower attached in the front facade of the church.

Walking on my right, there is an antique building (that I'm guessing is the convent). As mentioned earlier, it is made of coral stones with  stairs and balustrades made out of wood. On the ground floor is Cafe Lawis, with an old-fashioned interior. White cloths hang adorned the wooden ceiling, antique looking tables and chairs stand in the shiny wooden floor. The air is differently cold i that part of the building.  It's just sad that they were still closed when we got there, I wanted to try their Tsokolate Souffle. They open 11:30 AM and closes 10 PM everyday. Adjacent to the cafe is Handumanan, that sells crafts and other items perfect for pasalubong.

The area where the church stands is truly lovely. With the sea and trees surrounding the area, it felt very peaceful and I felt even closer to God. :)

To see more old Catholic Churches in Bohol, please click: The Old Churches of Bohol

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