The Baclayon Church or the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Baclayon, Bohol is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. According to an inscription on its wall, it started as a wooden church in 1596 which was established by Spanish missionaries Fr. Juan de Torres and Fr. Gabriel Sanchez. This church was even referred to as the first seat of Spanish Jesuit Missionaries. Their headquarters was later moved in the inner part of Loboc, far from the shore, because of their fear of Moro marauders.
New Baclayon Church
It was only in 1717 that the construction of a new church for Baclayon was made. It is said that there were 200 native forced laborers who constructed the church using coral stones cut into blocks. What I found amusing is their use of million egg whites as cementing material. I’ve seen houses and buildings built where eggs were used as well—but as food for the laborers, not as a cement.
Its facade may have a modest design but its structure looks very robust. The church got its bell in 1835 which is more than one hundred years after the church’s construction. Its museum has a collection of very old relics which are finely crafted. My impression is that some of the relics might have been imported from Spain.
Looking at its Middle Ages architectural style will make you realize how people have gone a long way in the last 300 years. Today, our buildings come with elevators, fully automated lighting features, solar panels, high-tech security systems, etc. but what makes this old structure special is its timeless beauty and distinctness in its era. It witnessed many generations come and go and had survived the test of time.
We had a quick stop here after having a delightful lunch at the Loboc River Cruise. Our visit here is a sweet journey back in time. Baclayon church’s imposing bell tower and sturdy walls look magnificent. Seeing very old structures like this is quite an enriching experience.