Baclayon Church of the Immaculate Conception
Tagbilaran East Road, Bohol, Philippines
Baclayon Church of the Immaculate Conception Bohol Reviews
A 15th century Spanish religious experience. Jan 16, 2014
Baclayon was one of the stops on the day tour I had fixed apart from Loboc,Python sanctuary,Tarsier sanctuary,Butterfly farm and Chocolate hills at Carmen.The trip cost about USD 50 for two in an air conditioned SUV but did not include meals and tickets.The first stop was the Python sanctuary which is a tiny pet farm now;called a mini Zoo.The worlds largest python has been dead some years before and the stuffed remains was a terrible disappointment and I felt cheated for the price paid as tickets.Feeling let down I wondered how the other destinations would impress me.Well I shall write about them later for they surely left an indelible mark as did the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Baclayon in Bohol.
The Church is a huge structure facing the sea about five hundred meters away on the shore.The East Tagbilaran highway electricity and telephone cables and a park meant to be a market bisects the church and the sea which I did not like and felt as an intrusion on the several hundred centuries of history,battles fought against the Moros and the hard labour involved in building the faith and Church by the Spaniards and the converted locals.
Standing in the front court of the huge church beside the tall bell tower which was also a watch tower and gazing into the sea surely commanded an immensely powerful feeling and if you can further dream you can surely dream of the colonial era of the wonderful ladies,Lords and locals converging for their religious ceremonies at the chime of the huge bells and of the warring soldiers battling their rights over this soil.
The church is built with heavy strong coral stones as that of a fort and is part of a complex now a museum which houses barracks,a school,maybe a convent and a seminary.The walls are old and musky telling one of what it could have been in its pomp and splendor and what has happened to it this day.
The museum has a good collection of religious artifacts and you are not allowed to photograph them.The Altar and Retablo are very decoratively carved wooden structures in medieval European style,identifiable with the lavish 17th century Spanish culture.A pulpit,wooden benches,smooth flooring with the graves of the then dead embedded in it and in the walls of the church sets you thinking of the ceremonies be it a feast or a ritual of a sad occasion.Add the religious robes and dresses with all the paraphernalia you too would be so impressed that you will never forget the Spanish religious and experience.
I happened to visit this old and wonderful place just the day before the earthquake which happened on the 15th of October 2013 and was shocked at the fall of the bell tower and the court yard.I thereafter learnt that the museum and most parts of the church complex were still intact. The stonewall buttress with the miraculous impression of Padre Pio which the Catholics and locals proudly venerate and which is looked upon by tourists with wonder even today was also luckily undamaged. Intriguing it was to me and it still is!
5 / 5 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!