Seven Churches and Sutukil

Boljoon Travel Blog

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Church of St Francis of Assisi, Naga, Cebu
It has been my custom to visit old churches every time I visit a place here in the Philippines. There is something about old churches that magnetize me to them. Maybe it's the architecture or the stories or the old feel of those places. Or maybe the sum of it. I am not religious person but I just have to visit them.

For my last day in Cebu, Adi was willing to drive me to the beautiful southeast coast of Cebu. Our final destination would be Boljoon Church. They said it's the mother of all old churches here in Cebu. By 7 am, I checked out from the hotel and Adi was driving a Honda City, almost the same model as the one that I just sold.
Church of San Isidro Labrador
I am starting to sell away things I have here in Manila before my eventual transfer to Singapore. My siblings had left Manila and there's no one that I could leave all my stuffs here. So, riding on a car familiar to me and chasing churches again is something special. Sigh, I miss my car.

Anyway, our first stop is an old church in Naga. It's old baroque but has been renovated. The facade is of very light blue finish. The Church of St Francis of Assisi was made of coral and limestone, typical to most churches at this part of the world. We stayed for few minutes there, trying to get a good angle without any spaghetti of cables ruining the photos.
Church of St Catherine
I think I was not so successful.

Next stop is the town of San Fernando. Their old church is a Philippine edition of the Gothic Cathedral. Most of the Philippine old churches are of Baroque design, seeing Gothic churches is rare and a welcome treat. They said most of the interior of the church is intact.

Our third stop is something I am really looking forward to see. The church in Carcar looks different from any churches I saw. This church has something special about it. St. Catherine Church, was named after the town's patron saint, St. Catherine of Alexandria and is the second oldest church in Cebu. The church is admired for its byzantine architecture, Greco-Roman altar, and twin- bell towers having a minaret shape similar to Muslim mosques.

Like most old Spanish churches in the Philippines, the St.
Church Nuestra Senora del Pilar de Zaragoza
Catherine's Church is fronted by the town plaza. The plaza actually has retained the old spanish feel, similar to Vigan. I saw old buildings and old spanish houses around the plaza. Also, Leon Kilat, the known leader of Cebu revolt was assassinated in one of the houses in the perimeter of the the church.

Our fourth stop is another church is Sibonga Cebu, Nuestra Senora del Pilar de Zaragoza Basilica. One site has best describe the church - the fa├žade has three sections separated from each other by shallow columns. The structure is very simple and bare of any decoration. The flame-like arched main entrance dominates the central panel. It is flanked on both sides by twin bell towers. The triangular pediment sports a rose window, typical of the Gothic style.
Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Argao
The bell towers lack sufficient elevation for them to harmonize with the style of the fa├žade. The style is pseudo-Gothic characterized by simplicity of form and scantiness of decoration.

On thing I don't like about the place is the proximity of the church to the highway. Appreciating the whole edifice tough because of the traffic happening outside. The area in front the church is small enough to see the full grandeur of the building. Oh, it was a Sunday when I visited, there were a lot of church-goes that time. Maybe it was a wrong time to visit there. I think.

Having only a cup of coffee for breakfast and it was already 11 AM, my stomach has sent signal to my brains - food, food, food. Then again, we have another church to visit before we can have our brunch. This time it is the church in Argao.
Church of San Guillermo de Aquitana
This town is blessed with a beautiful town square where the Church of San Miguel Arcangel of Argao is the gem. Around the square were several government buildings that are as old as the church. There were also remains of the old walls. The architecture of the church is baroque with some touches of rococco giving it a more decorative appearance rather than the solid normal Baroque churches of the islands.

Finally, we had our brunch. The food was nothing special but when one is hungry, anything would taste good. It was after we ate that I realized that the food there was full of MSG. There was a lingering bad after taste that made me want to throw up. I needed few sticks and some candy to remove it from my system.

Our second to the last church to visit is the church of Dalaguete.
Church of Patrocinio de Maria
The church of San Guillermo de Aquitana is located far from the highway and near the coast. The setting is too rural. One striking thing is the similarity of this church to the one in Argao. So, which is the copycat? Turned out, the one in Argao is older so this makes the church of Dalaguete the imitation.

Alas! Our next and final stop was the church of Boljoon, another pseudo rococco-baroque in design. This one is listed on the Tentative List for UNESCO heritage sites for the extension of Baroque Churches of the Philippines where only 4 churches is currently included. All of which I had visited already. That was good enough reason for me to visit the place, to see those that are next in line for the recognition. Also, Adi and his partner Chong has visited this church weeks before and they wrote good reviews about the place.
Old Bell Tower in Boljoon

Of all Cebu's churches, it is the church in Boljoon that gave a sense of the Philippine colonial past. The church of Boljoon is the oldest remaining original stone church in Cebu and is relatively well-preserved. It was declared for conservation and restoration in 1998. The restoration however is too slow for this church due to lack of funds. The original brick roofing of the church and the convent annexed to the church is not yet completed.

We stayed there for few hours, exploring first the an old Bell tower which double purpose was to serve as a prison. Interestingly, the graffiti inside the prison are all drawing of chinese junks. This made me think that maybe the Spanish we intimidated by Chinese merchants that they have to be imprisoned or many they were opuim dealers.... We also explored the museum which is on the ground floor of the convent.
The Chinese Junk Graffiti inside the old Prison
Harry, the museum caretaker cum tour guide said that the current displays there are just 10% or the original collections. The rest were stolen. Good thing, the museum has now sophisticated alarm system and hopefully this would stop people from stealing from the church.

The facade of the church looked bare to me especially in the photos but seeing it and really being on that place is something peculiar and special. I still think Boljoon church is the mother of all Cebu churches. I wish and hope that this will be included in the UNESCO list but rumors have it that it was just been removed from the list of nominees. Too bad if that is true.

Anyway, we headed back to Cebu City, had a lunch in Sutukil in Lapu-lapu city. I was a good one, then we went to the airport for my departure. Jeez, my Cebu trip was great, thanks to Adi and thanks to Cebu. She never fails to excites me.

Promise, I will be back for the beaches in the Northern part.
planisphere says:
akala ko complete transformation si michelle, may naiwan pala? hehe
Posted on: Jul 05, 2009
lauro says:
gusto ko si michelle para sa iyo.

may boobs na may etits pa! ahahaha
Posted on: Jul 03, 2009
planisphere says:
kahot sino sa dalawa. keri na. hahaha
Posted on: Jul 02, 2009
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Church of St Francis of Assisi, Na…
Church of St Francis of Assisi, N…
Church of San Isidro Labrador
Church of San Isidro Labrador
Church of St Catherine
Church of St Catherine
Church Nuestra Senora del Pilar de…
Church Nuestra Senora del Pilar d…
Church of St. Michael the Archange…
Church of St. Michael the Archang…
Church of San Guillermo de Aquitana
Church of San Guillermo de Aquitana
Church of Patrocinio de Maria
Church of Patrocinio de Maria
Old Bell Tower in Boljoon
Old Bell Tower in Boljoon
The Chinese Junk Graffiti inside t…
The Chinese Junk Graffiti inside …
photo by: planisphere