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September 08, 2011

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Baclayon Church


This Church is considered to be one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. It was built by the Jesuits, although the Augustinian Recollects renovated it and added a modern facade. The first Spanish missionaries in the region, Fr. Juan de Torres and Fr. Gabriel Sanchez, first settled in Baclayon in 1595. Although Baclayon was the seat of Spanish Jesuit missionaries, fear of moro marauders soon forced them to move their headquarters more inland, to Loboc. Only in 1717, Baclayon became a parish, and the church was constructed. A history of blood, sweat and tears followed. Some 300+ native forced laborers constructed the church from coral stones, which they took form the sea, cut into square blocks and piled onto each other. They used bamboo to move and lift the stones in position, and used a million eggwhites to cement them together. The building was completed 10 years later, 1727. In the Baclayon Church was a dungeon, used to punish the natives who violated the rules of the Roman Catholic church as well as those who refused to work in the construction. Next to the church is an old convent, which also houses a small museum with centuries-old religious relics, artifacts and other antiquities, dating back to the 16th century. Baclayon is located 6 km east of Tagbilaran. One may catch a bus or jeepey in Tagbilaran, going into the direction of Bacalayon. A tricycle may also take you there.