Baclayon Church in Bohol
Baclayon Church is the second oldest church in the Philippines and it is located in the town of Baclayon in Bohol. Baclayon is a short 6-km trip from Tagbilaran City, the capital of Bohol. From Tagbilaran, you can get a jeepney or bus ride bound for Baclayon. You may also hire a tricycle in Tagbilaran to bring you there.
The Baclayon Church carries with the Spanish past of the country. Though the very first Spanish missionaries arrived in 1595, the construction of the church began only in 1717. It took 10 years for the Filipino to complete the church under forced labor.
Baclayon Church is made of coral stone, cut into blocks and piled atop each other. To move the heavy stones from tree to the building site, native workers had to use bamboos. It is said that millions of egg whites were used to cement the coral stone blocks together.
The Baclayon Church looks like a three-tiered squarish cake, with large windows. The church actually has two facades: an inner one and an outer one. The outer façade is a portico added only in the 1800s.
Though the exterior of Baclayon Church rather looks rather plain, the interior of the church is very lavish. It has exquisitely carved gilded altars, nave paintings, dichromatic tiled floor, and stained glass windows.
There’s also a recently added painting with stucco finish. There’s also an old pipe organ obtained by the church only in the 1800s but it no longer plays. Two benches adorns the center of the church. One of the benches displays an image of a good tied to a tree, a nipa hut, and a man in stocks. The bell of Baclayon Church, obtained in 1835, still rings the time for mass. Inside, there’s also a dungeon that was used to punish natives.
Beside the church, there’s a convent that also houses a mini museum. The museum contains religious artifacts and relics from the Spanish era. One will find there several statues of Christ, Virgin Mary, and saints. There are also cantorals or music sheets made of sheep skin. The songs are written in Latin.
Though the church is always open, the museum is often found padlocked to guard the artifacts from being stolen.
Also, taking pictures inside the museum is prohibited but is freely allowed inside the Baclayon church.
It won’t cost you anything to enter Baclayon Church. The museum, however, charges Php 25 per person. There’s a charge for use of toilet but is only Php 10.
When you’re done visiting the 2nd oldest church in the Philippines, you might want try the town’s famous delicacy known as broas. There are two bakeshops that sell broas, and they are located behind Baclayon Church.
After which, you can take a jeepney or bus back to Tagbilaran City, or you may take a walk to the coast or around the town to get the feel of one of the Philippines’s oldest parishes.