Boljoon Guide

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This mobile guide is part of the Digital Tourism program of Smart Communications Inc., InnoPub Media and the Boljoon Municipal Government.

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CULTURAL TREASURE.The National Historical Institute declared the Boljoon Church a National Historical Landmark in 1999. In 2001, the National Museum identified it as a National Cultural Treasure.

Patrocinio de Maria Church

A main attraction and the most important edifice within the complex is the church of the Nuestra Señora del Patrocinio.

Started a year after the Moros destroyed the old one in 1782, the current structure was completed only in 1841 during the tenure of Fr. Julian Bermejo as parish priest, according to the Cebu Archdiocese's book "Balaanong Bahandi."

Boljoon heritage and tourism officer Ronald Villanueva said the church served both as a place of worship and fortress for the people during the Moro sieges.

It is the only extant fortress church in the country that still has an almost intact enclosure, he said, adding that 90 percent of the edifice is of the original construction. It still has the original choir loft and its pipe organ, which unfortunately doesn't work anymore.

The church's ceiling was painted with religious art in the 1920's to 1930's which was quite the rage then but the parish priest commissioned not the well-known artists but a local one by the name of Mariano Villareal.


INSIDE THE CHURCH. Ninety percent of the edifice is of the original construction. It still has the original choir loft


The National Historical Institute declared the Boljoon Church a National Historical Landmark in 1999. In 2001, the National Museum identified it as a National Cultural Treasure.

Villanueva said these are the highest honors a heritage structure can receive from both institutions.

A replica of the original image of Boljoon patroness Patrocinio de la Nuestra Señora or Patrocinio de la Santisima Virgen is displayed inside a glass case at a side annex of the church.

Worth a visit is the private courtyard of the church and rectory which has the mountain as a backdrop. Displayed on the convent wall beside the church are pictures of old Boljoon people, events, and places.

Church plaza

Between the church and the edge of the road is a plaza that serves a perfect vantage point for viewing the church, Ili Rock, and the town cove.

In Spanish colonial times, the plaza was the focal point for religious activities and festivities. It is still used today as a starting point for processions and similar events.

Church belfry

Boljoon's bell tower is unique in its plainness, said Gerschwiler, adding the structure "does not look like a well-designed belfry of the early 19th century."

He explained that it can be described as a professional mismatch with the church, especially with the tower's height being shorter than the church's facade pediment.

According to Gerschwiler, it's possible this was built around the same time as the first church, in the 1700s, and had served a dual purpose of both a watchtower or lookout and belfry.


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