I've been staying in Cebu for a couple of years and fortunately explored some historical and important places but not yet in the South. I remember more than a year ago, my good friend Traveling Morion keep on inviting me for a sidetrip to South Cebu but with some-urgent interest I missed the opportunity. Thanks anyway for some great persons who favored my plan of seeing the faith-centered, quiet place of Boljoon, Cebu.
Boljoon (pronounced as “bull-who-on”) is a fifth class municipality in the province of Cebu with around 15,027 population (data as of 2010). It is a coastal municipality with vast natural resources and historic places and figures. It is considered as Pilgrim Town during the colonial times and became the center of faith and religious activities in Southern Cebu. Boljoon name was taken from its origin “Bolho” which means ‘Spring of Water’ because the place is also the source of spring water in South Cebu. Among the Municipalities in southern part of Sugbu, now Cebu, Boljoon has been famous because of some available facts and figures of history.
RUINS OF THE ANCIENT CHURCH:
Boljoon Church is one of the oldest Church in Visayas with significant religious artifacts and the historic figure that narrates the history of the place. Boljoon Church or in its old famous pilgrim name as “Church of Patrocinio de Maria” was built in 1599 during the Spanish era. This has been very famous for this is the only pilgrim church in Southern Cebu to which during fiesta celebration, many devotees are coming in to venerate the image of the virgin enshrined in the altar who believed that posses miraculous powers. This church is generally made of corral stone and a clay roof tiles for its roof. This church is founded by the Augustinian fathers during colonial times. On its left part is a century museum that houses the relic and images of the vintage religious artifacts.
Escuela Catholica is the oldest full solid wooden structure considered as one of the heritage of Boljoon. It was built during the Spanish occupation. It serves as a house for children who will receive a holy communion and a venue for catholic education of the native people in South Cebu. It also houses the church orientation activities and Spanish lessons. Children’s were taught how to read and write using the Cartilla or the old academic command in this edifice. This has a two concrete symbolic staircase; one for the boys and the other one for the girl’s communicants. It is positioned at the left side of the oldest church of Boljoon and belongs to the towns’ pride and historic figure that narrates the Boljoon’s past.
EL GRAN BALUARTE DE BOLJOON
El Gran Baluarte is the biggest Spanish watchtower in the Philippines built in 1808 by Augustinian priest Rev. Fr. Julian Bermejo. This watchtower served as the command center in the defense of the Visayan sea during the Moro raids in South Cebu. This is the main fortress of the vast church complex’s fortification. Under this watch tower is a prison cell with some preserved mural paintings of prisoners. This is one of the wonders of history that can be seen in the foreground of the oldest church in Boljoon, Cebu.
HOW TO GET THERE:
Since Boljoon is in southernmost part of Cebu, the only means from Cebu City is by Bus. It would take about 2 hours travel from Cebu City thru public buses with route going toLiloan, Dalaguete, Oslob. Fare is about 150-180 pesos only.