|Nuestra Señora del Patrocinio de Maria Parish Church |
Iglesia Parroquial de Nuestra Señora del Patrocinio de María
Church Complex of Boljoon in Cebu
|Dedication||Our Lady of Patrocinio|
|Heritage designation||National Cultural Treasure|
|Architectural type||Church building|
|Length||65 metres (213 ft)|
|Width||12 metres (39 ft)|
|Height||12 metres (39 ft)|
|Archbishop||Jose S. Palma|
The Nuestra Señora del Patrocinio de Maria Parish Church (Our Lady of Patronage of Mary Parish Church), commonly known as Boljoon Church, is a Roman Catholic Church dedicated to the Our Lady of Patrocinio in the municipality of Boljoon, Cebu, Philippines, under the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cebu.
It has been declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines and a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. It is also under consideration for the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Philippines as a member of the Baroque Churches of the Philippines (Extension).
Boljoon (also spelled Boljo-on) began as a small Christian settlement named Nabulho. It became a visita of Carcar in 1599, and a small chapel was placed under the advocacy of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was elevated to a parish on October 31, 1690, based on the decision of Father Francisco de Zamora, Provincial of the Augustinians, as a result of the increasing number of Christians in the area. The decision was implemented upon the appointment of Father Nicolás de la Cuadra as its first parish priest on April 5, 1692. As early as 1732, the Augustinians proposed to leave Boljoon, owing to a shortage of priests; they eventually left on September 27, 1737. Administration of Boljoon was later transferred to the Jesuits. The Augustinians returned to Boljoon in 1747 in exchange for Liloan, Cotcot and Maraling from the Jesuits.
In 1782, earlier buildings in Boljoon were destroyed by pirates. The present church of Boljoon was built by Augustinian priest Father Ambrosio Otero in 1783. Construction of the church was continued by Father Manuel Cordero in 1794 and completed by Father Julián Bermejo in 1841. Father Bermejo also built other structures as part of Boljoon's defense network, such as the watchtowers and blockhouse. The church was later restored by Father Leandro Morán, the last Augustinian priest of Boljoon, who served from 1920 to 1948. The following year, the Archdiocese of Cebu took charge of Boljoon. Father Zacarias Suñer was appointed as the first secular parish priest of Boljoon in 1958.
In 2007, restoration work was performed through the Boljoon Heritage Foundation, with funding from the Cebu Provincial Government.
Historical and cultural designations
The church was declared as a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Institute in 1999, and it was listed as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines in 2001. It is the only church in Cebu listed as a National Cultural Treasure.
It is also a candidate for UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Philippines under the Baroque Churches of the Philippines (Extension) nomination, along with the San Pedro Apóstol Parish Church in Loboc, Bohol, La Inmaculada Concepción in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, San Matías in Tumauini, Isabela, and San Isidro Labrador in Lazi, Siquijor.
The church is a fortress church, built of coral stones and located on a hill near the sea. It originally served as a watchtower for possible Moro raids. The church is known for its original terra cotta roof tiles and its distinct folk art or Filipino Baroque style, predominantly on its choir screen and pulpit. Twenty-eight pillars support the 2-metre (6.6 ft) thick walls made of mortar and lime. Its ceiling paintings are the work of Miguel Villareal, a native of Boljoon. The three gates and the walls of the church are made of coral stones and were constructed from 1802 to 1808 under the auspices of Father Bermejo.
The main retablo is in pseudo-baroque rococo with gold leaf highlights and polychrome accents. Located on the central niche of the main altar is the image of Boljoon's patron, Our Lady of Patrocinio, brought by Father Bartolome de Garcia from Spain in 1599. A side chapel located on the left side of the church is also dedicated to the patron.
Adjoining buildings were also built as part of the church complex and fortification.
The church plaza, locally called Muraya, is mainly used for large church activities. It is believed to be a former burial ground. Archaeological excavations undertaken by the University of San Carlos revealed several burial sites, antique jars and dishes, a necklace and a gold earring. It was concluded that the site could possibly be an early Hispanic burial site. The gold earring, the first archaeological find of its kind in a Philippine burial site, is believed to have been worn by a person of high status and may have indicated "wealth, influence or great power".
Also called the fortress or Dakong Balay (Big House), the quadrangular blockhouse was first built by Father Julian Bermejo when he came to Boljoon in 1808. The 120-by-80-metre (390 ft × 260 ft) blockhouse served as an artillery store and as the main fortress in the church complex. It is a two-story structure with a tile-covered parapet, built of coral stone with a tiled roof. Today it serves as a bell tower.
The first burials in Boljoon's cemetery probably occurred in the 1760s. It was closed when a public cemetery was opened. Its gates might have been built in the 1700s, or in 1783 when the present church was constructed. Consisting of coral stones, the cemetery has a symmetrical stone arch gateway with a three-layer pediment, finials on both sides of the two-lower layers and a stone relief of a human skeleton on top. The walls are also adorned with a relief of a human skull and bones.
Ilihan Watchtower ruins
A former square watchtower made out of coral stone stands on the Bohol coast. It is said to have been constructed by Father Bermejo as part of the church's massive fortification efforts.
- Angliongto, Warren. "Evangelization of Boljo-on Under the Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary". Boljoon Heritage Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- "Nuestra Señora de Patrocino Parish". Panublion: Heritage Sites of the Visayan Islands in the Philippines. Archived from the original on 11 February 2006. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- "History of Boljoon". Boljoon Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- "Simbahan ng Boljoon". National Registry of Historic Sites and Structures in the Philippines. National Historical Commission of the Philippines. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- Gallo, Nilda (26 January 2007). "Restoration work on Boljoon church to start". Cebu Daily News. Archived from the original on 2 January 2015. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- Angliongio, Warren. "The Miracles of Our Lady of Patrocinio of Boljoon". The Freeman. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- "Resolution No. 1, s. 1999 Declaring the Church of Boljoon in Cebu a National Historical Landmark" (PDF). National Historical Commission of the Philippines. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 January 2015. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- "Capitol, foundation ink agreement for Boljoon Church restoration". The Freeman. January 26, 2007. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- Alba, Reinerio (29 September 2003). "The Restoration of 26 Philippine Churches". National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- "Baroque churches of the Philippines (Extension)". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
- Villalon, Augusto. "Significant Examples of Church Architecture in the Philippines". National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Archived from the original on 14 October 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- De Guzman, Sara Soliven (2 June 2014). "Boljoon – a national treasure worth saving". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- "Patrocinio De Maria Church/ Rectory/ Belfry". Boljoon Heritage Foundations. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- Ardivilla, Chong (6 January 2010). "Beating a path to Boljoon". GMA News. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- Parco, Bernadette (8 June 2008). "Boljoon excavation shows gold jewelry, China". Cebu Daily News. Archived from the original on 2 January 2015. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- "Archaeological excavations in Boljoon unearth "3 firsts"". The Freeman. 23 April 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- Consulta, John (15 September 2011). "John Consulta writes about visiting historic Boljoon for 'Philippine Treasures'". GMA News. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- "Blockouse — Fortress". Boljoon Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- "Watchtower Ruins at Ilihan/ Church Cemetery". Boljoon Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Boljoon Church.|