The Baclayon Church is one of the oldest churches in the island of Bohol in the Philippines. Situated in the town of Baclayon, along Tagbilaran East Road, 100 meters west of Baclayon Central Market, the Baclayon Church is one of the main tourist attractions in Bohol because of its age and sturdy structure. Used by priests and folks to celebrate the Holy Mass, this century old church still stands today as one of the witnesses of the rich past of Bohol.
Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is the correct name of Baclayon Church. One of the best-preserved churches built by the Jesuits, this structure modified by the Augustinian Recollects in the 19th century now has a modern facade and a number of stone buildings that now surround it.
In 1595, shortly after the arrival of Fr. Juan de Torres and Fr. Gabriel Sanchez a small chapel erected on the spot became the first place of worship. Baclayon became the first seat of the Spanish Jesuit missionaries but fear of the Moro forced the people to move their headquarters to Loboc, an inner part of Bohol.
Baclayon Church became a parish in 1717 and the construction of a new church started. About 200 Boholanos were tasked to take coral stones from the sea and cut them into square blocks. Forced to pile each other to form the main structure, the folks cannot do anything but follow the authorities. It is said that the laborers used bamboos to lift and move the stones and used egg whites to cement the stones together. The current structure, which the tourists see today, completed in 1727 is now one of the awesome structures in the island.
In 1835, Baclayon Church obtained a large bell.
A part of Baclayon Church is a dungeon, where natives who violated the Roman Catholic Church’s rules were punished. Beside the church is an old convent with a small museum. The museum houses centuries-old relics, artifacts and antiques, dating back to the 16th century.
Today the church stands as one of the main traveler attractions in the island, several other centuries-old churches found in Bohol are located several kilometers away. If you want to see this church, you can avail a cheap bohol tour package and include it in your itinerary.