is one of the oldest towns in southern Cebu. It is also
the quaintest and picturesque. Its narrow coastal plains
and bordered cliff and luxuriant hills, which offers
a commanding view of the Bohol Strait.
town was created in 1598 while the parish was established
a year later. A certain Fr. Blanco disputed this claim
and asserted that the Parish was founded in 1600.
Boljo-on's famous church was created in 1606 with Barili
and Pari-an in 1614 and Mandaue in 1630. A document
that still exists in Archives of the Augustinian Province
of the Philippines recorded the formal establishment
of Boljo-on's Parish in 1692 with Fray Nicholas de la
Cuadra, OSA, as its first parish priest. The present
church was constructed in 1783 by Fray Ambrosio Otero,
OSA, in 1783 and completed by Fray Julian Bermejo, OSA,
who also continued the church convent that was finished
Church has a veritable showcase of old and intricate
carvings and bass relief It is pseudo-baroque rococo
with a beautifully decorated interior. It has a nave
and a transcript and has 28-pillars, 2 meters thick
and made of mortar and lime, which supports the walls
as thick as the pillars.
is widely regarded that of all Cebu's churches, the
Boljo-on church best gives one sense of the Philippine’s
colonial past. Its towers are unusual because of its
Islamic characteristic of being square, rather than
curved. The church's design is similar in pattern to
the ones in Argao and Dalaguete with the exemptions
of some rococo decorations on the panels and along shallow
pillars. The church has the appearance of an impressionist
painting “a la Greco" with its elongated
Boljo-on Church is the oldest remaining original stone
church in Cebu. In 1999, the National Historical Institute
declared Boljo-on's Church a National Historical Landmark
and the following year, The National Museum declared
it as a National Cultural Treasure.
History of Boljo-on
possibly started as a small settlement which eventually
grew and prospered. In 1732, Boljo-on had 1,760 parishioners.
By the year 1760 however, the population had grown to
1,950 which is equivalent to 650 paying tributes, excluding
1,454 non-paying tributes that made a total of 3,404
parishioners. Royal Treasury which is the equivalent
of taxes in modern terminology. Originally, one tribute
was equal to three persons.
was exempted from any tribute in 1894 and 1896. The
population then was 7,694. Population increase was at
such a slow rate due to the Muslim raiders which ransacked
and burned most of the town. Boljo-on once contributed
an annual rent of 80 cavans of borona to the convent
of then San Augustinian Church, now the Basilica Del
Santo Nino de Cebu. This was later reduced to half in
1726 because it was found too burdensome for Boljo-on,
during the time of Bishop Sebastian B. Foroinda, OSA
(17181728), and the ninth Bishop of the Diocese of Cebu.
Christian Mission was also erected in the place called
the "Ermita" where priests perform religious
services. The earliest Christian mission in Boljo-on
may have been established by the Augustinians in 1599.
The Province of Cebu was then under their pastoral care
and missionaries from the town of Carcar regularly visited
the settlement in Boljo-on. With the conversion of the
people to Catholicism, a provisional church was constructed
but without a resident priest.
first recorded residency of a priest in Boljo-on was
in 1692, even with the presence of the priest in the
settlement, the predations of the Muslim raiders upon
the settlement continued, until the early 1800's. In
fact, it was due to the incursions of the Muslim raiders
that a massive stones church was erected by the Missionaries,
designed to withstand the raids. In addition, the Augustinian
placed the church under the protections of the Virgin
Mary and accordingly enshrined her image in the Church's