Our Lady of the Immaculate Church in Baclayon, Bohol was founded in 1595 and is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. Established by 2 Jesuit missionaries, Frs. Juan de Torres and Gabriel Sanchez, the church was initially constructed of bamboo and thatch but was later rebuilt using coral stone in 1727. In 1768, Augustinian Recollects modified the mission’s interior with ornate green, gold and black altars reminiscent of Chinese temple ornamentations. Between 1777 and 1801, the Recollects also completed the low and high levels of the bell tower and affixed a triple-arched porte-cochere to the façade.
Based on a cruciform plan, a square-shaped cupola made of tabique lays at the intersection of the church’s foundation. Its pilasters are reminiscent of Renaissance architecture while paintings along the nave and at the vestibule feature 19th century artwork. The church consists of 2 façades, which speak to the religious orders involved in its construction. The classic San Ignacio-inspired inner façade is a product of the Jesuits while the outer portico, adorned with Roman arches, an upper storey and pediment, are the creations of the Recollects. Although neither façade is lavishly ornamented with decorations, the entire edifice features delicate hints of Moorish influence which can be observed in the choir loft’s floral cutouts, scalloped moldings, pointed arched windows, the raking cornice’s jigsaw detailing, the nave’s engraved cross beams, and the bell tower’s embellishments.
As a result of the earthquake, the church’s most outer façade is collapsed and its bell tower is shattered.References:
Bohol's Old Churches. <http://www.bohol.ph/article8.html>.
Galende, Pedro G, and René B. Javellana. Great Churches of the Philippines. Manila: Bookmark, 1993. Print.
Galende, Pedro G. Philippine Church Façades. Quezon City: San Agustin Museum, 2007. Print.