Baclayon Church (La Purisima Concepcion de la Virgen Maria Parish Church)

Last Updated: November 7, 2017
Old Churches is one of the reasons why I wanted to visit Bohol.  I've been to Ilocos and I've seen some of the old churches there, so I searched for other province that have many old churches, and Bohol is one of them. La Purisima Concepcion de la Virgen Maria Parish Church or Baclayon Church, also called The Immaculate Concepcion of the Virgin May Parish Church is one of the oldest churches in the country. 
Photo take in 2013 - before the earthquake
Photo take in 2013 - before the earthquake
Like most of the old churches in the Philippines that suffered from World War II, this one is not an exception.  The church was completed in 1727 with many renovations after that. It was damaged during the War but was later restored.  It's currently in the restoration process when an earthquake struck Bohol in October 2013.
Photo taken in 2013 - before the earthquake
Photo taken in 2016 - after the earthquake
The church was declared a National Cultural Treasure in 2010, but prior to that, it was also declared in 1994 as the National Historical Landmark. It's also being considered for the addition to the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The church is made of coral stones and has a shape of a cross and has three retablos.  The big one is at the center and two small ones on both sides. In the watchtower are the the original six out of the nine bells from 1880 to 1894.  The seventh bell (1886) is in the church museum, and the eight bell (1872) was given to the newly found parish of Corella.
Image of Padre Pio on one of the buttresses - Photo taken in 2013 before the earthquake
Photo taken in 2016 after the earhquake - the image is no longer there
The church is also known for an apparent image of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina. A face of a bearded man is apparent in one of the buttresses near the tower and it resembles the saint.  I tried so hard to recognize the face but I can't until now.  Or maybe, I just don't know what angle to look.
Stairs that lead to the Museum exit located at the back of the church
Next to the church is the old convent, which houses a small museum.  We were not able to see the museum because it's closed when we went there. In 2016, we visited the church again and it's currently under renovation. We're not able to go inside the church and even the museum. We just went to the back of the church and walk for a bit. The entrance fee for visiting the church and the museum will be used for the renovation.

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