Bohol

The island province of Bohol has much to offer in terms of history and natural attractions. One of the loveliest islands in the Visayas, Bohol’s coastline is skimmed by gentle coves and white sand beaches Many highways snake along pristine beaches and rustic rivers where the tourist can stop at any point and jump in. The province’s dive spots, of which there are about a dozen, are said to be among the world’s best. Bohol is located in the central portion of the Visayas lying between Cebu to the northwest and Leyte to the northeast. The province is about 700 kilometers south of Manila and 70 kilometers southeast of Mactan Island.

Bohol is like a jade brooch set on a velvet-blue sea. Its fertile land has hills that roll gently around lush forests and grassy meadows. Marine life - from schools of tiny reef fish to bigger pods of dolphins and whales - teem in the surrounding waters. The province is the perfect arena for scuba diving, kayaking, trekking and cave exploration. For the less adventurous, it offers leisurely pursuits like cruising, swimming, snorkeling or, simply, collecting seashells by the seashore.

A WHIFF OF HISTORY
During the 16th century, a "Treaty of Friendship" was forged between the brown and white races, sealed by the blood compact of the Boholano chieftain Datu Sikatuna and the Spanish Captain Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. Some 302 years of Spanish rule followed after the treaty. It was a rule bathed with sweat and tears, as native sons plodded in hard labor building massive fortresses and grand colonial churches. More blood was also shed in the many attempts to free the motherland from the shackles of Spanish domination. To this day, there still stands in Bohol many structures that serve as mute testimonials to its rich historic past.

Baclayon Church, is the best preserved Jesuit-built church in the region, although its facade and most of the stone structures surrounding it were built by the Augustininan Recollects in the late 19th century. The Christian community organized by the Jesuits on November 17, 1596 and thereafter a visita was erected on the site. Baclayon was canonically raised to the status of a parish only in 1717, the present stone church was completed in 1727. The Casa parroquial was built by the Augustinian recollects in 1872. An ecclesiastical museum was established in 1969/70. Its narthex has the cuadro paintings of the historically acllaimed Filipino painter Liberato Gatchalian. Paintings were executed in 1859. Declared a national historical landmark in 1995 by the National Historical Institute. Its convent has been transformed into a museum and houses priceless religious artifacts.

Other mission churches of architectural distinction include Dauis Church with its beautiful frescoes, Loboc Church with its three-story convent, Panglao Church with its ornate antiquities and ceiling murals, Loon Church, the most stunning church built by the Recollect Friars, and the 19th century Maribojoc Church.

Also found in the town of Maribojoc is the ancient Punta Cruz watchtower which used to serve as a look-out for marauding pirates. It now serves as a view deck and offers a picturesque vista of the Mindanao Sea and the provinces of Cebu and Siquijor. Other watchtowers of note can be found in the towns of Loay, Balilihan and Pamilacan Island.

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  Information provided by Department of Tourism. Government of Philippines.

 

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