The original structure for the barrio chapel was erected in 1595 by the Jesuits. It was the Jesuits’ first headquarters, or residencia, but they transferred inland to the town of Loboc due to fear of Moro raids. In 1717, Baclayon became a parish and construction of the present church made from coral blocks cemented together with egg whites and egg shells started. Work was completed in 1727.
Baclayon Church is the second oldest stone church in the Philippines(San Agustin Church in Intramuros being the oldest –1571), it was followed closely by the Loboc church. It is still intact and houses important relics and images reminiscent of the historic Roman Catholic religion in the country.
Baclayon Church Museum
Adjacent to the church and part of the compound is an old convent that also houses a small museum with centuries-old religious relics, artifacts and other antiquities, dating back to the 16th century. Included in the collection is an ivory statue of the crucified Christ looking towards heaven; a statue of the Blessed Virgin, said to be presented by Queen Catherine of Aragon; relics of St. Ignatius of Loyola, old gold embroidered ecclesiastical vestments, books with carabao skin covers, and librettos of church music written in Latin on sheep skins. Here you can also find the cuadro paintings made by the Filipino painter Liberato Gatchalian in 1859. There’s a nominal entrance fee(php20.00 as of Dec 2006) at the museum but it’s all worth it. It’s a small fee for the upkeep of the museum.
How To Get There
The church is just six(6) kilometers east of Tagbilaran City. You can easily catch a bus or jeepney that will take you to the direction of Baclayon. Some tricycles are also willing tourists there but of course, it will cost you more.