Boljoon Cemetery,Fray Bermejo & his Defenses

Boljoon Church and its mountain

Boljoon Church and its mountain

One interesting discovery here in Boljoon is the church cemetery located on the grounds of the church, which was once a fortified complex built by Fray Bermejo to defend it against the the Moro raiders. The foundations of the walls that once covered the church and its environs can still be seen here but the walls can no longer be seen.

The centuries old cemetery gates

The centuries old cemetery gates

The bas relief that can still be found around the old cemetery

The bas relief that can still be found around the old cemetery

The cemetery still has the original bas reliefs of skulls and cross bones, it was creepy but it was definitely a fascinating example of religious art. One thing that you can really admire around here is that the locals is aware of these heritage structures significance, there are still several old houses left intact, which only goes to show that the people here respects their history.

The blockhouse

The blockhouse

The defenses and towers that Fray Bermejo constructed to protect his beloved town. “The Spanish fort or blockhouse, which served as a fortification against Muslim sea raiders and slavers. The windows were constructed to fit cannons and the walls made of mortar and piedra vitoca or coral blocks, which are one meter thick, protected the local militia from the raiders. Where they used to house arsenals of war from 1770 to 1870, now it is being utilized as a belfry. This edifice was constructed by Fray Julian Bermejo, OSA, (1777-1851) Parish Priest of Boljoon in 1802; The three baluartes or watchtowers also built by Fray Julian Bermejo, OSA, in 1802 strategically located in different parts of the town: one at the top of ELE ROCK; the second and the largest, is situated near Lusapon River, the third at the tip of Cayangan Point, facing seaward, between Barangay Granada and South Granada, overlooking the sea, so if one stands on it, you can be visible in one watchtower to the next; and if one stands on the watchtower situated at the top of ELE ROCK, you will be overlooking the watchtowers in Barangay Daanlungsod in the town of Alcoy and the seriesof watch towers.”

The blockhouse fortress used to have canons mounted on its narrow windows, today it houses church bells. I hope someday there will be a complete resource book on the life of Fray Bermejo, his hard work in shielding the towns of Cebu, from north to south, against the Moros is considered by few local scholars as the crucial moment that made the Christianization and development of Cebu a success; however this feat is unknown to many. I suppose we are not yet ready to recognize these missionaries as heroes because we have been educated not to but in time we will, because there are many men like Bermejo, this I’m sure.

What was once a puerta

What was once a puerta

Boljoon is most beautiful in the morning when the sun is about to rise, the stunning landscape of mountain and sea gradually being revealed by the mounting sun is a spectacular sight. The town is still very rustic (I think exceedingly rural), like most southern towns here in Cebu and the people are very modest and accommodating. People would even be surprised and stop when they see me taking pictures of some the houses. Although the Boljoon residents have very hi-tech appliances (the central part of the town offers free wifi!) the appearance of the locality would really make one think that present technology is not a necessity for them.

Boljoon also offers a very rich Filipino food culture. They have special breads which are very popular; their version of tostado, torta and bibingka are said to be very unique and delicious. I never got to taste them because I was short of time but would be sure to try all of them the next time I drop by.

The current Gates of the church

The current arch gates of the church

The great thing about Boljoon is its terrain, the mountain provides the perfect backdrop, it’s always breezy and if you love nature, this is a great place. What more can you ask for, you have the sea, a hill (Kasanghel), a cave, a river (Lusapon) and a waterfall (Kan-Amno). For these natural wonders and its historical landmarks Boljoon is considered by many as the “quaintest and most picturesque” of all Cebuano town.

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3 responses to “Boljoon Cemetery,Fray Bermejo & his Defenses

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