Loboc Church, commonly known as San Pedro Apostol Parish Church, is a Roman Catholic church in Loboc, Bohol, Philippines, under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church

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Source: flickr.com

Loboc Church as seen from the unfinished bridge

You can take a bus to Loboc, or take one that heads toward Carmen, and have the driver drop you off at the church. Loboc is 21 km east of Tagbilaran.

During the 1590s, the Jesuit Gabriel Sanchez gathered 12 separate settlements to form one town inside Bohol near a meeting place for mountain villagers and coastal villagers to trade. To win the villagers’ goodwill, Sanchez presented them with trinkets, needles, beads, and other small gifts that he carried.

After 1602, Loboc appeared to have become a town. As a result, during the early 17th century, Loboc became known for its pilgrimage site since the saintly priest Alonso de Humanes laid in rest in the church. It was built in stone around 1632, but a fire destroyed it. It was replaced in 1734 by a larger and more spacious building. When the Jesuits were expelled from the Philippines, it was apparently being decorated with carvings. It was assessed that Loboc, instead of the coastal towns of Baclayon and Dauis, where at one time the residentia was located, was a safer location for slave raids, hence it became the Jesuit missions’ residentia.

The facade of the Loboc Church

Fr. Aquilino Bon built the hexagonal bell tower at a distance from the church. He added a portico and covered the baroque façade of the Jesuit church. In the 1820s, the Recollects added a pipe organ to the Jesuit church. He added a portico to cover the Baroque façade. There is evidence that parts of the L-shaped convent behind the church were constructed by the Jesuits, although an 1886 document attributes it to them. An 1886 document credits them with building the convent, which they referred to as “de much solidez y capacidad.” Some parts of the L-shaped building behind the church may have been built by the Jesuits. The convent is unusual because it is three storeys rather than the more usual two.

Source: flickr.com
Source: flickr.com

Belfry of Loboc Church

With cherubs and the Papal Tiara, it has the two facades built by the Jesuits: baroque and Neoclassical, the Jesuit style with painted panels illustrating saints, and the Recollect style with a neoclassical portico.

Despite the main altar’s Neoclassical design, the two side altars are Baroque, while two at each end of the transept are fabricated from several parts, creating a syncretic look. There is an image of San Francisco Xavier on the side altar to the right of the main altar, which is a remnant of Jesuit devotions. By the main altar is a stucco bas relief of San Ignacio and San Francisco Xavier, which reminds us that this was once a Jesuit church.

The Altar

Similarly, behind the main altar there is a sacristy decorated with bas reliefs. One of these has greatly deteriorated, and it shows a scene featuring a number of figures, possibly Jesus with the apostles or Jesus with Jesuit saints.

Veronica’s veil and a crucifix adorn an altarpiece whose pediment decorates the interior. Stairs lead to the upper story, which was probably used by the Jesuits as a residence.

Within the church, just outside the sacristy entrance, is a relief of San Ignacio flanked by women with feather headdresses, a motif of Latin American colonial art. Loboc is famous for its music.

Despite the need for conservation, the convent behind the church has a number of pleasing features, including a large room with painted walls and a stamped tin ceiling, a small museum on the third floor. On the way to the museum there are gargoyle heads with painted faces, one painted a deep blue. There is a dining hall with large armoire and a connecting hall with a covered balcony.

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