The Dauis watchtower of 1774

Left, view of the watchtower near the sea; right, view of the watchtower as seen a few meters from the left nave of the church.

Left, view of the watchtower near the sea; right, view of the watchtower as seen a few meters from the left nave of the church.

Human like finials adorn the corners of the watchtower. It is similar to the ones found in the now damaged Baclayon belfry but much older.

Human like finials adorn the corners of the watchtower. It is similar to the ones found in the now damaged Baclayon belfry, but much older.

A few meters off the left nave of the present Dauis (Bohol) Church (built starting 1863 and is the fifth church edifice) is an old hexagonal watchtower, older than the former structure. Rather short, the top affords a good view of the sea and it guarded Dauis from muslim slave raiders that ravaged the Visayas that time.

Formerly a Jesuits mission, the Augustinian Recollects took over the Bohol mission when the former were expelled in all Spanish dominions in 1768. The Dauis watchtower was built Fray Santiago del Corazon de Jesus, probably in 1774, based on the inscribed date found below the order’s emblem located above the entrance.

Regalado Trota Jose, in his landmark book, Visita Iglesia Bohol: A Guide to Historic Churches mentions that locals call this the castillo del Corazon de Jesus, probably from the Friar who had it built or also because of the pierced heart emblem of the order.

Unlike the bigger watchtowers that were mostly built in the 19th century, this one is slender, more like a church belltower, a sloping first level and topped with a roof with fancy woodwork, the only one of its kind in the Philippines. It is crowned by a wind vane. The entrance has the same facing side with the current church and atop it is the order’s emblem.

Just as an aside, I wonder if this was also used as a belltower before as the four other churches prior to the present one were located just behind the latter, now a grassy lot. The Dauis Watchtower of 1774 is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list under the title Spanish Colonial Fortifications in the Philippines.

Images taken in 2010 and one after the October 15 2014 earthquake.

Details of the woodwork of the watchtower roof

Details of the woodwork of the watchtower roof

The Augustinian Recollect's symbol etched above the watchtower entrance with the build date of 1775

The Augustinian Recollect’s symbol etched above the watchtower entrance with the build date of 1774

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