Balilihan belfry before and after the Bohol earthquake

Balilihan belfry before the earthquake being 'restored'

Balilihan belfry before the earthquake being ‘restored’

The belfry of Balilihan is one of the unique belfries in Bohol in that it is the farthest positioned from the present church, atop a hill overlooking a wide area. It not only acted as a bell tower but during the Spanish era and World War II, was utilized as a watchtower due to its elevated position. The structure was constructed in 1844 by Augustinian Recollect Fray Antonio Cortes using materials gathered in Baclayon, its mother parish before it was separated into an independent town.

It survived the storm of 1863 which destroyed the church and the lone surviving structure after the invading Americans burned the town at the start of the 20th century. The quadrilateral belfry is decorated with floral bas relief at the sides of the windows at the topmost level.

Before the earthquake

Wearing due to exposure to the elements has slowly eroded the surface of the belfry over time that prior to the earthquake of October 2013, a so called restoration was done on the structure. But instead of doing a faithful restoration, the surface was patched with irregularly cut stones, put in place with cement.

Balilihan belfry before the earthquake being 'restored'

Balilihan belfry before the earthquake being ‘restored’

So called restoration that included patching up the surface with these irregularly cut stones, right; detail of beam supporting the roof, left

So called restoration that included patching up the surface with these irregularly cut stones, right; detail of beam supporting the roof, left

So called restoration which looks really terrible

So called restoration which looks really terrible

Close up of the windows, note the as reliefs at the sides

Close up of the windows, note the bas relief at the sides

Detail of floral medallion

Detail of floral medallion

After the earthquake

The violent October 2013 earthquake not only destoryed the churches of Loon and Maribojoc but also demolished the entire Balilihan belfry sructure that in the aftermath, only a pile of rocks can be seen where it once stood.

The belfry as pile of rocks as seen across the clearing

The belfry as pile of rocks as seen across the clearing

The belfry as a pile of rocks after the earthquake

The belfry as a pile of rocks after the earthquake

Detail of block dislodged from the belfry after the earthquake

Detail of block dislodged from the belfry after the earthquake

After the earthquake, belfry is totally destroyed

After the earthquake, belfry is totally destroyed

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