The abandoned and unfinished fortified church of Catmondaan in Cebu

The middle of the 18th to mid 19th century was not a good time for much of the coastal towns especially in the Visayas. Slave raiding by the Iranuns commissioned by the Sulu Sultanate devastated much of these communities. It was in this circumstances that the town of Catmon in the province of Cebu was founded at its original site, aptly called Catmondaan, or Old Catmon.

READ MORE: Tea, trade and tears: the Muslim slave raids of the 18th-19th centuries, Part 1 of 3

Catmon was founded by the Augustinian Recollects and was a visita of Danao until it was established as a separate parish under the patronage of St William the Hermit in 1835. The first parish priest was the Recollect Fray Manuel de San Pascual who is creidted with building the first church in Catmondaan.

The site is strategic, being located atop a hill with good views of the sea. However, for reasons that have not been established, as far as what I read from my sources, it was eventually abandoned, after Fr. Miguel left, in favor of another site, where the present church and convent, including ruins of the Escuela Catolica were built.

Today, what remains are the ruins of a watchtower overlooking the sea with an attached high wall. A low wall is also built within the grounds while outlines of a rubble construction might have been a quarter or even the unfinished church itself. The fort grounds is now the location of the barangay elementary school.

Detail of the watchtower construction

Detail of the watchtower construction

Watchtower and high wall as seen from outside the perimeter

Watchtower and high wall as seen from outside the perimeter

Watchtower and attached high wall

Watchtower and attached high wall

Interior of the watchtower

Interior of the watchtower

Watchtower entrance as seen from the inside

Watchtower entrance as seen from the inside

What purpose did this piece of wood jutting above the watchtower entranced served?

What purpose did this piece of wood jutting above the watchtower entranced served?

The still intact high wall that is attached to the watchtower

The still intact high wall that is attached to the watchtower

Upper part of wall showing the fort grounds below

Upper part of wall showing the fort grounds below

The high wall as seen from the outside the perimeter

The high wall as seen from the outside the perimeter

The still intact high wall at the fort

The still intact high wall at the fort

Low wall within the fort grounds

Low wall within the fort grounds

Breached wall now a path to the school

Breached wall now a path to the school

Can these stones have been quarters before?

Can these stones have been parts of the unfinished church before?

The view of the town and sea from the fort

The view of the town and sea from the fort

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