The quadrilateral watchtower in Sumilon Island

In far off Sumilon Island, off the municipality of Oslob is a lone quadrilateral moro watchtower that has been a mute witness to the history of the place. This is part of the network of telegraphic watchtowers by Boljoon parish priest Fray Julian Bermejo that stretches from Carcar to Santander and was used as lookouts …


Oslob Church 10 months after the fire

I was in Oslob over the weekend to check on the progress of the reconstruction of the burned church of Oslob and was happy to find that it now has a roof so that masses can again be said at this old structure. While this is commendable development, there is still much to be done. I asked Jun Tumulak, a member of the Parish Pastoral Council and he said that the total cost needed in bringing it back to a functional church complete with it’s flooring paved and tiled, pews, windows, painting, etc. is about P35 million.

Oslob’s icon up close

I visited the Basilica del Sto. Nino, the Augustinian convent in Cebu last 31 October to take photos around the church for a future post at my travel blog, When I went out, I was surprised that the centuries old icon of the Inmaculada Concepcion (Immaculate Concepcion) of Oslob Church was just outside, encased in clear plexiglass and there were two long lines infront where people waited to come close and touch it.

Old cemetery and mortuary chapels in Cebu

The cemetery and mortuary chapels in Cebu are not as grand as those in Iloilo and are in different degrees of condition with most having been renovated and one in near collapse. In this post, I am presenting the eight cemetery and mortuary chapels that can be found in Cebu: Calamba (Cebu City), Sibonga, Argao, Dalaguete and Oslob.

Archival photos of Oslob Church’s retablo mayor

While browsing through archival photos, I found two images of the old altar of Oslob Church in Cebu. These were probably taken during the late 19th or early 20th centuries. From the setup of the altar, these might have been during a major feastday or Holy Week. These two were from San Agustin in Intramuros, Manila.

Fortified settlement ruins of Daanglungsod, Oslob

Oslob has always been frequented by Muslim slave raiders but in 1813, with the aid of Fray Julian Bermejo’s string of watchtowers, the local armed militia was able to repel and capture the leader of a raiding party off Sumilon Island. This decisive event led to the formation of a new town that is now the current poblacion of Oslob. Prior to that and located around two kilometers south, are the ruins of a former fortified settlement called Daanglungsod.

Over the ruins of Oslob Church, hope and the future

Last March 28, at 1 AM, a fire broke out in the room of the parish priest in the “kumbento” or parish house of the 178 year old church of Oslob, a southern municipality in Cebu and three hours ride from Cebu City. Of the two firetrucks available in the town, one was broken and the other cannot start that the townsfolk has to push it near the church. However, despite their efforts, the fire raged on. It was only contained when firemen from the neighboring towns of Argao and Santander came in to help. After eight hours, the “kumbento” burned down.

Is the prayer room in Oslob church formerly a mortuary chapel?

Facing directly infront of the Oslob church is an old chapel that is used as a prayer room. Its facade is simple. No elaborate decorations or inscriptions. It only has three pairs of decorative columns topped by tuscan capitals. on each side of the pediment are two pedestal-like finials that might have held a vase or urn before. At the center is a relief image.

Oslob church camposanto

Oslob is one of the South Cebu municipalities that still retains its original camposanto or cemetery with its main entrance arch, perimeter fence and mortuary chapel located at the center. It was was built by Fray Mauricio Alvarez, the same parish priest who built the belfry and the stone perimeter fence surrounding the church.

Oslob church perimeter fence and well

What I like about the church in Oslob is that, compared with the churches in Cebu, its perimeter stone fence is still in good condition. It has massive stone pillars marking the entrances and in two instances, the name of the streets can still be seen as it was carved on the coral stone blocks in the 19th century.