The camarin or shed of Oslob church located at the back. (circa 2005) Today, it is a temporary area where weekday masses are said. (circa 2008) On 26 March 08, an 8 hour fire gutted the more than a century old kumbento (parish house) and church of Oslob in Cebu. What was left were the …
On 26 March 08, an 8 hour fire gutted the more than a century old kumbento (parish house) and church of Oslob in Cebu.
The kumbento was first started by Fr. Julian Bermejo and was finished between 1848 and 1850 by Fr. Juan Aragones who reinforced it with buttresses. In 1977, Fr. Constantino Batoctoy renovated it. It is one of the very few kumbentos in Cebu which still retained its tejas roofing like Boljoon` but some sections are already with corrugated sheets.
The belfry of Oslob church is imposing owing to its size relative to the facade. It was constructed during the time of Fray Mauricio Alvarez (1866-1881). Originally a 5 level structure, the topmost level was destroyed by a very strong typhoon during the time of Fray Gregorio de Santiago (1892-1898). Most of the bells, including the biggest one fell to the ground and cracked.
The image of the Blessed Virgin that survived in the dawn fire on Wednesday in Oslob town is the only relief image venerated in Cebu churches. But is she the Our Lady of Guadalupe or the Our Lady of Immaculate Conception? According to iconographer Louie Nacorde, the image was that of the Immaculate Conception because it contained symbols which are attributes of the Virgin Mary.
The interior of the church has already been remodeled especially after the fire of 1955. Gone are the original retablo which is now replaced with a modern one. The wooden flooring was replaced with tiles in 1954.
The cemborrio or dome, located at the crossing of the transept and nave is quadrilateral with a pyramidal form unlike most that we might be accustomed it to be. Its topmost part is crowned by a stylized cross, left. Like the roof covering the nave, it sits on the shoulders of the coral stone walls and is mainly constructed of wood. Originally, the church was tejado (with roof tiles) but in 1932, Fr. Pablo Alava replaced it with corrugated sheets.
The facade of the church is simple with not much elaborate embellishments found in other churches. Its style is Neo-Classic and is mainly comprised of rectangular forms clearly represented by the windows. A triangular pediment, topped with 6 finials with a cross at the center, is supported by simple columns rising from the base up to about two thirds of the facade emphasizing further its vertical movement.
Located 117 kilometers southeast of Cebu City is the town of Oslob. First mentioned in 1690, it was only a visita of Boljoon. Founded by the Augustinians, it was turned over to the Jesuits in the year 1737 but was returned to them in 1742. The original fortified Spanish settlement was located in what was then called Bolocboloc but now known as Daanlungsod, (in Cebuano, means, old town). It’s high walls and watchtowers are still standing today minus the original chapel.
Many parishioners wept upon seeing the ruins of their century-old church, which was gutted by fire in Oslob town, about 117 km south of Cebu City.
They were, however, thankful that the 19th century image of the Our Lady of Guadalupe that was placed inside a glass case at the center of the altar was spared in the fire that broke out at 1:45 a.m. yesterday.
Firefighters also found 73 other icons below the bell tower and some portions of the Our Lady of Immaculate Conception parish church in barangay Poblacion.
This is the second part of a feature on Augustinian built churches in Cebu covering six churches all located at the southeastern side of the island province.