It would have been one of the country’s spectacular churches, if not the most beautiful were it not for a natural cataclysm that razed it to the ground. Oton’s once majestic church, in the form of a Greek cross, was unique as it was the only one with such a plan and architecture blending Byzantine with Gothic and classical elements.
Barrio Inayagan in Barangay Valladolid is the former site of the visita of Salug. In 1622, Muslim slave raiders destroyed it forcing the people to transfer inland where the present town center of Carcar is now located. While there are no longer any trace of the structures, archaeological excavations found segments of walls.
Salug continues to live in the memories of the people as Barrio Inayagan is also known as Daanglungsod or the old town.
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.
The simbahan and its related structures are not always permanent. There are many factors that have caused its destruction, abandonment and left to ruin. In the course of a town’s life, populations rise and fall as what happened in Calavite, Mindoro where the constant Muslim slave raids greatly decimated the populace.