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Loboc Church, Bohol
Part 9 of the Libotero Bohol Series
One of the highlights of our 2nd day in Bohol is lunch at Bohol’s River Cruise. So after preparing ourselves from our early morning dip at the beach, we hit the roads again towards the town of Loboc.
Loboc is 24 kilometers away from Tagbilaran City. To get there, one would have to traverse the Bohol Circumferential Road eastward then turn left at the intersection in Loay.
The Loboc River Cruise is one of the reasons why Bohol is skyrocketing in the tourism industry. The basic principle behind the success of the river cruise is the “serving of good food” while enjoying the sights and sounds around the river. So as soon as we arrived in Loboc, we made arrangements/reservations for the whole family. Our schedule was set at 12 noon and we were bound to go through the river for forty-five minutes.
But since we still had some ample time for exploration, we decided to check out the centuries-old Loboc Church. The Church of Saint Peter the Apostle, or more popularly know locally as “San Pedro”, is the second oldest church in Bohol, after Baclayon Church.
The Church, when viewed from its very front, looks like a wall, and a wall only
The Loboc Church’s exterior features Jesuit baroque architecture with unfinished medallions depicting saints.
One unique feature of the Loboc Church is that its bell tower stands separate from the main Church building like for instance, the Saint Paul Cathedral in Vigan. It is separated from the Church by the highway and is approximately 100 meters away.
Baclayon Church may be the oldest but I could say that the Loboc Church feels grander and is actually more picturesque, probably because it sits just beside the Loboc River.
Well aside from the river, the River Cruise and the Church, Loboc has also gained popularity through the Loboc Children’s Choir. These talented kids from barangays all around the town sing during Sunday masses. Their claim to fame was when they started joining and winning in international competitions.
At the back of the Church is a three-story convent whose third floor has been converted into a museum. As usual, cameras are disallowed so we feasted with our bare eyes the sight of centuries-old well-preserved relics, artifacts and other religious materials in Loboc.
Inside the Church meanwhile, we were fascinated by the intricately painted ceilings which had images of religious personalities. This was probably used for catechization during those times.
The main altar is characterized by neoclassical architecture while the side altars are mainly of baroque style.
Another unique feature of the Loboc Church is the presence of a pulpit. Situated at the right side, when facing the main altar, priests during those times told homily on the pulpit. I was wondering why pulpits were raised but then the answers are simple. For the religious, or superstitious, whichever way you choose to put it, it simply means that God (which is represented by the priest) is speaking from up above. But the scientic/technical reason is about acoustics. There were no microphones back then and it was rather logical for the priest to say what he wanted to say to the lay people from up there.
At the choirloft of the Loboc Church is a very old pipe organ. It is said to produce sound that reaches up to the next town. Amazing!
And while Saint Peter is the Church’s main anchor, Loboc also has a second patron, or a patroness rather, Our Lady of Guadalupe-Extremadura. The image of Virgen de Guadalupe de Loboc is highly venerated due to the amount of miracles that were documented attributed to the loving intercession of the Virgin, from centuries ago! One of which is immortalized by a painting on the ceiling of the church: a flood was said to have plunged Loboc wreaking havoc to the whole town. The water was too high that it submerged the altar of the Loboc Church but leaving the image of the Virgin untouched as the flood waters calmly stopped at the base of the image. The local residents added that despite the massive damage to property caused by the flood, there were no casualties recorded at all, all thanks to the Holy Mother. For that, hundreds of devotees from all over the country visit Loboc during its fiesta every May to pay homage to the Virgin and ask for some miracles.
We also had our own intentions as well, mainly for our family’s continued good health and tight bond. I also prayed for world peace, and that every person in the world may survive the daily struggle…
(…to be continued)