Boljoon Church

Official Name: Parish Church of Nuestra Señora del Patrocinio de Maria of Boljoon[1]

Classification Status: National Historical Landmark[1]

Town or City: Boljoon

Year Declared: 1999[1]

Other Declarations: Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites; National Cultural Treasure, National Historical Landmark[1]


The Nuestra Señora del Patrocinio de Maria Parish Church, commonly known as Boljoon Church, is a Roman Catholic Church dedicated to Our Lady of Patrocinio in Boljoon, Cebu, Philippines, under the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cebu. It holds prestigious designations, being declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines and a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. Boljoon Church is also under consideration for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Philippines as part of the Baroque Churches of the Philippines (Extension).

Church history
Boljoon, once known as Nabulho, started as a small Christian settlement. It became a chapel of ease for Sialo in 1599, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Boljoon was elevated to a parish on October 31, 1690, by Father Francisco de Zamora, with Father Nicolás de la Cuadra as its first parish priest in 1692. The Augustinians, who initially oversaw Boljoon, left in 1737, and administration was transferred to the Jesuits. They returned in 1747.

Architectural history
The church was constructed in 1783 by Augustinian priest Father Ambrosio Otero, continued by Father Manuel Cordero in 1794, and completed by Father Julián Bermejo. It boasts coral stone construction, terracotta roof tiles, and a distinctive Filipino Baroque style on the choir screen and pulpit. The church is renowned for its fortress-like design, originally serving as a watchtower against Moro raids.

Historical and cultural designations
Boljoon Church earned its place as a National Historical Landmark in 1999 and was recognized as a National Cultural Treasure in 2001. Notably, it's the sole church in Cebu with the National Cultural Treasure designation. It's also a contender for UNESCO World Heritage Site status under the Baroque Churches of the Philippines (Extension) nomination.

Church features
Boljoon Church features 28 pillars supporting thick walls made of mortar and lime. Terracotta roof tiles grace its top. Its ceiling paintings are the work of Miguel Villareal. The church's walls and gates are constructed from coral stones, crafted from 1802 to 1808 under Father Bermejo's supervision.

In 2007, the Boljoon Heritage Foundation, with funding from the Cebu Provincial Government, undertook restoration work for the church.[2]