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Loboc Church

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Loboc Church
San Pedro Apostol Parish Church
Iglesia Parroquial de San Pedro Apóstol
Loboc Church facade.jpg
Façade of Loboc Church
Loboc Church is located in Philippines
Loboc Church
Loboc Church
Republic of the Philippines
9°38′10″N 124°01′52″E / 9.6361°N 124.0311°E / 9.6361; 124.0311Coordinates: 9°38′10″N 124°01′52″E / 9.6361°N 124.0311°E / 9.6361; 124.0311
LocationBrgy. Poblacion Ondol, Loboc, Bohol
DenominationRoman Catholic
WebsiteDiocese of Tagbilaran
StatusParish church
1602 (as parish)
Founder(s)Fr. Juan de Torres SJ
DedicationSaint Peter the Apostle
Functional statusActive
Heritage designationNational Cultural Treasure
Architectural typeChurch building
Number of towers1
Number of spires2
MaterialsCoral stones
ArchbishopJose S. Palma
Bishop(s)Leonardo Y. Medroso
Priest(s)Alger L. Angcla
Assistant priest(s)Alvin C. Pusta

The San Pedro Apostol Parish Church (also Saint Peter the Apostle Parish Church, Spanish: Iglesia Parroquial de San Pedro Apóstol), commonly known as Loboc Church, is a Roman Catholic church in the municipality of Loboc, Bohol, Philippines, within the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tagbilaran.

After the Jesuits established the Christian community in Baclayon, they moved to Loboc and established a second Christian settlement in Bohol. The parish was established in 1602, and the present coral stone church was completed in 1734. Because of its strategic location, it became the center of the Jesuit mission in the Bohol area. In 1768, upon the expulsion of the Jesuits, the town was transferred to the Augustinian Recollects.[1]

The church is classified as a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines.

It was severely damaged when a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Bohol and other parts of Central Visayas on October 15, 2013.

Church history[edit]

After the establishment of the Jesuit mission in Bohol, Father Juan de Torres, SJ, moved to the community along the Loboc River in late 1596 to establish a second mission station.[2] The first church, made of wood, was built by the people of the area on a site called Calvario, Sawang, near the location of the present-day church. It was dedicated under the patronage of Saint Michael the Archangel.[2] Loboc officially became a Catholic parish in 1602.[2] Due to pirate attacks on Baclayon and the strategic position of Loboc, the Jesuits chose Loboc to become the center of their mission.[2] The Jesuit superior of Bohol later resided in Loboc until the Jesuits' expulsion in 1768.[3] A boarding school for boys, the Seminario de los Indios, was established at Loboc in 1605.[3][4][5]

Fire destroyed the original wooden church in 1638; it was later reconstructed by the Jesuit priest Jose Sanchez.[6] A larger church was built in 1670, on the site of the present day convent.[7] The present coral stone church was finished in 1734.[6] After the Jesuits were expelled from the country in May 1768, the Augustinian Recollects assumed the administration of the parish and the church that November.[6][8]

Historical and cultural designations[edit]

In 1998, Loboc Church was declared a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Institute, now the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.[9] It was also listed as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines.[10]

The church complex was a candidate for UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Philippines, under two distinct categories. The Jesuit Churches of the Philippines nomination includes the churches of Maragondon in Cavite, Baclayon in Bohol and Guiuan in Eastern Samar.[11] The Baroque Churches of the Philippines (Extension) nomination, nominates Loboc Church along with the churches of Patrocinio de Maria in Boljoon, Cebu, La Inmaculada Concepcion in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, San Matias in Tumauini, Isabela, and San Isidro Labrador in Lazi, Siquijor.[12] However, due to its total destruction, it was removed from the roster of nominated sites.[13]


Thick walls of the church

The church is built along the banks of the Loboc River. The coral stone church follows a cruciform plan, with a sunken pyramidal roof on its crossing. As a church built by the Jesuits, exterior walls of the church have the Jesuit insignia and icons of an angel's wing and head.[6] Major renovations were undertaken by Augustinian priest Father Aquilino Bon, including the addition of a portico to the façade (1863–1866) and re-roofing with tiles (1873).[6] Father José Sánchez, OAR, added stone buttresses to the walls (1891–1893) and side porticoes (1895–1896).[6] Because of frequent flooding, its wooden flooring was changed to cement tiles in 1895[14] and was elevated in 1969.[15]


The interior of the church is adorned with ceiling paintings by Canuto Avila and his sons, Ricardo and Ray Francia, created from May 1926 to July 1927, and retouched by Cris Naparota in 1995.[15] A mural of Our Lady of Guadalupe, secondary patron of Loboc, painted by Max Aya-ay in 1930[8] at the center of the nave depicts the Virgin saving Loboc from floods.[15] The church also has a separate cantilevered organ loft, hosting a large pipe organ believed to be connected with Father Diego Cera, maker of the Las Piñas Bamboo organ.[15]


The inner baroque façade, which is part of the 1734 church built by the Jesuits, is decorated with pilasters, capitals, blind niches and volutes.[15][16] It is patterned after the San Ignacio Church in Intramuros, with two levels, a triangular pediment, and two narrow octagonal bell towers on each side.[17] The neoclassical portico houses niches for Saint Peter and Saint Paul.[16] Along the pediment is a wooden bas-relief on galvanized iron of the papal tiara over crossed keys (the symbol of Saint Peter) on the center and medallions carrying the icons of the Augustinians and Saint Peter on both ends.[6]


The church has five retablos (reredos). The central retablo (or retablo mayor) at the altar houses images of Saint Peter, the patron, paired with Saint Paul on the uppermost niche. On the lowest level are images of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a secondary patron, in the center. Also on the lowest level were statues of Saint Lucy, patron against typhoons and Saint Francis Xavier, patron against floods and alligators. Both Saint Lucy and Saint Francis were elected patrons in 1697.[14] Behind the walls of the retablo mayor are the remains of the former Jesuit altarpiece, a bas-relief of Saint Ignatius Loyola and St Francis Xavier dressed as a pilgrim.[14] Hidden by the main altar, is a bas relief of San Ignacio and San Francisco Xavier done in stucco (reminders that this was once a Jesuit church). [18]

Epistle retablo[edit]
Interior of Loboc church showing the pulpit, epistle retablo and ceiling paintings

On the right side of the altar are two retablos. The larger altar on the right side currently houses the image of St. Francis Xavier as preacher on the topmost level. On the middle level of the same retablo are images of Saint Vincent Ferrer in the center, and Saint Augustine and Saint Monica on the left and right niches, respectively. The lowest level contains images of the Nuestra Señora de la Consolacion in the center, Saint Anne to the right and Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (originally St Joachim) on the left.[19] The smaller altar has two levels of baroque and neoclassical style, respectively, with images of the crucified Christ on the lower level and the Holy Infant on the upper.[19] The tomb of Father Aquilino Bon and other Recollect priests who served Loboc are also on this side of the church.[19] The remains of Jesuit priest Alonso de Humanes were formerly interred in this area before the transfer of his remains to San Ignacio in Intramuros.[19][20] An apocryphal account tells of a fire in a former Loboc church stopping at the foot of Humanes' tomb;[20] this story spread across the people of the Loboc and nearby towns, which drew pilgrims to light candles in memory of Humanes.[20][21]

Gospel retablo[edit]

On the left side of the altar are also two retablos. The larger altar, which is a twin of the altar opposite it, houses an image of a unidentified saint on the topmost level, presumably Michael the Archangel, and the crucified Christ (originally Madonna and Child) in the center, Saint Anthony of Padua on the middle-left, and Saint Nicholas of Tolentino on the middle-right niches.[20] The original images on the lowest level have been replaced. The smaller retablo, also of the same style, houses the images of Saint Joseph with the child Jesus, and St Isidore the Laborer on the lower and upper level, respectively.[20] In the sacristy is another retablo, with a crucifix in its central niche.[20] On the doorframes of the sacristy are two bas-reliefs depicting Saint Ignatius and the first Jesuits before Mary and the child Jesus and of St. Ignatius holding a book (in stucco).[7][20]


Outbuildings of Loboc Church
Convent of Loboc Chuch
Bell tower of Loboc Church
Adoration chapel (formerly mortuary chapel)

Sacristy and Convent[edit]

The convent, which was built around 1854, was used as the central residence of Jesuit missionaries in Bohol.[8] It is built with a rare type of Bahay na bato architecture. It was built parallel to the transept and was an unusual three-storey structure, with a two-storey outdoor gallery (called a volada) and thick walls.[7] It is the only convent in the Philippines with three storeys.[22] An extension perpendicular to the convent was built in the middle of the 19th century.[7] The convent was also adorned with paintings on its walls and ceilings, and with colored glass on its windows and cornices on the kitchen. The roof was replaced with galvanized iron in 1888.[7] The third floor of the convent is now used as an ecclesiastical museum (known as Loboc Museum), containing several religious artifacts, such as a 1786 silver missal and 18th century wooden Santo Niño.[7]


A detached four-storey bell tower was built near the riverbanks by the first Augustinian Recollect priest of Loboc.[6][23] It has seven bells, with the 1863 bell being the oldest and the 1937 bell, named for Father Cayetano Bastes, being the largest.[23] It also has a large wooden ratchet, installed in 1899, used during Holy Week, and a clock made by the Altonaga Company, installed in 1893.[23]

Mortuary chapel[edit]

A hexagonal mortuary is located on the left side of the façade. It was built by Father Bon between 1867 and 1868.[6] Inside is a baroque retablo, similar to the altars inside the church. It is now used as an adoration chapel.[23]

2013 Bohol earthquake[edit]

The island of Bohol experienced a strong earthquake on October 15, 2013.[24] The center of the M7.2 earthquake was

near Sagbayan, Bohol. Centuries-old churches in Bohol, including Loboc and several other churches designated as National Cultural Treasures, were heavily damaged.[25] The church of Loboc suffered major damage to its structure, particularly its façade and tower, which both partially collapsed.[26]

The Diocese of Tagbilaran plans to restore the church of Loboc and all other churches destroyed by the earthquake.[27] While waiting for the complete restoration and rehabilitation of the old church, the people of Loboc inaugurated an alternate church on October 12, 2014. In 2017, renovations were still being conducted.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ . Retrieved December 10, 2018. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d Jose 2001, p. 68
  3. ^ a b Javellana 1988, p. 90
  4. ^ Jose 2001, pp. 68–69
  5. ^ O'Malley 1999, p. 429
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Jose 2001, p. 69
  7. ^ a b c d e f Jose 2001, p. 74
  8. ^ a b c Javellana 1988, p. 92
  9. ^ "Resolution No. 7, s. 1998 Declaring the church of San Pedro Apostol in Loboc, Bohol as a National Historical Landmark" (PDF). National Historical Commission of the Philippines. Retrieved October 15, 2014.
  10. ^ Alba, Reinerio (29 September 2003). "The Restoration of 26 Philippine Churches". National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  11. ^ "Jesuit Churches of the Philippines". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  12. ^ "Baroque churches of the Philippines (Extension)". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  13. ^ "3 damaged Visayas churches removed from World Heritage tentative list". GMA News. 13 August 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  14. ^ a b c Jose 2001, p. 71
  15. ^ a b c d e Jose 2001, p. 70
  16. ^ a b Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage. (2014). Survey Report on the Protection of Cultural Heritage in Republic of the Philippines. Tokyo, Japan.
  17. ^ Javellana 1988, p. 93
  18. ^ . Bohol Philippines Retrieved October 12, 2018. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. ^ a b c d Jose 2001, p. 72
  20. ^ a b c d e f g Jose 2001, p. 73
  21. ^ Javellana 1988, p. 91
  22. ^ Reinerio, Alba (September 29, 2003). "The Restoration of 26 Philippine Churches". National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Archived from the original on September 3, 2014. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
  23. ^ a b c d Jose 2001, p. 75
  24. ^ "M7.1 - 2km NE of Catigbian, Philippines". USGS Earthquake Hazards Program. Retrieved October 15, 2013
  25. ^ Luces, Kim (October 15, 2013). "From treasure to rubble: Heritage churches before and after the Bohol quake". GMA News. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
  26. ^ Bolhayon-Mananghaya, Ma. Joycelyn. "A Technical Assessment of Bohol churches damaged by the 15 October 2013 Bohol Earthquake". National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
  27. ^ Espina, Flordeliza (January 25, 2014). "Bohol churches to be restored". Manila Standard Today. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
  28. ^ Refran, Saleema (October 12, 2014). "Alternate church na gagamitin habang inaayos ang Loboc Church, binuksan" (in Filipino). GMA News. Retrieved October 14, 2014.


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