Cebu Churches: Argao, Dalaguete and Boljoon


For 333 years, the Philippines was a colony of Spain. The most prominent reminders of that period of our history are the churches that dot our provinces. These structures doubled as fortresses that were used to protect the islands from invaders. Cebu, particularly, has its share of colonial Spanish structures. So when Lemuel came back some time in mid-August, we decided to sojourn down south to take pictures from a couple of churches. We rode a bus out to the furthest one first and worked our way back to the city. To better understand our route, here’s a map showing Cebu’s municipalities.

Boljoon Church

Boljoon [bool-hoo-on] Church is more formally known as the Church of Nuestra Señora Patrocinio de Maria. The Spanish word “patrocinio” literally translates to “patronage”; the church was established in honor of Santa Maria (Mother Mary). It is still mainly supported by the stone used when it was erected in the 18th century, making it the oldest remaining original stone church in Cebu. In 2000, the Philippine National Museum declared it a National Cultural Treasure.

Entrance to the Cemetery beside Boljoon Church

Entrance to the Cemetery beside Boljoon Church


Inside Nuestra Señora Patrocinio de Maria

Inside Nuestra Señora Patrocinio de Maria


Dalaguete Church

San Gulliermo Church, in honor of Saint Guillermo Duque de Aquitania, is located in the Municipality of Dalaguete [dah-la-get]. The municipality is renowned for being the “Vegetable Basket of Cebu” because of its thriving vegetable plantations.

It was around noon when we got to Dalaguete. Lemuel lent me (and taught me how to use) his wide-angle lens; he also took the photos below.

Park Fronting Dalaguete Church

Park Fronting Dalaguete Church


Dalaguete Church Facade

Dalaguete Church Facade


Argao Church

Argao [ahr-gou] is probably one of the most popular not-too-far-out-of-town, weekend destinations in Cebu. It’s roughly a two-hour drive by car (less if the traffic’s friendly and speedy); it has family-friendly destinations (i.e. nature park and beaches); and most importantly, Argao offers up some tasty treats.

By the time we got to Argao, it was nearly two in the afternoon. We grabbed a quick lunch at a carenderia (local eatery) before heading out to the Church of San Miguel el Arcangel – named after Saint Michael the Archangel. Back in college, I’d learned from my Humanities teacher that this church’s architecture is predominantly Baroque.

Argao Church Facade

Argao Church Facade


Argao Church Silhouette

Argao Church Silhouette


Argao Justice Hall


The reason behind that shout-out to my Humanities teacher is that I’d actually been to these churches before, as a course requirement. That was, however, a point in my life when I cared more about doing well in school, rather than traveling and taking pictures. The great contradiction is that I’ve gone out of my way to see many places outside this country, but have felt quite detached from the history of the place I grew up in. My guess is that sometimes, it’s best to momentarily be outside, looking in.

Do you agree that to appreciate one’s heritage, one has to take an outsider’s perspective?

©Nel 2012

October 20, 2012 | Southern Cebu


Notes and Resources:

[1] Boljoon Wikipedia page

[2] The Municipality of Boljoon Official Website

[3] Photographer Mac Dy has some excellent photos of Boljoon Church on his blog when artifacts were discovered around the vicinity.

[4] Dalaguete Wikipedia page

[5] The Municipality of Dalaguete Official Website

[6] Argao Wikipedia page

[7] Photographer Arnold Carl discusses the details of Argao Church on his blog.

Much gratitude to Lemuel for allowing me to use his lenses and for the free photography lessons.

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