Archive Page 2

31
Jan
08

Dauis Fortification • Dauis, Panglao Island, Bohol

Delgado reports a stone fort and baluarte in Dauis built during the Jesuit era. Oral tradition locates this on the grassy field adjacent to the epistle side of the church. The reported site of fort from Jesuit times is adjacent to the convento. Using Delgado as a time marker, we can surmise that the fortifications was built by the 18th century. Most likely it was the work of Joseph Nepomuceno, SJ.

The shallow Dauis Channel was the site of a pre-colonial village built on stilts.  Prior Spanish colonization, this village was attacked by a combined force of Portuguese and Ternateños who came disguised as traders.  The result was the dispersion of the survivors.  Some went to Baclayon to found a settlement there, while others took refuge in Dapitan in Northern Zamboanga. As this experience had shown, Dauis Channel was vulnerable to attack. So its defense was essential for the security of the settlements along the seacoast.

The history of Dauis fortification is intimately tied with the history of its church building.

Jose notes a discrepancy between the local historians’ list of parish priests in Dauis, which begins with the year 1679 and Javellana’s statement that the Jesuits assigned a permanent missionary to Dauis in 1697. Recollect historian Cavada says that the parish was founded in 1720. This lack of unanimity indicates that there is no clear indication when the parish was established, although Redondo’s 1886 survey says that the oldest canonical record known to him was a libro de bautismo that began on 20 January 1697, suggesting that the 1697 date might be the correct one.

In 1735, Jesuits moved the residencia at Lóboc to Dauis. What precipitated this move is uncertain, perhaps, Lóboc was considered inconvenient. Although not remote it took some doing to sail upstream and perhaps at this period, when construction in stone and mortar was done in earnest (what de la Costa calls the “golden age” of Jesuit church building) the Jesuits were confident that they could fortify Dauis, even though it was in a coastal area. In 1753, Joseph Nepomuceno, SJ is recorded as building a church, that replaced an earlier one of light material, which Jose surmises “may have been built before 1692” (Jose, 2001, Visita p. 43). The following year Jose Delgado SJ reports the presence of a stone fort and baluarte at Dauis.

The Recollects took charge of Bohol in 1768, and in 1769 is reported to have built another church. This suggests that the 1753 church was in ruins. It may have been built of light material as resources were concentrated on fortifying the complex. It is quite possible that it was damaged by fire, typhoon or earthquake, although regarding earthquakes Repetti does not report an earthquake hitting Bohol between 1750 and 1770 (1946: 166-168). While authoritative and based on primary sources, Repetti’s list is dependent on sources, known not to be complete. In 1795, this church burnt and a fourth was built, which is described in Redondo as made of tabique  and nipa. The church was located along the same axis as the present convento and formed a continuous line between church and convento, forming an I-plan rather than more usual L or U. Jose postulates that this fourth church is the one depicted in the 1920s ceiling painting over the convento’s sala.

This fourth church was still standing when Fray Julio Saldaña, OAR (parish priest 1861-98) began a new church in 1863. According to Redondo this fifth church measured one meter longer than the fourth church, nine meters  wider and six meters taller. By 1879, Saldaña commemorated the completion of the first level of the façade by inscribing the date 1879 and his name above the principal arcade. This part was in the neogothic style. In 1884, disaster hit the church when the four arches supporting the cupola collapsed.

Work on the church continued to the 20th century. Fr. Natalio del Mar completed the façade in the early 1920s and Bishop Juan Gorordo of Cebu consecrated the church in 23 August 1923. Work continued and a year later a cross over the pediment was installed. The section built during the Spanish era can be clearly distinguished from 20th century additions, the lower part is made of stone and lime mortar and the upper section of cement. Only one of the two belltowers was completed. 

Nothing remains of the Jesuit- built fortification, although Javellana has suggested that the low wall bordering the plaza near the apse may have been part of the fortification. The rough and large coral blocks used for the convento suggest that the convento or parts of it may have come from Jesuit times. 

 

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31
Jan
08

Dimiao Fortification • Dimiao, Bohol

Built during the las quarter of the 18th century with further work 1817-21, the fortification at Dimiao is traced to the initiative of Recollects, specifically Enrique de Santo Tomas de Villanueva, OAR (parish priest of Dimíao 1797-1805, 1806-1812, and 1815-1817) who worked on the construction with a maestro de obra. Built as a fortified church complex it was the principal defense of the town of Dimíao. 

Dimíao east of Loay was a mission station during the Jesuit era but became a parish under the Recollects. Its location along the littoral exposed it to seaborne attacks, hence, needed to be defended.

The fortification at Dimíao went through many stages, the chronology of which is sketchy because some data is unknown. Jose notes that “there is no conclusive dates for the foundation of the town and parish.” Redondo in 1886 says the earliest baptismal records come from 1750. Moreover, Jesuits do not mention Dimíao, which at that their time was probably a mission station or visita of Loay, which in turn belonged to the old town of Loboc. Recollects took charge of Dimíao with the departure of the Jesuits and toward the end of the 19th century was already a thriving parish that in 1869 Lila (to the west) and in 1871 Valencia (to the east) were separated from Dimíao as independent parishes.

It is likely that the Jesuits may have built a church of light material in Dimíao. During the last quarter of the 18th century, the Recollects surround “the early church and convento with a defensive wall.” What Jose means by early is uncertain, is it a church from Jesuit times or a church built by the Recollects, which they fortified. Fray Enrique de Santo Tomas de Villanueva constructed the present church from 1800 to 1815. A maestro de obras was from Camiguin was brought to build the church. Whether this meant he was born in Camiguin or was working on a project at Camiguin, an island under the Recollects, is uncertain. But this unknown craftsman is credited with building the Dimíao church and probably the fortification that protected it. Fray Enrique built a cemetery with an ermita at the same time and had to demolish the 18th century fortification partially; however, Fray Joaquin enlarged the perimeter of the fortification by building a new wall with towers at each corner. The cemetery with its stone-vaulted ermita was abandoned in 1844, under Fray Manuel Carasuan, and transferred a kilometer away.

Jose suggests that the vaulted chamber and remnants of walls near the main entrance of the cemetery unearthed by the National Museum archaeologists may belong to the 18th-century fortification. Toward the latter 19th century, the walls were no longer functional as the threat of raiders had diminished. Much of Dimíao town was burnt in 1901 by Gen. Robert Hughes during the Philippine-American war.

Some walls, foundations and what might be part of a bastion  or tower still stand; Jose notes “the thickly forested area to the left of the cemetery hides remains of various stone structures said to be parts of towers and fortifications” (Jose 2001: 46-49).

31
Jan
08

Loboc Fort • Loboc, Bohol

Loboc was an important inland town because it served as the marketplace where inhabitants of the inland towns Bohol could trade with the coastal towns. Besides the water borne raiders, Loboc may have been fortified to respond to the threat of people who lived in the hinterland. During the early 17th century and the 18th two major revolts erupted in Bohol—the Babaylan or Tamblot revolt and the Dagohoy revolt. In both instances, the rebels sought safety by fleeing inland. So an inland town like Loboc had to be defended in case of sudden incursions. 

Warren reports that the fortification of Loboc consisted of a stone church; stone fort and stone baluarte. It is not clear who built the fortification but it was most likely the Jesuits who had already built a new church in Loboc completed in 1734 to replace one built earlier but had been burnt. The sites of the baluarte and fort are uncertain. However there are ruins behind the convento, which may have been remains of the fortification.

There is little data about the fortification that can give a specific year or date of its construction or that can positively identify the fortification. 

31
Jan
08

Loay Watchtower • Barangay Villalimpia, Loay, Bohol

To protect Loay, the town was divided into a lower town (Ubos, aka Canipaan because of nipa swamps in the area) and an upper town (Ibabaw). The church is built at the upper town and the Villalimpia tower is in the lower town. This suggests that the tower at the seaside worked in coordination with the structures at the upper town. The watchtower allowed the townspeople to seek the safety of the upper town in case of seaborne attacks.

Historical records indicate that stone fort and stone baluarte are reported in Loay. It is not certain where the fort was, it may have surrounded the church complex at Ibabaw. The baluarte, however, is probably the watchtower located near the mouth of the Loay River.  It is presently at the edge of a mangrove forest, and accessible by sea.  During high tide, the sea reaches the tower’s foundations and has exposed and eroded it. Jose observes: “Along the coast of Villalimpia, a barrio near the mouth of the Loboc River, is an abandoned watchtower of coral stone and brick tiles. It can be reached after negotiating several mangrove swamps, and in fact is better seen from the water.  Tidal action has exposed much its rubble foundation, allowing for a detailed study of colonial construction techniques. Apparently the only access to the tower is by a ladder; there is no clearly defined entrance. Much of the original roof has survived. One wonders how useful this tower was, because of its diminutive height” (Jose 1998, 2001).

There are no clear records when the baluarte at Villalimpia was built. But a history of Loay might give a sense when the structure was built. Juan Delgado (1754) reports that the village of La Santisima Trinidad was a new village under the Jesuits. Redondo (1886) says that Loay became an independent parish in 1799, when it was separated from Loboc. The church at Ibabaw was completed in 1822 as indicated by an inscription on the church’s inner façade. An outer façade following a popular plan in Bohol that added porticoes in front of existing façades has the year 1889. Inside the church is a pipe organ dated 1841.

The convento is built behind the church and follows the line of the nave before turning left to form an L-plan. The date 1838 appears over the doorway facing the church and over the entrance facing the grand stone stairway (built ca. 1836-37) that links Canipaan and Ibabaw.

The bell tower, which is a separate structure from the church was built by Carlos Ubeda, OAR (parish priest 1859-1865). A date inscribed over the entrance to the tower carries the date 1865 and the phrase “Ave Maria PMA [Purisima]”. Other structures found at Ibabaw and around the church plaza two school houses built by the Recollects during the last quarter of the 19th century. Jose suggests that a two-story structure, said to be old tribunal or municipal hall and ornamented with the monograph of Mary, is from the 18th century.

The dates of these constructions suggest that there was much building during the second and third decade and the last quarter of the 19th century. As the threat of seaborne raiders had decreased considerably after the Gov. Claveria’s attacks on Sama Balangingi in 1841 and the campaign against Jolo in the 1870s, the second and third decades of the 19th century seems to be the more probably context for the construction of the Villalimpia watchtower.

31
Jan
08

Panglao Tower • Panglao, Panglao Island, Bohol

Redondo’s 1886 reports states that Panglao parish was established in 1803. Whether Panglao as a mission station or a reduccion already existed before that date is uncertain because both town and island are named Panglao. Thus, when the name Panglao appears in a 1612 document it is uncertain if the town or the island is being referred to. If the island, the town referred might be Dauis.

Within the Panglao church complex are the ruins of an earlier church, which despite the Baroque touches to the façade is dated to the 19th century. Inscribed over the main entrance is the date 1858 or 1859. Jose writes “the rest of the nave consisted of wooden posts and tabique walls which have since disappeared. It seems that his earlier church extended all the way until where the convento now stands. One wing of the convento would have continued the axis of the church, as we see in Cortes and possibly in the earlier church at Dauis” (Jose 2001: 87). This means that the convento is older that the present church at Panglao. Part of the convento is now a parish school, San Agustin Academy.

The present cruciform church of Panglao began construction under Valentin Utande, OAR (parish priest 1894-1897). Wood needed for the structure had to be procured from Sevilla and Loboc, inland towns in Bohol and had to be floated downstream and across the sea to Panglao. The scarcity of suitable construction material may be the reason why the church was still being constructed up to the second decade of the 20th century, when the greater part of the nave was completed. Stone facing, however, was not completed and the apse and transept lack the coral stones that sheathed Bohol churches. The church was consecrated by Bishop Juan Gorordo of Cebu on 1 September 1924, while a native secular priest Quiterio Sarigumba was parish priest. A portico facade of poured concrete was added to the church façade and has the initials of Padre Sarigumba—P.Q.S. A cement walk leading to the main entrance also is also inscribed P.Q.S. with the date 1925.

The history of Panglao church clearly shows that the five-story tower is not related to any of the dated constructions in the church complex. It antedated the ruined church by seven or eight years. This suggests that the tower belonged to an earlier era. Perhaps there was an pre-1850 church of light material. This  five-storey bell tower is located at some distance from both church structures and its proximity to the shore, now far more distant because of mangrove and coconut growth, suggest that it also doubled it served as watchtower. This corroborated by local oral tradition. Jose writes:  “A stone watchtower stands guard over the edge of the sea, a short distance behind the church.  Reputedly Bohol’s tallest, the ponderous structure bears the year 1851 inside its lowest chamber.  Its hexagonal plan is rare in the Philippines” (Jose 1998). In Visita, Jose adds: “interestingly another hexagonal tower stands in Dauis, on the opposite side of this island (built 1774)” (Jose 2001: 88; also See 07-40).

The structure is in poor condition.  The wood members have all deteriorated and there is no access to the top floor because the wooden stairway that leads up has disappeared. The stone walls bulges outwards showing signs of structural stress and deterioration and the tile roof has caved in allowing rain and moisture to enter. This creates an environment conducive to the growth of algæ and vegetation.

30
Jan
08

Fuerza de San Juan Bautista de La Lutaya • Agutaya, Palawan

In 1622, Palawan (Paragua) and the neighboring northern islands collectively known as Calamianes were entrusted to the spiritual care of the Augustinian Recollects by the Bishop of Cebu, Pedro de Arce OAR. Friars Francisco de San Nicolas, Diego de Santa Ana, Juan de Santo Tomas and lay brother Francisco de la Madre de Dios were assigned to this mission area. By 1623, the friars had crossed to the Palawan mainland but failed to succeed in conversion because of the strong influence of Muslim communities. Quite a contrast to the easy acceptance of Catholicism by the people of Cuyo and neighboring Agutaya. These fledgling Christian outstations were subject to attack by slave raider: 1632 Cuyo; 1636 Cuyo and Calamines; and in 1646 the raiders planned a concerted and massive attack on this frontier. In 1638, while serving as parish priest of Cuyo, Juan de Severo, OAR conceived of the idea to fortify the churches of Cuyo, Agutaya and Culion. While the friars built churches and residences and were advancing in their work, continued slave-raiding and lack of resources forced them to abandon Palawan briefly, except for Cuyo and Agutaya. This retrenchment set back the growth of the missions. In 1659, they returned determined to stay and so begun the construction of more durable defensive fortifications at Cuyo, Agutaya, and Culion, and also at Linapacan, Taytay and Dumaran, Malampaya, Calatan and Paragua (Puerto Princesa). In 1692, the mission at Agutaya was raised to the status of parish under the advocacy of San Juan Bautista. This is the same name given to the fort at Agutaya.

The fort built in 1683 was remodelled in the 18th century. It is not certain if the 17th-century fortification was a palisade or a stone fort. The plan for Agutaya appears in the Valdes Tamon report of 1738. Whether the fortification was built immediately is uncertain. A date given for the completion of the fort is 1784 and is attributed to the encomendero Antonio de Rojas who delineated the plan of the fort. Apparently, the earlier fort of Fray Juan was greatly modified.

Landor (1904: 65) describes Agutaya “a fort with four battlements was the principal structure, and inside its quadrangle was to be found a simple and modest church, the windows of which were cut into the east wall of the fort. This house of God possessed a choir-balcony and the usual cheap images of the altar. On the northeast battlements, which was crumbling away were the remains of a high tower.”

The degradation of the Agutaya fort continues to this day. 

30
Jan
08

Cuarteles • Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

The details of construction are sketchy but it appears that the fortification was built in a short space of time; there is no evidence of additions during the Spanish colonial period. Built in the 19th century by the Spanish military it had military barracks, probably of wood, and a prison. It was built to defend Palawan’s capital Puerto Princesa, after the capital was transfered from Taytay.

Palawan was one of frontiers, which Spain sought to bring under Spanish rule. Also known as Paragua, the main island of Palawan was sparsely populated by indigenous tribes like the Tagbanua and the Tao’t Bato, in contrast to the northern island groups of Cuyo and Busuanga, which was populated by migrants from the neighboring islands of Luzon and the Visayas. Many were fisherfolk lured by the abundant fishing grounds of northern Palawan. 

An early 20th century postcard depicts a fortification built right in front of the Puerto Princesa church. The fortification consists of a pair of two-story quadrilateral towers projecting in front of a perimeter wall. At the towers’ lower registers are entrances leading into the perimeter’s interior. The perimeter wall, pierced by loopholes is not much taller than a standing person. The interior is almost completely occupied by a hip-roofed structure. The roof is made of metal sheets. The structure is morphologically closer to a blockhouse rather than a bastioned fort.

The postcard photograph suggests that this might be a fortified structure other than cuarteles because it is situated at the side rather than in front of the Puerto Princesa church. There is the possibility, though that the orientation of the church was changed over time. But then structural and design details, shown in the photograph, indicate an entirely different structure. The towers, for instance, are simple boxes supported by crisscross timbers. They have none of the articulation of the existing towers of cuarteles. There are no remnants of this second structure.