Cebu’s rich history is not isolated within the boundaries of the city alone. Part of Cebu’s Heritage Frontier is located 103 kilometers away southeast of Cebu – the municipality of Boljoon. This once small community reliant to fishing and farming was already established before the coming of the Spaniards. However, just like any other parts of the progressive island, this was also prone to Moro invasion.
History of El Gran Baluarte de Boljoon
After having been totally destructed by slave traders, Father Julian Bernejo spearheaded the construction of watchtowers to protect the townspeople. Often called as “El Padre de Capitan” in Boljoon because of his good leadership in the community, Father Bernejo was able to facilitate the building of four watchtowers: Baluarte sa Fuente, one on top of Ili Rock, one near Kayangon Point, and the biggest of them all, El Gran Baluarte de Boljoon. The structures began standing in 1972 and was completed after 30 years.
Purpose of El Gran Baluarte de Boljoon
Being the biggest among the watchtowers built, El Gran took a very important part in the defense system of the town during raids. The two-level blockhouse which was facing the sea was setup to monitor upcoming invaders and warn people of the incoming attack. The locals would then take refuge in the Patrocinio de Maria Church while the fighters will commence with the well-planned defense. On the other hand, the lower ground of the watchtower became a stockroom for weapons, at the same time a prison cell. Up until now, drawings and markings of the prisoners can be seen upon visit.
El Gran Baluarte at Present
Years after service, the bulwark of El Gran has been turned into a belfry which now displays bells from the time of Spanish instead of cannons. It is often used for the local’s meetings and staged activities of the town.
How to get to El Gran Baluarte?
- From South Bus Terminal, ride a bus that goes to Boljoon. Fare starts at P120.00
- Enjoy the 3 – 4 coastal road trip to the town and go on a historic imagery of how its history unfolded.
- Ask the driver to drop you off at the Baluarte and enjoy scanning the chapters of your history.