Our first real stop in the Oslob area was not planned. We were driving around, looking for a market when we came upon this huge and beautifully old Church.
It took 18 years to complete The Immaculate Conception Church, beginning in 1830. There are several buildings on the grounds, including the church itself, a bell tower, and a parish house. All buildings have had some reconstruction over the years, due to fires and other damage.
The church is made of a made of coral stone, which was very popular in Spanish architecture during colonial times. Coral stone is excellent at repelling heat, so it is a perfect choice for a church in The Philippines. While we were walking around, we saw that a funeral was being held inside the church, so even now…this parish is active and the church is in use.
There are also several buildings nearby that were equally beautiful. We spent a bit of time exploring the unfinished “Cuartel”. This large building was suppose to house Spanish soldiers during colonial times, but for some reason, it was never actually completed. Now, it serves as a beautiful place to take some pictures on a sunny day.
The area around the church and Cuartel was also beautiful. There were a few vendors out, selling treats to kids and their parents. There were some really nice benches as well, and some trees, providing shade. Dave and I actually visited the area twice during our week in Oslob. It was so hot the first day that we couldn’t stay for very long, so we came back a second time.
The part of this historical site that interested me most though, wasn’t actually the church itself. Although the church was beautiful, the Baluarte, or watchtower, was even more interesting yet.
The Baluarte has an important place in Oslob history, having helped protect the town from attacks in the past. Now, it serves as a photographic reminder of times past. Most interestingly, there are chunks of coral built into the wall. It’s really very beautiful, overlooking the ocean the way it does.
I really enjoyed this ‘surprise stop’ in Oslob, and I encourage anyone in the area to check it out if they have the chance!