The Municipality of Baclayon has several attractions, mostly heritage edifices such as the Baclayon Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, the Baclayon Museum, and the Heritage or Ancestral Houses. It has a special attraction though, the Pamilacan Island, where one can enjoy watching dolphins and whales at play.
Baclayon Church is the oldest church in Bohol and the second oldest in the whole Philippine archipelago, second to the San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila. You can not miss its dark and imposing structure standing just alongside the road in the Municipality of Baclayon with the 21 meter high belfry in front.
The church is made of coral stones hauled from the sea which is only a few meters away from it. It was said that 200 slaves were forced by the Spaniards to build this huge edifice and millions of egg whites were used with lime to cement all the stones together.
Baclayon Museum is housed under the old convent which stands beside the right-hand side of the church and charges a minimal entrance fee of P25 per person to cover maintenance costs. Religious artifacts are displayed such as ecclesiastical vestments embroidered with gold, ivory images of Jesus, the Holy Family, and the saints plus animal skin covered hymnals with pages made of sheep skin and ink taken from plant sap.
Pamilacan Island is under the municipality of Baclayon. It is now a tourist destination for dolphin and whale watching – the said mammals and other underwater creatures frequent the place. Former dolphin hunters are now tourist guides who can guide you to the best sites for dolphin and whale sightings.
Several Pamilacan dive sites are rich with large barrel sponges, snake lake cucumber and gorgonian fans with many various colored feather stars. One may also encounter napoleons, rays and even stingrays.
Heritage Houses Ancestral houses are numerous in the municipality of Baclayon. Some are dilapidated and have been abandoned yet others were lovingly preserved by the descendants of the prominent homeowners. These vintage houses are huge and largely made up of coral stone and hardwood and are replete with the homeowner’s memorabilia, furniture, kitchen utensils and other collections that illustrate the glorious past of our predecessors and need to be preserved.
Worthy to mention heritage homes are the Malon House, the Villamor House, the Luza House and the Sofia House. Other houses are Bahay Kahayag, Caballo House, Cahambing House, Ginete House, Javier House, Lerias House, Manggubat House, Mangrove House, Oppus House, Pates House and a lot more.
Baclayon Homestay Program Many tourists are attracted to stay and live in Baclayon even for a short period of time. More than 67 ancestral houses offer their homes to the public as “homestays” where guests can avail of accommodations and food. Living directly with a Boholano family rather than in a hotel will give guests a firsthand experience on how we Boholanos live and in that way, get to know something about our culture. Likewise, with foreign visitors, Boholanos can learn about foreign culture and form international friendships.