The Church of Our Lady of Light in Loon, Bohol is the biggest church in Bohol.
At the spot of the current church, a chapel was constructed during the term of Fray Manuel de Elizalde in 1753.
Some fifty years later, the Augustinian Recollects replaced by the current church in Ionic and Corinthian style. The building has two towers octagonal bell towers, and is fully symmetric.
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The present town of Loon is located on a plateau about a fifty meters or more above the shore level. The older town of Loon, located at the shore was established by the Jesuits in 1753.
The Recollects who took charge of the town in 1768 transferred it to its present site. In 1853, they began building what is easily the most beautiful of the 19th century churches in Bohol.
Designed by the Domingo Escondrillas, a government engineer, the church is a triple-naved structure made of finely cut coral. The central nave is separated from the laterals by stout piers of cut coral.
The central portion of the Our Lady of Light church facade surges forward giving it a dynamism more akin to Baroque than the Neoclassical style prevalent during this period.
Delicately though inaccurately carved acanthus decorate the capitals of the twined columns of the facade.
Between the twined columns are plaques incised with Biblical texts and dedicatory phrases. The facade's balanced composition is completed by twin towers that flank it.
The church's Neoclassical main altar fills the whole breadth of the sanctuary. Relief roundels portraying the life of the Virgin Mary flank the main niche where an image of the patroness is displayed.
Devotion to the Virgin under the title Our Lady of Light or Kasilak in Visayan traces to 18th century Palermo where a vision of the Virgin rescuing souls from the maws of hell was reported.
The church of Cainta in Rizal province serves as its counterpart on the north when it was founded in 1760. The convento built at the same time as the church is now a school.
To connect the older townsite with the newer, the Recollects built a wide flight of stairs, protected near the topmost landing by a watchtower, now in disrepair.
From Loon Church leads of long stairway of 174 stone steps, which connect Napo, the former seat of the town. Wood to build the church was carried from the forest of Maitum by forced laborers, who had to beat their way through uncharted trails and across rivers.
Loon is some 25 km north-west of Tagbilaran City, along the route to Tubigon. Catch a bus to Tubigon from the Integrated Bus Terminal and ask the driver to let you out in Loon.
Top of Loon Church