MARIBOJOC. With only a few hours before our flight back to Manila, we requested our tour guide to take us to Punta Cruz Watchtower in the town of Maribojoc before driving us to the airport. But Bohol never runs out of surprises even on our third day in the island.
On our way to see the medieval tower, we were taken to Mag-aso Falls in Antequera and Sta. Cruz Church in Maribojoc.
SMOKY FALLS. The word mag-aso or smoky is a description of the area near the falls. As the falls dumps its load into a natural pool from a 25-foot high cliff, sprays of water makes the area near the falls smoky or mag-aso. Under the curtain of plummeting mountain spring, teens enjoy the cool waters.
STA. CRUZ CHURCH. From Antequera we drove to Maribojobc. The town of Maribojoc was originally a Jesuit mission in the 18th century. The Jesuits built a church which the Recollects replaced with the present structure in 1886.
The façade of Santa Cruz Church in Maribojoc is plain and has a bas-relief of San Vicente Ferrer. Inside, the church ceiling is made of beaten-metal and painted with catechetical and liturgical motifs. There five exquisitely carved and painted retablos. The choir loft has a large metal pipe-organ dating from the 1890 which was last played in 1975.
PUNTACRUZ WATCHTOWER. A few minutes from Sta. Cruz Church is Puntacruz Watchtower. According to Rene Javellana, Bohol relies on small forts and fortified churches for its defense. The watchtower in Punta Cruz in the town of Maribojoc stands on a site where it overlooks the south sea of Bohol. Built in 1796, the tower served as a look out for invading Muslims.
The fort was dedicated to Saint Vicent Ferrer. The site was said marks the area where the first missionaries set foot to begin the evangelization of Bohol. A wooden cross is planted in a slightly indented area in front of the tower. According to legend, the cross was said to have been enchanted with a mysterious spell that had saved many people from the ravages of pirates. The cross is said to extend its arms to the sea, preventing intruders.
EPILOGUE. From the watchtower windows, we imagined how the medieval sentry gasped in awe as he looks out into the vast blue of the Bohol Sea.