Siquijor was established on Feb. 1, 1783 and was the first and only parish in the island for more than 50 years.
Dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi for his love of nature, which the island has in abundance, the parish was administered by secular clerics until the Augustinian Recollects took over in 1794.
The choice of St. Francis as parish patron saint may have also inspired the appearance of the Siquijor stone church.
Simplicity of St. Francis
Started by cleric peninsular Fr. Setien in 1793 and continued by first Siquijor parish priest Fr. Alonso Delos Dolores, the St. Francis of Assisi Church may have been planned without adherence to a period historical style to reflect the simplicity inspired by its patron.
In his book published in 2007, church historian Fr. Pedro Galende describes its exterior as “plain and unpretentious” that “has one smooth wall built of coral blocks.”
Church of stone
When it was first put up, the church was just a simple nipa structure. Fr. Setien started the initial work to erect a stone edifice, a task that Fr. Dolores continued from 1795-1831.
The church was built using mostly limestone materials. Just a few meters away is the belfry that was added in 1891.
Historians believe the tower also served as lookout, from where the people of Siquijor first received warning of island intruders and other dangers.
In 2006, the Siquijor Church underwent repairs and renovation. The project was intended to preserve the grandeur of the church for generations to come.