The historic Battle of 1813 at Sumilon signaled the end of slavers’ constant attacks
on the southern towns of Cebu. It was a battle won through cooperation among simple townfolks coupled by a well-designed defense by a Spanish Augustinian Friar named Julian Bermejo. These coastal towns have been under constant threat by marauders. Boljoon was one left in disarray and its church desecrated after an attack by slavers in 1782. The 25-year old Fray Julian was assigned to Boljoon in October 19, 1802. He was parish priest of the town until 1808 and intermittently served on neighboring towns, including Oslob, Argao, and Dalaguete.

sumilon2Aside from his priestly duties, he taught livelihood skills to his constituents. He was also a capable builder and military leader. Upon his arrival in Boljoon, he took up the challenge of finishing a new church started by his predecessor. Before starting construction, he focused on securing the church boundary. He built a thick wall using mortar and piedra vitoca (coral blocks) and strengthened it with bulwarks at each corner. Within these walls, the church was completed, a parish house was constructed, a large blockhouse was built along the north wall, and a two-storey watchtower facing the sea. Wanting to fortify defenses across towns, Fray Julian then built Baluartes (watch towers) from Sibonga to the north and to Santander in the south, including in Sumilon Island.
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