Fray Julian Bermejo was born in 1777 in Pardillo, Ciudad Real, Spain. He joined the Augustinian order in 1793. He came to the Philippines as part an Augustinian mission in 1797. At least twenty friar-missionaries were a part of this mission. After his arrival in the country, Fray Bermejo continued his studies at the at the Monasterio de San Pablo, which is now the San Agustin Monastery in Intramuros, Manila.
Fray Bermejo later went to Cebu to study the Visayan dialect at the Convent of Sto. Niño. He was enthusiastic when he was assigned as the parish priest of the town of Boljoon. He was also assigned in Argao basing on the Catalogo of Fr. Elviro Perez, and was also appointed to a number of positions in the province. In 1839, Fray Bermejo returned as the parish priest of the town of Boljoon until 1848.
Moro incursions into the islands in the Visayas area were prevalent during the 16th and 17th century. In addition to Cebu, these incursions pirate attacks were also noted in the southern part of Panay Island. When Fr. Bermejo arrived in Boljoon, he devised a strategy to protect the town from these incursions. Due to this, he earned the title “El Padre Capitan.”
Fortifications in Other Towns
Fray Bermejo also encouraged other towns to build their own watchtowers against pirates and raiders. These watchtowers stretched from Carcar to Santander. The remnants of these watchtowers can still be seen even up to today. Aside from these fortifications, Fray Bermejo also established a method of communication between towns with the use of flags. This gave advance warning of the presence of raiders and pirates and allowed the natives to launch counter attacks.
Aside from the coastal defense system he established in the southern coast of Cebu, Fray Bermejo also encouraged the planting of cotton. Correspondence between the friar and the governor general at that time, Gov-Gen Pascual Enrile, showed Fray Bermejo taught the natives of Boljoon how to plant different cotton varieties. In addition, he also introduced other agricultural products to the town, including cocoa and coffee. In addition, Fray Bermejo also translated a number of literary works in to the Visayan language. He also wrote a number of novenas and contributed to the preservation of the Cebuano language.