ILOCOS SUR ISLAND PHILIPPINES - ILOCOS SUR PROFILES AND TRAVEL GUIDES
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Religious Sites of Ilocos Sur
Sta. Lucia Church, Sta. Lucia, Ilocos Sur Religious Sites
The church is the only one in the province with a transept and experts describe the dome overhead as Renaissance in style. Consoles projecting downward from the cornice make the church façade attractive. A four-storey tower with a mini-dome at the top stands to the right side of the church façade.
The main attraction of the church is the statue of St. Lucy, believed to date back to the 19th century. She has been credited as the source of many miracles especially for the persons suffering from eye ailments. Attached to the vestment of St. Lucy are plates cast in the image of an eye. As a parish, Sta. Lucia, named after its patron saint, was established in 1586. The feast day of St. Lucy is celebrated on December 13.
Nuestra Señora De La Asuncion Church, Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur Religious Sites
The Church of the Assumption, designated as a National Historical Landmark on Sept. 26, 1982 and included in the World Heritage List on December 11 1993, is built on top of a hill giving visitors a panoramic view of the town, the green fields and the blue sea in the horizon. One can reach the Baroque church via an 82-steps stairway. Two huge columns flank the church façade. What makes the church attractive is its reddish exterior due to the exposed brickwork. An octagonal bell tower is located nearby.
The patron saint of the parish, which was established in 1765, is Señora de la Asuncion and her feast day is celebrated on August 15, the feast of the Assumption. Enshrined in the church is the Virgin’s statue made of wood in ornate sculptural style, with ivory face and hands. She stands on pedestal of clouds surrounded by angel’s heads.
Church of St. William The Hermit, Magsingal, Ilocos Sur Religious Sites
The church, classified by experts as Baroque, is famous for its antique wooden altar which is still being used. An old choir loft and the pulpit have been preserved but no longer functional.
The beautifully carved three-layered retablo is divided into eight niches, each occupied by saint. Two pairs of three-tiered slender columns flank the church’s façade. A statue of the parish’s patron saint, St. William the Hermit, in the church façade greets visitors and devotees. Magsingal became an independent parish in 1676 and the feast day of St. William the Hermit is celebrated on February 10.
The Shrine of Nuesta Señora De La Caridad, Bantay, Ilocos Sur Religious Sites
The church is home to the venerated our Lady of Charity, patroness of Nueva Segovia. The Statue of Our Lady adorns a niche at the top section just below the ornate cornice of the church façade. Below it is another niche occupied by a statue of St. Augustine of Hippo and flanked by narrow stained glass windows. Based on historical records, the statue was canonically crowned by the Most Rev. Egidio Vagnozzi, D.D. Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines on January 12, 1956.The shrine attracts devotees from within and outside Ilocos Sur.
The parish of Bantay, Ilocos Sur was established in 1591. The parish’s patron saint is St. Augustine of Hippo, the Doctor of Grace whose feast day is on May 05. The feast day of Nuestra Senora de la Caridad is celebrated on the second Sunday of January in commemoration of the canonical coronation of the image.
St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral, Vigan, Ilocos Sur Religious Sites
As found in the church’s marker, the original church was a chapel of wood and thatch erected in 1574 on orders of Juan de Salcedo, the conquistador and Founder of Villa Fernandina (now Vigan). Historian Benito Legarda writes that the “construction of the cathedral to replace the dilapidated church of San Pablo was authorized by the celebrated Governor Jose de Basco y Vargas in 1786, and the cornerstone was laid on January 31, 1790.” The church itself became a cathedral when the seat of the Diocese of Nueva Segovia was transferred from Lal-lo, Cagayan, to Vigan in 1758. An imposing structure in the heart of Vigan, the church’s main door flanked by two pairs of columns which rise to the second tier of the façade. A niche above the main door houses a statue of St. Paul. A three-story bell tower with a square base and a mini-dome at the top lies nearby.
Simbaan A Bassit, Vigan, Ilocos Sur Religious Sites
At the end of Vigan’s Quezon Avenue stands the Simbaan a Bassit, actually a cemetery chapel. Rectangular columns support the church façade. Historian Alberto Lacsamana writes that the “uniqueness of the chapel lies in its being the only one in the region having an espadaña hung with bells.” A statue of the crucified Christ is found behind the main altar. The chapel’s marker bears that the cemetery was blessed by Rev. Vicente Barreiro on Nov. 9, 1852 but the chapels interior now looks modern with all the repairs done through the years.
San Vicente Church, San Vicente, Ilocos Sur Religious Sites
Miracles are attributed to the parish’s patron saint, St. Vincent Ferrer, attracting pilgrims from far and near. The church façade has two layers of columns divided by ornate architraves. The convoluted cornices in the church’s top section add beauty to the structure. Octagonal columns top with mini-domes rise from the base on both sides of the church façade. The ornate wooden pulpit is still preserved. The parish was established in 1795 and the feast day of St. Vincent Ferrer is celebrated on April 5.
The Shrine of Santo Cristo Milagroso, Sinait, Ilocos Sur Religious Sites
The church itself is simple with the façade flanked by two square columns. The main attraction of the church is the statue of the crucified Christ. The feast of Santo Cristo Milagroso or “Apo Lacay” as local folks call Him, stands out among other religious celebrations in Ilocandia. Every year thousands of devotees from within the region and outside flock to the shrine of Apo Lacay in Sinait several days before His feast on the 3rd of May. According to the old tales, boxes containing the images of Apo Lacay and La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc drifted ashore in Logo, a sitio of Dadalaquiten along the boundary of Sinait, Ilocos Sur and Badoc, Ilocos Norte. Although the versions of the origin of the statues vary in some details, they all agree of one thing; Apo Lacay and La Virgen Milagrosa chose where they wanted their images to be. The people of Sinait wanted to bring home La Virgen Milagrosa while Badoc wanted the Crucified Christ. The respective parish priests of Sinait and Badoc ordered men to carry their respective statues home. To their dismay, the statues could not be moved despite the number of men trying to carry them. After failing, the priests tried exchanging the icons instead a lo! The first miracle of the images happened! The images were lifted without difficulty; the Virgin to Badoc, the Crucified Christ to Sinait.
Today the Sto. Cristo Milagroso attracts devotees just like the Black Nazarene of Quiapo ant the faithful pay homage to Apo Lacay inside the Church. These are annual pilgrimages to the shrine and there is an impenetrable crowd in the church on the first Friday of every month.
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