Monday, April 25

Lal-lo Church, Cagayan

After Pamplona, we stopped by the town of Lal-lo. Lal-lo is a first class municipality and was called as City of Nueva Segovia during the colonial times.

The town of Lal-lo was the center of trade and religious activities of Northern Luzon. It has a rich historical background as being one of the first cities founded in the Philippines alongside Manila (1571), Cebu (1565) and Naga (1575). Established in 1581, Lalloc was its former name, it was the seat of the Diocese before its transfer to Vigan in 1755.

Our stay here was brief and we only took photos of the lovely church called as Santo Domingo de Guzman Church. This church is on the small side but it had massive walls seemingly capable of surviving a war (God forbid). Known to many, colonial churches were built to also serve as fortresses in case of unlikely attacks. Its thick girth reminded me of the walls of Intramuros. And I fell in love with it just like I did with Pamplona Church.

Monday, April 18

Pamplona Church, Cagayan

My impromptu northern Luzon vacation last Holy Week was laid-back and candid. My friend Journeying Pinay, dragged me one day on a road trip to the farther towns of Cagayan province. It was very relaxing and also very refreshing. I enjoyed staring at vast green fields and endless blue summer skies. 

We really had no itinerary. But she mentioned dropping by several old churches which made my heart skip with excitement. And yes! Cagayan's old churches were both beautiful and magnificent.

Two towns from my friend's hometown, Claveria, was Pamplona, Cagayan, where Pamplona Church (St. Peter the Martyr Church) is found. Pamplona church is one of the oldest in Cagayan since it was erected in 1617.  Across the church is where the Cross of Evangelization is placed. It celebrates the arrival of Our Lady of Piat 400 years ago. A few steps further, one can see the then-calm Cagayan River.

The church is around four centuries old. Its crimson facade gives it a charming aura. With the almost empty surroundings at the time of our visit, the church reminded me of the olden times. I half expected knights appearing round the corner, halting briefly on their mounted horses. 

The church sits in the middle of a gated compound with a pair of old large bells safely ensconced in a pyramid glass in front of the church. I thought then what was a pagan symbol doing in a Christian place of worship? Masons anyone? Then a flashback hit me. I saw a road signage on the way. If I am right, there is a masonic district in that area.

There was a small park and several trees where we took refuge at high noon.  Good thing that it was not sunny nor runny. The weather was just right for old world sightseeing. 

I loved this church. 

Monday, April 11

Lazing in La Union

The mermaid has finally swished her tail in the seas of La Union.

Yes, a brief visit to this province has made me appreciate it more. I only used to pass by it when I visit the more popular Ilocos provinces. 

My friend and I spent a day lounging on the shores of Urbiztondo, San Juan. There were not much waves so we just frolicked and spent time resting on the shore. Good thing that the sun was up. I had a slight burn but was not enough to make my skin ache. We even met a friend whom I last seen over a year ago. 

One of the art works on display inside the restaurant

In the early evening, we dined in Halo Halo de Iloko restaurant in San Fernando. It was a lovely diner as it showcases Filipino culture through its muebles and fixtures. The facade is most captivating at night. From the name itself, visitors keep coming back for their halo-halo. A fiesta size is already good for two persons. :)

Fried balut. Waaah!

Before I went back to Manila to report for work the next day, we passed by the city proper and found a night market set up near the city hall. A beauty pageant was about to start too. A stage was set in the town plaza. We feasted on street foods such as kwek-kwek and Barbeque of different kinds. We were tempted to taste fried balut but a not-so-good childhood memory with it prevented me from doing so.

It was a day well-spent. I was surprised that I actually enjoyed my brief stay in La Union. Till next time.