Church of St. James the Greater (Santiago, Ilocos Sur)

Church of St. James the Greater

The town’s stone and brick church, built in the late 18th or early 19th century, is located on top of a hill reached by steps made of cut stones. It was burned by lightning in 1823, damaged by the July 18, 1880 earthquake, was repaired by Fr. Juan Martin in 1883 and the rotten harigues (wooden posts) replaced in 1887 by Fr. Pedro Ibanez.   In 1830, Fr. Manuel Foj enlarged the convent.

Buttresses at the left side o the church

Its simple, single level Baroque facade (blended with some Neo-Classic elements) has massive, circular buttresses, a recessed arched entrance flanked by two lateral, semicircular arched statued niches, a triangular pediment decorated with striped ornamentation (the only ones in the façade) at the edges and a statued niche, with its elliptical arch, on the upper central portion.

The right side of the church

Its unusually shaped piers were said to have been copied from the form of a cigar popular in the region. The heavy cement coating steals the appeal of the “folk” Baroque pilasters and hides the texture of the stone and brick.

The church interior

Church of St. James the Greater: Manila North Rd., Santiago 2707, Ilocos Norte. Feast of St. James the Greater: July 25.

How to Get There: Santiago is located 358.75 kms.  from Manila and 49.25 kms. south of Vigan City.

Church of Our Lady of the Assumption (Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur)

Santa Maria’s fortress-like, earthquake Baroque-style Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, together with the convent and separate bell tower, were built on roughly 1.25 hectares on a 19 m. (60 ft.) high hill surrounded by a 1.6 m. thick defensive retaining wall on all sides like a fortress, The wall is augmented by stone buttresses every 10 m..

Church of Our Lady of the Assumption

Church of Our Lady of the Assumption

The church is a National Historical Landmark (by virtue of Executive Order nos. 260 on August 1, 1973, 376 on January 14, 1974 and 1515 on June 11, 1978) and was also chosen as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on December 11, 1993 as part of the Baroque Churches of the Philippines, a collection of four Baroque Spanish-era churches.

NHI Plaque

NHI Plaque

It was probably built by Fr. Alejandro Peyrona before the close of the 18th century, totally burned by fire in 1822, reconstructed in 1824, restored in 1859 by Fr. Lorenzo Rodriguez and finished in 1889 by Fr. Juan Zallo.  During the revolution, the church was a rebel stronghold.

The grand stairway

The grand stairway

The church is 99 m. (325 ft.) long and 22.7 m. (74 ft.) wide and is approached by climbing a wide 85-step, 4-flight piedra china (granite) stairway, the first and second flight having 20 steps each, the third 22 and the fourth 21 plus two additional steps. The gently rising stairway, with three landings, tapers from 13 m, wide at street level to 1.5 m. narrower at the top. It has a sweeping view of the lower plains and the town of Santa Maria.

View of Sta. Maria town

View of Sta. Maria town

The simple, solid brick façade, with its three windows and one blind niche, has a recessed arched entrance framed by a pair of exaggerated rectangular pilasters, dividing the whole façade into three well-defined planes, and thick, massive walls with delicately carved side entrances (with few openings) and heavy circular buttresses or corner drums that end up in decorative urn-like finials. A stringcourse extends from one corner drum to the other across the façade, .

Side entrance

Side entrance

The eastern and western side of the outer walls are reinforced by 13 huge quadrangular buttresses, typical of Earthquake Baroque architecture.

Huge quadrangular buttresses typical of Earthquake Baroque architecture

Huge quadrangular buttresses typical of Earthquake Baroque architecture

The first buttress from the front is adorned by a huge bas relief, visible as one ascends the front stairway, retelling how the statue of Our Lady of Assumption was found on top of a tree.

According to tradition, the statue was washed up on the beach, undamaged from the wreck of a Spanish galleon.  It was installed on the original ermita (chapel) built at the foot of the mountain.  It would periodically disappear, only to be subsequently found on the same guava tree on top of the knoll where the church now stands.

Huge relief retelling how the statue of Our Lady of Assumption was found on top of a tree

Huge relief retelling how the statue of Our Lady of Assumption was found on top of a tree

The middle buttress on the eastern wall (back) is built like a staircase for easy maintenance of the roof, back when thatched roof was the norm in Philippine churches (now lighter corrugated galvanised iron roofing is used).

Middle buttress built like a staircase for easy maintenance of the roof

Middle buttress built like a staircase for easy maintenance of the roof

The main entrance and the blind niche on the curvilinear,  cock comb-shaped open pediment (topped by a small cupola) have circular arched forms.  Lateral ones have segmental pediments.

The church interior

The church interior

Inside is a long single nave with 9 pairs of Ionic pilasters dividing the interior elevation into 8 bays. Wind chimes hang from the lamps inside and the huge altar features some fine old tiles. A series of smaller altars, 3 on each side of the apse, flank the main altar.  There’s also a pulpit and a lectern. The church houses the statue of the one-meter tall, dark Virgin of Santa Maria.

The main altar

The main altar

The church pulpit

The church pulpit

The celebrated, 4-storey, squat leaning bell tower, consisting of stacked octagonal horizontal cross-sections of decreasing diameter (typical of Earthquake Baroque church towers), stands separately near the middle of the nave. Covered by a dome with balustrade that is capped by a cupola (with a cross on top), this Chinese pagoda-like tower is decorated with single pilasters, finials and blind and real semicircular arched fenestrations.  A clock, on the third level, faces the stairway for churchgoers to see.

The 4-storey, octagonal bell tower

The 4-storey, octagonal bell tower

The tower was built in 1810, during the renovation of the church, and furnished with a bell the following year. After the bell tower was remodeled in 1863, its foundation gradually settled down and, today, the imposing structure is slightly leaning or tilting.

The currently roofless onvent

The currently roofless onvent

Partly blocking the frontal view of the façade of the church and accessible from the church by an elevated stone walkway (underneath which is a gate that leads to the back courtyard) is the convent. Damaged during the 1880 earthquake, it was rebuilt by Fr. Benigno Fernandez and greatly renovated in 1895.  An 8 m. high stone fence, erected in 1859 by Fr. Rodriguez, surrounds the buildings.

Part of the 8 m. high wall

Part of the 8 m. high wall

From the back courtyard, another wide stairway, similar to the front but on the opposite side (also built by Fr. Rodriguez in 1859), leads down to a brick walkway that leads to an old abandoned circular camposanto (cemetery) at the foot of the hill now overwhelmed by exuberant foliage. Within the brick fence of the cemetery are the ruins of a former old brick chapel (ermita) and old graveyards.

The back stairway

The back stairway

Address: Santa Maria – Burgos Rd,, 2705 Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur. Tel: (075) 732-5568. Feast of Our Lady of the Assumption: August 15.

How to Get There: Sta. Maria is located 369.75 kms. from Manila and 38.25 kms. south of Vigan City.

Church of St. William of Aquitaine (Magsingal, Ilocos Sur)

Church of St. William of Aquitaine

Church of St. William of Aquitaine

Magsingal‘s 3-storey, cream and white Church of St. William of Aquitaine, the town’s second, was built in 1827, restored in 1848 and again by Fr. Jose Vasquez.  Its Neo-Classical facade, built within a light wall frame and supported by steep and imposing buttresses (like other Ilocos churches), is divided into 3 levels.

The church complex

The church complex

The first level has a semicircular arched portal flanked by two statued niches and topped by triangular canopies between paired and single Tuscan columns.  A rectangular piece, atop the main entrance’s keystone, contains the Augustinian symbol.

The Neo-Classical facade

The Neo-Classical facade

The second level, a repeat of the first, has a large semicircular window at the center flanked by two windows with triangular pediments, with all 3 having baluster shafts. The third level has a single, semicircular niche (with the statue of St. William the Hermit) flanked by two occoli (small circular windows).  The elaborate curvilinear pediment ends up in finials.  Its tympanum also has a circular window

The adjoining convent

The adjoining convent

The church is linked to the 2-storey convent/school by a capiz window-lined upper corridor mounted over two arches.

The octagonal bell tower

The octagonal bell tower

The nearby 30-m. high, 4-level octagonal brick bell tower, with blind and real semicircular arched fenestration of various sizes, was allegedly built in 1692 and finished by Fr. Pedro Berger (parish priest from 1824 to 1829).

The church interior

The church interior

On July 31, 2001, it was one of the Philippine colonial churches declared by the National Museum as a National Cultural Treasure and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) had identified and selected it as one of 26 Spanish Colonial Era churches to be under its conservation program.

Side altar

Side altar

Inside are the most important examples of Baroque-influenced art in the Ilocos notably the ornate Baroque reredos made of molave (which contain no nails), a choir loft, molave columns, a well-preserved retablo (a total seascape) and an incomparable pulpit.

The altar retablo

The altar retablo. The statues of the mermaids are on the sides of the topmost niche 

Atop the topmost niche (housing the statue of St. William) of the retablo are two nude mermaids.  It is said that the sculptor, Nepomuceno Tolentino, a Magsingal native, used his pregnant wife as a model for the pregnant mermaids.The  whole retablo is topped by a clam shell and the ceiling of the niches are also in clam shell form. On the sides are Classically designed seahorses, above which are big waves (with moderate forms of starfishes on their hold) accented with smaller waves.

The altar

The altar

The richly-carved main altar features Salomonic columns adorned with plant motifs. The pulpit has a statue of a boy with a tambuli or native horn, both made by a certain Pablo Tamayo, a talented Magsingal fisherman. He also designed the choir loft.

The richly carved pulpit

The richly carved pulpit

Commencing from the church and linking various streets are the 14 stone shrines of the Via Crusis (Way of the Cross).

Stairway leading up to the pulpit.

Stairway leading up to the pulpit. On top of the canopy is the statue of the boy with a tambuli (native horn) 

Address: Manila North Road, 2730 Magsingal, Ilocos Sur.  Tel: (077) 726-3565. Feast of St. William of Aquitaine: February 10.

How to Get There: Magsingal is located 419.2 kms. from Manila and 11.2 kms. north of Vigan City.

 

Church of St. Augustine (Bantay, Ilocos Sur)

Bantay‘s restored 18th century Church of St. Augustine, also known as the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity, was first built from 1691 to 1692 by Fr. Alonso Cortes.  Evacuees took refuge here during the Basi Revolt of 1807. It was rebuilt and restored by Fr. Eduardo Navarro (parish priest from 1870 to 1875) and was finished by Fr. Lizardo Villanueva in 1892.

Church of St. Augustine

Church of St. Augustine

Fr.  Alfredo Versoza patched the roof with galvanized iron.  Damaged during World War II, the church was repaired in 1950 and the interior decorated by Fr. Jose Brillantes. This 45.09 m. long and 11.69 m. wide brick church is flanked by massive rectangular twin towers.

The church complex. The separate bell tower is on the far left

The church complex. The separate bell tower is on the far left

Its facade has Baroque (decorative volutes around the second level windows), Neo-Gothic (pointed lancet-like arch flanked by blind pointed arcading at recessed main entrance) and pseudo-Romanesque (central window’s shaft with balustrade) features.

The church facade

The church facade

The facade’s only decorated parts are broken curves along the top of the triangular pediment and the inverted traceries below the eaves. The imposing church once was in the shape of a cross but the two wings that formed the arms of the cross were damaged during the Second World War.

The church interior

The church interior

The eerie but romantic “Chapel by the Ruins,” an open air chapel at the remains of the right wing of the original structure, was said to have been the place where priests were imprisoned by Diego Silang during the 1763 revolt against the Spaniards.

The Chapel By The Ruins

The Chapel by the Ruins

Its separate 3-storey hilltop and slightly crumbling square bell tower, which served as a lookout for approaching enemies, could be climbed for a fine view of an old nearby cemetery and the surrounding area.

The separate bell tower

The separate bell tower

Inside the church is the miraculous and greatly venerated image of Our Lady of Charity (Nuestra Señora de La Caridad), the oldest Marian image in the Ilocos.  Legend has it that it was found my some local fishermen in a wooden box which was floating on Bantagay River. The 50-inch tall image is made of wood, except for the ivory face and hands (its ivory parts were stolen in 1928). On January 13, 1956, the image was officially crowned by Egidio Vagnozi, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines.

Historical plaque

Historical plaque

Address: Manila-North Road, Zone 5, 2727 Bantay, Ilocos Sur. Tel. (075) 722-4072. Bell Tower open 6 AM – 6 PM. Feast of St. Augustine: May 5. Feast of Our Lady of Charity: Second Sunday of January.

How to Get There: Bantay is located 406.17 kms. from Manila and 1.83 kms. north of Vigan City.

Ilocos Sur Adventure Zone (Bantay, Ilocos Sur)

Ilocos Sur Adventure Zone

Ilocos Sur Adventure Zone

The Ilocos Sur Adventure Zone (ISAZ), an adventure center at the boundary of the towns of Bantay and Santa, near the postcard-pretty Old Quirino Bridge, is the newest attraction in this side of Ilocos Sur.  Owned, built and operated by the provincial government, it was fully operational since  December 22, 2011.

Ilocos Sur Adventure Zone (8)

With its climbing and rappelling walls, kayak center, zorb balls, giant swing and its 400 m. long zip line that crosses the Abra River, it mostly caters to adrenaline junkies and adventure freaks and is perfect for local and international tourists wanting a bit more than visiting museums and the cobble streets of nearby Vigan City, a 15-min. drive away.

Zipline tower

Zipline tower

They also offer rock climbing and rappelling at the rocky mountains of Banaoang.

Giant Swing

Giant Swing

Adventure Zone: Brgy. Banaoang, Bantay, Ilocos Sur. Rates: zipline (Php250, one way, sitting; PhP300 each, one-way, superman; PhP500,  two way), rappelling (PhP150, 2 attempts), wall climbing (PhP150, 2 attempts), kayaking (PhP150, 30 mins.), giant swing (PhP180, single; PhP300, twin).

How to Get There: Sta. Maria-bound buses (fare: PhP25) from Vigan City pass by the area.

Old Quirino Bridge (Bantay, Ilocos Sur)

The old Quirino Bridge

The old Quirino Bridge

The scenic Old Quirino Bridge, also called Banaoang Bridge, is an old Parker-type (camelback) bridge named after the late former Philippine President Elpidio Quirino, who hails from Vigan. Spread across the Abra River, it majestically connects the two beautiful, transcending rocky mountain slopes of the town of Santa and the tail end of Bantay, both in Ilocos Sur.

The mighty Abra River

The mighty Abra River

Considered as one of the country’s most beautiful bridges, this arch bridge, next to the Vigan Gap,  is considered an iconic symbol of Ilocos Sur. Aside from its magnificent views, it is also widely praised for its marvelous engineering and grand architectural design. The approach to the bridge is as scenic as the bridge itself.

Quirino Bridge (5)

The original bridge trusses

At the height of Super Typhoon Feria (which devastated the province from  July 4-6, 2001), one of its steel spans was damaged and washed away.  The old, 4-span bridge was reconstructed, with a different third quarter K-truss portion, and is still presently passable.  However, on December 2007, Chinese engineers and a local construction company started to build a new, 456 m.-long replacement, a stone’s throw (350 m.) from the original bridge.

The replacement span

The replacement span

The new Quirino Bridge is a component of the Japan-funded Urgent Bridges Construction Project for Rural Development which plans to replace old bridges with new bridges, on national roads that lead to urban centers all over the country. On December 30, 2009, it was officially opened by then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The old truss type bridge, currently preserved as a tourist attraction, doubles up as a backup in case the new main bridge is damaged by typhoons.

The new Quirino Bridge

The new Quirino Bridge

Old Quirino Bridge: Vigan Gap, Bantay, Ilocos Sur

Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr (Santa, Ilocos Sur)

Church of St. Catherine, Virgin and Martyr

Church of St. Catherine, Virgin and Martyr

This interesting and picturesque church is situated near the sea, one kilometer off the highway.  It was first built by Fr. Pedro Torrices from 1849-1855 and was finished by Father Luis Lagar in 1875. In 1886, Fr. Jose Rodriguez Prada restored the church and built a belfry.  A convent, built by Fr. Rafael Redondo, was eventually destroyed.

Church of St. Catherine, Virgin and Martyr (3)Its one-storey Neo-Baroque facade has well emphasized super-positioned coupled piers;   a horizontal string cornice designed with block modillon and a undulating Baroque-style triangular pediment.  The three-centered depressed arch main entrance, flanked by semicircular arched windows, has jambs bordered by protruding blocks of stone.  A circular window,  on the choir loft, has lace-like carvings. The bell tower on the right is a new construction.

Church of St. Catherine, Virgin and Martyr (4)

Address. National Highway, Santa, Ilocos Sur. Tel: (077) 725 5033. Feast of St. Catherine, Virgin and Martyr: November 25.

How to Get There: Santa is located 366.8 kms. from Manila and 41.2 kms. south of Vigan City.

Baluarte Zoo (Vigan City, Ilocos Sur)

Baluarte Zoo

Baluarte Zoo

It was our last day in Ilocos Sur and, as we still had a whole day for sightseeing prior to our evening departure for Manila, Melissa, Almira, Albert, Jandy and I, together with Cora, Melissa’s sister, and her two grandchildren, decided to visit Baluarte Zoo, former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson’s home in Vigan City and one of the top tourist destinations in Ilocos Sur.  Along the highway in Napo, Magsingal, we took a bus or the 13-km./25-min. ride to Vigan City proper.

Zoo entrance

Zoo entrance

From the city proper, we all boarded two tricycles for the 10-min. ride to Baluarte. As it was Holy Week, there was a traffic queue as we neared the entrance so we alighted, paid our fare, and walked the rest of the way.  Prior to entering, we had lunch at an eatery just outside the zoo. Entrance to the zoo was free.

Zoo rates

Zoo rates

Zoo Map

Zoo map

The approximately 80-hectare Baluarte Zoo, where Chavit’s numerous pets can be found, sits on a hill that provides an awesome panoramic view of Vigan City. This interactive free-roaming animal sanctuary is home to albino and spotted deer; miniature horses; impalas; one-humped camels; goats; zebras; ostriches; monkeys; llamas and buffalo plus a slew of bird species, from the common African love birds, ducks, swans, midget chickens and parrots to the more exotic hornbills.

Spotted Deer

Spotted Deer

Zebras

Zebras

For caged animals, they have some reptiles like snakes, iguanas, monitor lizards, pythons, crocodiles and then there’s Bengal tigers and birds such as eagles, owls and peacocks.  Baluarte also features live daily animal shows (three times a day, 10 AM, 2 PM an 4 PM) and tell times when audiences are introduced to the animals.

Ostriches (2)

Free roaming ostriches

There’s also a petting zoo, a butterfly garden inside the garden where one can observe and have a more serene interaction with thousands of butterflies, some endemic to the Philippines; a track or horse riding; a skeet shooting range and a chapel, among others.

Chapel

Chapel

Singson's gold-clad resthouse

Singson’s gold-clad resthouse

The gold-clad building (called by locals as the “Golden Building”), topped with a burning bush sculpture up its roof, is Chavit’s personal multi-storey rest house which has a grand view of Vigan and the West Philippine Sea.

Singson's "Yellow Submarine"

Singson’s “Yellow Submarine”

Zoo golf cart shuttle

Zoo golf cart shuttle

Within the grounds, we had a glimpse of Chavit’s personal and functional one-man mini-submarine with its iconic yellow color (one can easily hazard a guess on what its name is), said to have been used by Chavit to track treasures during his free time. Kids will definitely enjoy the Jurassic Park background because of those life-size concrete dinosaurs. There was also a safari tour, using a long-seater golf cart, with a minimal fee of Php20 per person.

Life-size concrete dinosaurs

Life-size concrete dinosaurs

Melissa interacting with an anaconda

Melissa interacting with an anaconda

To interact and get a close encounter with the animals you can, for a price, also ride some ostriches, horses and ponies and can touch or carry an anaconda (PhP20) and iguana (PhP20). For a closer encounter with parrots and hornbills, visitors may choose to openly approach and feed them with bananas and seeds in a more open area. Each animal has there own designated attendant. The place also has souvenir shops (T-shirts, key chains, ref magnets, etc.) and food outlet.

Souvenir shop

Souvenir shop

The climax of our visit to the place is the Safari Gallery perched on top of the hill.  It houses a collection of deer heads (and other few animals) hanging on the wall; the collection of stuffed animals such as a lion, Bengal tiger, wildebeasts, bison, bear, buffalo, gazelles, elephant, sheep, and so many more killed in his safari adventures (paintings and photos of Chavit beside the dead animal are also posted).

Safari Gallery

Safari Gallery

Some are just skins of these wild animals. While I do not like the idea of killing these animals, it still looks awesome looking at them preserved and mounted. It is also well maintained with properly labeled items.

Stuffed animals at the Safari Gallery

Stuffed animals at the Safari Gallery

Melissa and Albert also tried out the Water Walking Ball (PhP50/pax/15 mins.), a large inflatable sphere that allows a person inside it to walk across the surface of a pool of water. Before leaving, Almira and Jandy tried out the tiburin ride, a rickshaw driven by a miniature horse. It allowed them a close-up view of the free roaming animals.

Water Walking Ball

Water Walking Ball

From Friday to Sunday, 6 – 9 PM (last entry 8:30 PM) there is a Night Zoo. Admission: (Discovery Trail): PhP50 for adults, PhP20 for children and PhP40 for senior citizens and persons with disability.  Tram on Tour:  PhP100 for adults, PhP40 for children and PhP80 for senior citizens and persons with disability. On weekends, from 7 – 8:30 PM, there’s  a Sala ti Darang (The Art of Fire Dancing) show.

Almira and Jandy's tiburin ride

Almira and Jandy’s tiburin ride

Baluarte Zoo: Brgy. Salindeg, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur.  Tel: (077) 722-7186. Open daily, 8 AM – 5 PM (last entry 4:30 PM).

Church of St. Dominic of Guzman (Sto. Domingo, Ilocos Sur)

Church of St. Dominic of Guzman

Church of St. Dominic of Guzman

This church was built in 1762 by Dominican Father Jose Millan.  Father Miguel Padilla (parish priest from 1825 to 1869) made many improvements on the church and, in 1939, Monsignor Crisanto Padernal plastered and painted the church. Both bell tower and presbytery were damaged and rectory completely ruined by the earthquakes of June 12 and 22, 1957. The present bell tower has a base foundation of 9 m.. Diego Silang, leader of the 1762 Ilocano Revolt, was a bell ringer here.

The Baroque-style facade

The Baroque-style facade

Its protruding Baroque façade, divided into two levels by a string course, has a segmental arched main entrance flanked by superpositioned coupled Doric columns on pedestals. Above the entrance is a statue of St. Dominic of Guzman and a blind, wing-like arch with decorative moldings following its outline.

Blind, wing-like arch

Blind, wing-like arch

Lancet windows at the sides

Lancet windows at the sides

Above this ensemble is a two-level bell tower with semicircular arch openings. The receding side walls of this central segment have square pilasters topped by urn-like finials. The sides of the church have lancet windows.

The modern church interior

The modern church interior

Church of St. Dominic of Guzman: Manila North Road, Sto. Domingo, Ilocos Sur. Tel: (077) 726-3932. Feast of St. Dominic of Guzman: August 8.

How to Get There: Sto. Domingo is located 413.85 kms.(an 8-hour drive) from Manila and 12.7 kms. (a 25-min. drive) from Vigan City.

Stopover – Church of St. Nicholas of Tolentino (Sinait, Ilocos Sur)

About 8 kms. after Cabugao, we entered the town of Sinait, the last Ilocos Sur town before entering the province of Ilocos Norte.  Here, we all made a longer stopover at the Church of St. Nicholas of Tolentino.  This church, damaged during the earthquake of 1620, was burned in 1760 and finished between 1760 and 1822.  It was restored by Fr. Celestino Paniagua (parish priest from 1889 to 1895).  Damaged by typhoon in 1953, the church was repaired in 1960 by Fr. Raymundo Garcia.

Church of St. Nicholas of Tolentino

The church has a massive, stucco-cement Neo-Classic and Baroque facade with no openings and flanked by 2 almost square twin bell towers.  The simple arched main entrance, flanked by two pilasters, has a rectangular window above it flanked by two small occoli decorated along the outer edges.  Above it is a small niche. A wooden tablet, carved with the Spanish coat-of-arms, is above the main door.  The quaint Moorish-inspired belfries have 2 levels, topped by balustrades, with one semicircular blind opening at the second level.

The church interior

The church houses the miraculous 17th century, life-size crucifix of the Black Nazarene or Santo Cristo de Sinait.

According to a long-lost manuscript, written between 1731 and 1734, this crucifix was found by some Sinait fishermen in 1620 floating along the coast of Sitio Lugao, Dadalaquitan Norte, in a casket together with the image of La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc and was immediately placed inside the church.

Carved in hardwood and 18 feet long, it has a rich brown color and an impressive countenance. The sanctuary became famous throughout the Ilocos and devotion to the image was tirelessly spread in 1754 by Father Juan Dominguez.  It is believed to have aborted a plague that hit Vigan in 1756 and according to residents, still perspires sweet-scented oil.  A replica was recently installed by parish priest, Fr. Raymundo Garcia, at the spot where the statue was supposedly found