We visited St. Augustine Church in Vigan, it’s the oldest surviving church in Ilocos Sur, it stood since the Spanish times and under the care of the Augustinian order.
here’s an info from Vigan.ph
”After a few meters’ walk from the belfry, visitors can enter the St. Augustine Church which was built in 1590. The Church has a deep brown, neo-gothic façade. Like the Saint Paul Cathedral, one can see that it also incorporates the distinctively Vigan earthquake baroque in its architecture to save the structure from the destructive force of earthquakes that visit the land.
It is amongst the oldest surviving churches in Ilocos Sur and is under the care of the Augustine Order, first of who was Father Montoya Osa. Visitors will also see within St. Augustine Church the statue of Our Lady of Charity, who is Nueva Segovia’s patroness. From the church, she is said to have watched over the city over many generations.
The church suffered damages from World War II and so it underwent reconstruction in 1950.
The surroundings of the church and belfry are quite historic as well. Visitors will walk upon the same grounds where Diego Silang and his troops were said to have fought with the Spaniards in 1763”.
Here in the church it house the Mother and child image that was found floating in a piece of wood, the image is called Apo Caridad de Bantay– or Our Lady of Charity. They say that this image guards and protects the entire town for many generations
here’s the origin story – via Wikipilipinas
”In 17 century, a three men set out to collect sea salt for preserving the meat for the copper miners, before reaching the bay of Nipe, the strong storm came. As they need to encamped themselves because their canaos were ruined by the storm. They seen a small bundle floating on a piece of wood that they mistook for a sea bird. In reality, it was a small statue of Mother Mary holding the infant Jesus in her left arm and a gold cross in her right. Inscribed on the wooden board were the words, Yo soy la Virgen de la Caridad (I am the Virgin of Charity).
In the Philippines, the images are ancient, it was dated back to the early years of the Spanish colonization. The image of Our Lady of Charity or Apo Caridad de Agoo was enshrined at the Basilica in Agoo, La Union, and the other image also called as Apo Caridad de Bantay was at the Parish Church of Bantay,Ilocos Sur. The shrine of Nuestra Señora de la Caridad in Bantay, Ilocos Sur was founded by Fr. Juan de Montoya, OSA. “
“Apo Caridad de Bantay also called as the Guardian of Fields, is one of the oldest Marian image in Ilocandia. It was also carved from hardwood but elongated neck and sisproportianetely large eyes. It also has cloth vestments tied at the waistline by the cord and an apron.
Since Fray Montoya placed the image to the old church, a lot of mysterious granted favors and miracles occured. “
Here are some photos of the church
Its big and they have lots of interesting glass artwork of Mama Mary and Jesus above, you’ll spot this above the entrance gate.
The church is big and they got new materials to support the old walls and also new ceiling.
Old walls can be seen here deteriorating, but been taken care with a nice paint job
Dark at day time…but thanks to the etched glass, it gives natural lighting inside the church
Here’s the Apo Caridad de Bantay info
I didn’t took a pic of the image at the altar, because I left my zoom lens in our room in Baluarte.
The Bantayan Belfry is just nearby, so visit this church first before going to the belfry tower.
Read my complete Vigan travel blog series
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Discovering Vigan City - Ilocos Sur trip part 1