Saturday, December 20, 2014


             I have long wanted to visit the Cagayan Valley provinces. Except for a short trip to Tumauini to attend an ordination thirty years ago, the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya, Isabela and Cagayan have not yet been explored. Being assigned in Manila made this wish a proximate reality.  A long weekend gave me the opportunity to do just this. The plan was to go to Cagayan and back to Manila by way of the Ilocos region for a trip covering 1,850 kilometers. A stop at two churches in Nueva Vizcaya was first on the itinerary.

          We left Manila at two o’clock in the morning so that we could arrive at our first stop which was Dupax, Nueva Vizcaya early in the morning. The new expressways up north have made the trip shorter. We took the NLEX to connect with SCTEX and TPLEX. We exited near Guimba to proceed to San Jose to Santa Fe and to Dupax, our first stop.
          The original town of Dupax is the largest municipality of the province of Nueva Vizcaya in terms of land area. But in 1971, the  Congress  passed into law Republic Act 6372 otherwise known as "An Act Creating the Municipality of Dupax del Sur from the Municipality of Dupax in the province of Nueva Vizcaya", sponsored by Congressman Benjamin B. Perez in the Philippines House of Representatives   and Senator Leonardo B. Perez in the Philippine Senate. President Ferdinand Marcos amended some sections and signed it into law with the promulgation of Presidential Decree 586 on November 26, 1974 which paved the way for the division of Dupax into two municipalities: Dupax del Norte and Dupax del Sur.

Church of Dupax del Sur

                The Parish Church of San Vicente de Ferrer in Dupax del Sur is the best-preserved church complex in Nueva Vizcaya. Declared by the National Museum as a National Cultural Treasure, St. Vincent Ferrer's Church is one of the oldest and biggest church in North Luzon built through the initiative of  the Dominican Fathers in 1776. It is made of brick, lime, coral or river rock and wood plastered over with stucco. The church covers an area of 7,200 square meters. It features a baptistery and narthex pillars covered with finely carved stucco. The two-storey convento, like old Spanish churches is connected to the church.
The pillars with finely carved stucco.
Church altar

A view of the church and convento from the side of the church
Carved stucco at the Baptistery near the front door of the church
The Blessed Sacrament Chapel 
A statue of St. Vincent Ferrer and an inscription 1776 at the church belfry
The museum at the Convento

The museum found at the convento ground floor.

A grotto  at the side of the church

The Catholic school in Dupax just near the convento

In front of the Church by the Plaza is a Spanish flagpole erected in 1873. 


                 Our next stop was the St. Dominic Cathedral of Bayombong. Like Dupax, the church of Bayombong is also made of red bricks which is common in the area.

            Bayombong was first evangelized by the Agustinians. In 1739 the Agustinians ceded the mission to the Dominicans. Hence the church of St. Augustine was re-dedicated  to become the church of St. Dominic. From 1773 to 1792 the Church with its octagonal tower and convent were constructed. A fire in April 3, 1987 destroyed the convent and the church. On the 250th anniversary of the first mass in Bayombong on April 12, 1989 the new Cathedral was dedicated. A year later on July 16, 1990 the belltower was toppled by an earthquake. The reconstructed belltower was blessed and inaugurated on March 4, 1995. What remains thus of the old church is only its façade. 

Made of red bricks, the facade is what is left of the old church

A wide church plaza fronting the Cathedral
The Cathedra of the Bishop

One enters first a vestibule before being ushered to the main church

The church is spacious with no more posts inside like in old churches
The People's Museum and Library is just by the side of the Cathedral

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