Monday, August 27, 2012

A Journey of Faith @ Ilocandia

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI announced a special “Year of Faith” to help Catholics appreciate the gift of faith, deepen their relationship with God and strengthen their commitment to sharing faith to others.  The observance would begin October 11, 2012 and conclude Nov. 24, 2013.

To realize this, the Volunteer Catechists Commission of Catechetical Foundation of the Archdiocese of Manila (CFAM) is organizing a pilgrimage for a cause at Ilocos region called “A Journey of Faith” @ Ilocandia on September 14—16, 2012. 


SEPTEMBER 14 (Friday)

5:30 pm — Assembly Time
                    Institute of Catechetics of the Archdiocese of Manila [ICAM]
                    San Carlos Pastoral Formation Complex
                    EDSA, Guadalupe

6:00 pm — Orientation before boarding  
7:00 pm — Departure


7:00 am — Arrival

8:00 am — Eucharistic Celebration at Paoay Church
                  - Breakfast (personal expense)
                  - Sand surfing / sightseeing—Sand Dunes [Himala sa Buhangin]
                  - Malacañang of the North

11:00 am — Lunch
                      Laoag City Proper

3:00 pm — Departure from Sarat to Vigan
                     Passing By Badok and Sinait Churches

5:00 pm — Arrival: Vigan, Ilocos Sur
                                    Pastoral Center (Dormitory)
                 - Tour: Heritage Place
                 - Dinner (personal expense)

9:00 pm — REST


7:00 am — Breakfast (Pastoral Center)

8:00 am — Eucharistic Celebration
                     St. Paul Cathedral

9:00 am — Paburnayan Jar Making
                  - Chavit’s Baluarte Zoo

12:00 nn — Lunch (personal expense)

2:00 pm — Leave for San Fernando, La Union

3:00 pm — St. William’s Cathedral
                     San Fernando, La Union
                 -  Marketing of pasalubongs and dinner (personal expense)

7:00 pm — Departure for Manila

Counterpart:  Php 2,500.00
It covers the following:
·         Bus fare from Manila to Ilocos and Ilocos to Manila
·         Overnight stay at the Pastoral Center, Vigan—Sept. 15 and breakfast on Sept. 16.
·        Entrance fee to Malacañang of the North and other sites, donations to pilgrim churches and other miscellaneous expenses.

NOTE:  Excludes: Meals — during the tours, sand surfing fee (Sand Dunes), pasalubongs and  other personal expenses.

·     The organizer is not responsible or liable for any loss or damages of  personal belongings.
·     The pilgrims are expected to show proper decorum (e.g excessive noise inside the bus) during the trip since this is a pilgrimage.
· The pilgrims are required to follow instructions and maintain communications with organizers to assure safety during the trip.
·    Scheduled activities subject to changes upon the organizers discretion.

For more details, please contact: 
*Mr. Ed Frando      — 09296299672
*Mr. Art Barbadillo — 09394946508
   Tel. No. 564-36-50

*Diocesan Volunteer Catechists Coordinators  
   in your Area.

E-mail address:

Paoay Church / St. Augustine Church

One of the four baroque churches in the Philippines designated as UNESCO World heritage sites in 1993.  The other three are San Agustin Church in Manila, Miag-Ao Church (Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Church) in Iloilo, and La Asuncion de Huestra Señora Church in Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur.  Paoay Church is also known as St. Augustine Church.

Construction by the Augustinian Friars started in 1694 and completed in 1710 using coral stones and bricks.  It is an example of earthquake baroque architecture—Philippine interpretation of the European Baroque adapted to the seismic condition of the country.  It was damaged during the earthquakes in 1865.

 Sinking Bell Tower—St. William’s  

One of the first things tourists can spot upon entering Laoag City proper.  It is a massive 45 meter bell tower said to be one of the tallest bell towers in the Philippines built by Augustinian friars in 1612.

The tower has earned its “sinking” reputation because it is so heavy and was built on sandy foundations that it has consistently sunk into the ground at a rate of an inch per year.

Sand Dunes

La Paz Sand Dunes consists of approximately 85 kilometers of protected sandy coastal desert and beach close to Laoag City, capital of Ilocos Norte.  The area is locally known as “Bantay Bimmaboy” - refers to common perception that the dunes resemble pigs in shape.  The area is also popularly known as the “Desert of the North” and is popular location for shooting of films e.g. Himala and Panday.

Malacañang of the North

Official residence of the Pres. Ferdinand Marcos in Ilocos Norte was built on a high point of land projecting into the sea right beyond the coastline of the legendary Paoay Lake. This is now a museum.

Fort Ilocandia Resort and Casino

Metropolitan Cathedral of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle, Vigan

The church stands in the site of the original structure, built by the founder the Vigan, Juan de Salcedo in 1573.  The original structure was just a chapel constructed of wood and thatch which was replaced by a church in1641.

The church has pseudo Romanesque, Neo gothic and Chinese  features.  The brass communion handrails are copied from China, inscribed with Chinese characters by the makers.

Its 8-sided bell tower situated the south the of church, was built separately as a safety measure against possible earthquake damage, so it would not topple over the church.

The interior of the Cathedral is even more impressive. The scenes of the conversion of St Paul are depicted on the alcoves.  The main altar  paneled in silver, brass communion handrails, and 12 minor altars impart the sense of grandeur.  

This is where  Gov,  Floro Crisologo was shut dead in 1970  while kneeling down on a pew.

Calle Crisologo, Heritage Village

Established in the 16th century by Chinese traders from the Fujan Province, Calle Crisologo is the main street in Vigan, the Capital City of Ilocos Sur.   Vigan is a well preserved Spanish colonial town that  has withstood the trials of time especially during the WWII.  Crisologo St.  is so impressively well presserved that present day visitors are able to
experience what life was centuries ago.

To conserve the nostalgic colonial street in the Heritage City of Vigan,  only horse-drawn kalesas are allowed to enter and pass by. A UNESCO Heritage site, this cobble-stoned street stretching out up to 1KM  is lined up with colonial houses called “bahay na bato”  -- two storey house with the ground floor made of stone and used as rice granary and storage area while the upper floor is made of wood and used exclusively for living quarters with sliding windows made of capiz.  Some of the houses are now used as souvenir shops.

Stories have been told that Vigan was spared from destructrion out  of love.  During the later part of the WWII, retreating Japanese troops would blaze any town before leaving so that the American  forces could not make use of them.

However, one Japanese General who lived and married a local girl, made a pact with the parish priest  to spare the the city in exchange for the promise that the parish priest will take of his family. Hence, Vigan is a city spared out of love.

Paburnayan Jar Making

Pot making with bare hands practiced by early Ilocanos in making  burnay (earthen jars) used for the fermentation of basi.  

Chavit’s Baluarte Zoo

80 hectares of gently rolling terrain, hills and mountain sides, the structure of facilities and amenities , its phases of construction is in its best possible realistic and natural habitat for good and sound aninmal care.  Activities include Butterfly garden, petting zoo (interaction with animals – feeding and mini horse ride in tiburin), and live animal show.

Hidden Garden

Bantay Bell Tower


  1. it's more fun here!!!

  2. I enjoyed my trip at Ilocos Region... the sites are beautiful, and the old churches... Marvelous!

    join our pilgrimage and enjoy the beauty of Ilocandia, one more reason why "its more fun here in the Philippines"