The dry season in the Philippines isn't only about vacations and beach escapades but also about strengthening our faith especially during the Holy Week. Considering our country's long history with the Roman Catholic Church during the Spanish period, it is with no surprise that a number of old churches can be found in our many provinces. 

One of this is the province of La Union, a province settled in by Spanish colonizers and Augustinians who converted the residents to Christians. The province is now known for having these two churches:

1) Bacnotan Church

Built in devotion to St. Michael the Archangel, Bacnotan Church is one of the first churches in La Union and one of the birthing places of Christianity in the north. It was constructed between 1817 to 1819.

(Photo from Shubert Cencia, Flickr - Creative Commons License)

The wood and stone convent was finished in the year 1887 but the church was badly damaged in the earthquake of the 1990s. It was immediately rebuilt and one can still see the old bricks embedded on the walls.

Its bell, which is as old as the structure, has been removed from the tower and placed in front of the church.


2) Shrine of Our Lady of Namacpacan and St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish

Placed on the shrine is its history:

As early as 1587 "Namacpacan" [now Luna], a settlement, was a visita of Purao. It was declared a town and a parish with St. Catherine of Alexandria as its Patroness in November 1690. The original site of the town was in Darigayos but was transferred to its present site in 1741. A new stone & brick church was built in 1786 after the Muslims destroyed the chapel made of bamboo & wood. Damages to the church were inflicted after a strong earthquake in 1871. The church underwent extensive repairs between 1997 and 2001.  

Right beside the church is a water source believed to be miraculous and can heal ailments.