Bantay Church (Saint Augustine Parish Church)

Travel Date:April 4-8, 2012
Bantay Church, also known as St. Augustine Parish Church, is one of the popular tourist attractions in the province of Ilocos Sur. A visit in Vigan is not complete without seeing this church. Don't confuse this church to Paoay Church, though, since they have the same official name.
The church, also called the "Shrine of Our Lady of Charity", houses the miraculous image of the Virgin Mary (Our Lady of Charity), the patroness of the province and the oldest Marian image in the Philippines.
Our Lady of Charity locally known, as Apo Caridad is believed to be the protectress of Ilocandias' crops and harvests from pestilence and other natural calamities. It's also believed to give rain during the drought season.
The church was established in 1590 and one of the oldest church in the province. Damaged in the World War II, the church was reconstructed in 1950. Even though the church was heavily damaged, the convent where the image was enshrined was not damaged at all. The bomb that hit the church did not explode, another miraculous event by the Virgin Mary.
This church is one of the remaining witnesses of all the uprisings in the province. It's said to be the place where Diego Silang, one of the revolutionary leaders in the country, revolted against the Spaniards.
Photography wise, it's best to go there in the afternoon because the sunlight gives the perfect lighting to the church. The Noe-Gothic and Romanesque designs are highlighted by it. But expect to a lot of people by that time. We went there early in the morning and a lot of people, tourists and locals were there already.
This is the first stop in a Calesa tour, but you will not have enough time to explore or even attend a mass. If you are planning on attending a mass, go there on your own.
See below mass schedules.
Daily: 5:30am
Saturday: 7:00am Pilgrim Mass for Apo Caridad (Our Lady of Charity)
Sunday: 4:30am, 6:30am, 8:30am

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