January 22, 2014


One of the most photographed landmark in Vigan is the St.Paul Metropolitan Cathedral or simply the Vigan Cathedral.

The cathedral is more locally known as  "Simbaan nga Dakkel" (Big Church). Yes, there's also a" Simbaan nga Bassit"or Small Curch in Vigan which is actually a cemetery chapel. All religious festivities are celebrated at the Simbaan nga Dakkel except the "Tres de Mayo" which is held annually at the Simbaan nga Bassit. It would help if you say the their sizes( big or small)  when taking the public transportation so they can take you right away to the  church you wish to visit.
Its history dates back centuries ago when  the Spanish conqueror and founder of Vigan Juan De Salcedo who ordered to built a chapel on 1574. Its very simple structure was made of wood making it susceptible to natural calamities, an earthquake destroyed the chapel two times in 1619 and 1627. It was reconstructed on 1641, this time a church but on 1739 it was engulfed with fire and was reconstructed again. It became a cathedral when the seat of the Nueva Segovia was transferred from Lallo, Cagayan to Vigan in 1758. In fact, the official residence of the Archbishop of Nueva Segovia named Episcopal Palace  is located right next to the cathedral.   It was on 1786 when  Gov. Jose De Basco instructed to build a new building. Years later, January 3, 1790 to be exact, the cornerstones were laid out. In 1800, a decade  later, the new cathedral was finally completed. It is the same structure we see today. 
Archbishop Palace
they use these during processions
 Because of its history of earthquakes, the Ilocanos fortified the building making it less prone to earthquakes thus its design is called Earthquake Baroque but its style is of neo gothic and pseudo Romanesque with Chinese influence.

The interior walls are exactly the same  centuries ago. It features  includes 12 small altars, 1 choir loft and 3 naves. On the main altar is a brass communion rail.  Churchgoers would line up before the brass rail  and kneel down   when taking the communion but this practice was long been abolished.
one of the twelve mini altars
one of the many statues inside the cathedral
 A Chinese lion dogs or fu dogs can be seen on its facade. At the  center right is the statue of St. Paul riding on  a horse. Just above the doorway is an alcove with paintings of the history of His conversion. 

And what would be a church without a bell fry? The  25 meters bell tower is topped by a bronze weathercock as a sign of homage to St. Peter. It  is located in Plaza Burgos, just a few steps away. 

Read my other posts on my Ilocos Sur series

1.  Historic Town Of Vigan
2. Vigan City Attractions and Festivals
3.  Calle Crisologo| Vigan Heritage Village
4. Buridek Children's Museum
5. Vigan Cathedral| St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral
6. Apo Caridad Pilgrimage Site| Bantay's Best Kept Secret
7. Bantay Church Bell Tower
8. Vigan Dancing Fountain and Laser Lights Show
9. Baluarte| A Zoo in the Historic Town of Vigan
10. Discovering Vigan's Hidden Garden
11. Pagburnayan| Vigan Jar Factory


1 comment:

  1. Actually, the practice of kneeling to receive communion has never been abolished. In fact, this practice can still be seen at parishes were the Latin Mass is celebrated and in some churches like the chapel of the Litttle souls convent in Tagaytay. Even with the absence of an altar rail or a kneeler, the communicant can simply kneel and receive. The problem is that many priests are either ignorant about it or just do not want it practiced.


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