Churches in Ilocos Sur

Among Ilocos Sur's many treasures are its churches, which have stood the test of time.

By Joy Jesena-Barcelon
January 03, 2011

Ilocos Sur is a present-day reminder of how things were early on in Philippine history, because of the structures that still exist there today. Professional photographer Joy Jesena-Barcelon makes her way around Ilocos Sur and discovers the beauty of the churches hidden in the province's different towns.

Ilocos Sur is a province steeped in spirituality and culture. This can be seen in the extent to which the beautiful churches have been preserved and maintained. Featured here are but some of the wondrous ceiling paintings, architectural details, and superb structures.

These places of worship were the center of social, religious, and cultural celebrations in their communities over the last few hundreds of years. Weddings, baptisms, fiestas, funerals, and other significant events in an Ilocano's life revolved around the church.

In 1906, 15 Ilocanos were recruited to work in Hawaii, to be followed by several waves of immigrants years after. These migrants married and settled in Hawaii, and succeeding generations grew up unfamiliar with their Filipino roots. To honor and revive memories of the olden celebrations centered around the church, and to encourage a desire to return to the motherland, the Ilocos churches have been strongly promoted among the Ilocos immigrants in Hawaii, a thrust of Ilocos Sur governor DV B. Savellano. Hopefully these overseas Filipinos will head home, to relive and reminisce the times their lives centered around these beautiful places of worship. Domestic tourists would do well to appreciate the way these churches have preserved our history and heritage as well.

Here are but a few photos of these magnificent churches, their splendor suffusing one's prayers with awe and reverence.