Saturday, February 6, 2016

National Cultural Treasure Series - SANTA CATALINA DE ALEJANDRIA PARISH CHURCH, Luna, La Union - PH-01-0008-NCT

Santa Catalina de Alejandria Parish Church (Iglesia Parroquial de Santa Catalina de Alejandría), most commonly known as the Namacpacan Church, is located in Luna (formerly Namacpacan), La Union.

Like other Philippine churches built in earthquake-prone areas, Namacpacan Church is classified as an Earthquake Baroque church with thick walls and buttresses connected to a brick exterior stairway of different designs and shapes. The church was reinforced with masonry and galvanized iron roof. It was heavily destroyed by an earthquake in 1854. In 1876, the church was restored and the convent was widened. Its 1872 white and yellow facade falls under the Baroque style with the presence of rounded pediments.

It was told that the wooden image of the Blessed Virgin Mary named and to honor Our Lady of Namacpacan (locally known as Apo Baket) in Luna was ordered from Spain by an Augustinian priest assigned in the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Vigan in 1871.While on its way to Vigan, the galleon ship from Mexico carrying the image of our Lady took shelter in Darigayos due to a storm. When the sea was calm, they resumed their journey but strong winds forced them to return to the port of Darigayos. The captain of the ship decided to send the image by land and it was temporarily placed in the church's convent. However, the image was too heavy to be transferred onwards overland. Father Camilo Naves, an Augustinian priest, interpreted the incident as meaning that the image of the Virgin Mary wished to be enshrined in the town of Namacpacan

The image of the Our Lady of Namacpacan, standing 6 feet 4 inches (1.92 m) tall, is the tallest-known Marian image in the Philippines and is known as the patroness of Ilocano travellers.

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