Balaoan, La Union
03 March 2010
My first memories from this church was when my brother and I went there in 2007. Back then we were still using the conventional film camera, so we weren't able to take much pictures. In 2008, I went back to shoot more pictures, but because my old Travel Blog encountered problems, I told myself I have to revisit the church for this blog. A few days before my La Union vacation ended, I went out to do a little church hop, and the Balaoan Church was the first in my list.
It was the next town from Bacnotan (where I am staying), so I left the house around 9am. Getting here was really easy, just ride a jeep or a bus going north, and just tell the driver or the conductor that you will go to the town of Balaoan. It's about 15 minutes away, and the church can be seen from the highway, so no worries of getting lost.
A little history before I continue:
It was built in 1829 to 1839 and was finished in 1864. It suffered minimal damages during the 1880 earthquake but was repaired in 1891. Its bell tower, constructed in 1700, was the only one in the province that was built separately from the church. The convent was built in 1877 and was damaged during the 1880 earthquake but was eventually repaired. (Source HERE)
Facade. Among the main parishes in the whole province, this church is the only one with its bell tower away from the main building. All the other churches have their bell tower on either sides connected to the building.
When I last visited the church in 2008, I was told by the church staff that they normally close the main door because even if this is the "House of God," some evil people still try to steal things from the church. If you want to visit any of the Catholic churches here in the Philippines and see that the front door is closed, try any of the doors on the side part of the church, because they would often leave one open. This particular door is something near the church's office, so the employees can see the people entering and exiting the church. If none of the doors are open, then try approaching any of the staff. They would certainly open the church to anyone who would like to enter.
I am "lucky" that day because the main door was open, so I just went inside - say my prayers before taking pictures.
Ostrea Family Altar. This altar is seen on the right side of the church just near the front door. Reading what was written in the plaque, this altar was built by the family of Don Leocadio Ostrea y Sansano and Dona Genevoba Olivar de Ostrea, their children and their in-laws to commemorate the 400th founding anniversary of the church.
Church Interiors. I love that they used cream as their color motif... even if there were no lights, I could still see how the church looks like inside.
Altar. Not as lavish as the other old provincial churches, but I liked the addition of different paintings on the walls.
From the Side. Thank you, sunshine for the illumination! :)
Arches. Even if the look inside was a bit modern, the bricks add the rustic feel to the church.
One church staff saw me taking pictures and asked if I am a tourist. I told him my father hailed from the province, and I was just there for a vacation. He allowed me to take pictures as much as I wanted, and when I went back to the office to express my gratitude and my courtesy, he walked with me out the church and closed the front door as soon as I left. I guess he was just waiting for me to finish before he close up the church for lunch break.
*** Jenn ***