Nueva Vizcaya is a province in the lower part of Cagayan Valley. It was evangelized by the Dominican Order as early as 1602 until 1704 when the lack of personnel forced them to give the area to the Augustinians. The Dominicans then reclaimed it in 1741. The province has only three existing Spanish colonial era churches and all these sports the Cagayan style, or the Tuguegarao Cathedral silhouette. There is also an unfinished brick belfry in Bagabag.
Dupax del Sur Church
Dupax del Sur church is probably the second structure to be constructed in the area. The current edifice was built by Fray Manuel Corripio, O.P. with the facade dated in 1776. Just like the rest of the stone churches in the Cagayan Valley, except San Pablo, Isabela, it is made of bricks sourced from two kilns built near the church, now a garbage dump.
The facade is quite austere with no engaged columns. Only a few embellishments are found in the form of the Dominican escudo and symbols of the order around the pair of windows and the main entrance archway. These are the same symbols that can also be found in the rest of the Dominican built churches in the region.
While simple in the outside, the visitor is greeted by two massive pillars of stucco carved with complex figures. The baptistry is also decorated with the same stucco carvings. There used to be lots of antique statues in this church but have been stolen by thieves including the antique cement statue of San Vicente Ferrer, its patron saint that used to adorn the niche at the belfry.
This church is part of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts’s (NCCA) list of National Cultural Treasures.
Bayombong Cathedral is a ghost of its former self. First built in 1780 by Fray Juan Crespo, OP, it is a complete copy of the much older Dupax Church, mentioned above. After suffering much from fires and earthquakes (latest is 1990), only the facade and belfry are original. The nave and the rest of the structure has been rebuilt and is now bigger.
Of the Cagayan Valley churches, Bayombong’s belfry is different. Unlike most of the quadrilateral ones, this one is octagonal. It is dedicated to the Dominican’s founder, St. Dominic de Guzman.
Bambang Church was constructed by Fray Domingo Caro OP in 1778 and finished in 1791. Like Bayombong, the facade is a copy of the much older Dupax Church. Each level of the belfry is inscribed with the year it was finished. The church is under the patronage of St. Catherine of Sienna.