Visita iglesia Nueva Vizcaya

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

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

Bayombong Cathedral

Bayombong Cathedral
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

Bambang Church

Bambang Church

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.


  1. Greetings, Estan –
    I am curious about the eighteenth century Dominican style architecture. Are the minarets (for lack of a better word) along the top of the façades a Dominican feature? And was there a significant Sangley population that might explain the octagonal bell tower at Bayombong Cathedral?
    I’ve observed that the eighteenth century churches in the Visayas, which I think are mostly Augustinian, share the austere tiered façade, with the exception of Miag-ao, but not the minarets. My question is whether you or your other readers might attribute these subtle differences to population ethnicity or the architectural philosophy of the individual Orders, or a combination of factors.
    Thanks so much for your insight, and for your always beautiful photographs.
    Best regards, Laine

  2. Hello Laine,

    Thanx for the comment. The ‘minarets’ are properly called finials. While its use is mainly decorative in nature, the ones built in Cagayan Valley during the Spanish colonial era under the Dominican Order have been so consistent that some church historians have called it the Cagayan style, which, some, attribute to the Tuguegarao Cathedral as the proponent and copied by builders across Cagayan, Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya. I’m not sure if its proper to say that it is a Dominican feature but its only the churches in these region that sports this feature. It is not found in Pangasinan (except two) or Bataan, or in other Dominican served areas.

    However, in Pangasinan, the church of Calasiao, before it was rebuilt after the late 19th century earthquake was said to have the same feature. If you also check the Salasa church, it has an incipient Cagayan style of pediment.

    With regards to Bayombong, I’m not sure about the octagonal form of the belfry if it can be attributed to a chinese population but when the town of Bayombong was started, they had to resettle several families from another town, San Miguel de Daruyag to make it sizeable and justifiable to become a town. Most of the townspeople were native Gaddangs.

  3. Of course – “finials!” That word had been eluding me all day.

    I searched through photos of Baroque churches in Spain and Peru and I found finials but not in combination with the tiered, symmetrical style as seen in your work on Cagayan. Thanks for the lead on Tuegarao Cathedral.

    It is very fascinating to see such variance in church architectural style during the latter half of the eighteenth century.

    Thanks again and Happy Easter to you and yours.

  4. Pingback: » Visita Iglesia Isabela | Simbahan: Catholic Architecture & Heritage Blog

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