Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Heritage City of Candon

(This is part of my Ilocos Sur townhopping last June 15-16, 2013)

My Ilocos Sur townhopping is nearing its end when I finally got to reach the center of Southern Ilocos Sur : Candon. My travel from Vigan to this city has been very enjoyable because of the greeneries and sceneries I saw from the bus and after almost two hours, I finally saw the city's town hall which I considered a signal for me to alight from the bus.

Old Candon City Hall. Ilocos Sur.
The city hall can be found at the left side of the road if you are going to Manila from Vigan. Little did I know that the hall I assumed to be the city hall is the old town hall of Candon. I only found out about it when I researched about Candon for this post and discovered that a newer city hall was already built for the town. 

From the town hall, I did some walking tour and observe the city. It is evident that the city is bursting with life and the claim to be the center of Southern Ilocos Sur is true, at least based on my observation. Business establishment can be found on the length of the road passing through the town center and the town plaza and public market is full of people.

As I continue my walking tour, I saw many old houses many of which can be found along the city's major thoroughfare. Some of these houses had their first floor rented out by the owners to different shops and businesses, a move that is half-good, half-bad in my opinion. Half-good because the house is being utilized, even for businesses, instead of being demolished and replaced with newer building; and half-bad because the house's beautiful architecture is being modified, and made to look less enticing. 

Old House. Candon.
Old House. Candon.
Seemingly old, renovated house. Candon.
One of the best attraction the City of Candon has is the San Juan de Sahagun Church, strategically located at the center of the town. Because of its high 4 tiered belltower, you can definitely locate the church wherever you are in the town proper. Built, damaged, and rebuilt from the 17th century to the early 19th century, Candon Town Church has been a witness to the town's hundred years of history from then until the present.

Candon Church. Ilocos Sur.
Candon Church boasts of one of the most beautiful ceiling paintings I have seen during my travels. A vivid painting of the last supper can be seen in the ceiling along with other paintings depicting all the mysteries of the Holy Rosary. The painting was overseen by Fr. Avila, the parish priest, and done by Mel Andino, an arts teacher from the University of Northern Philippines, and his student form Narvacan, Redentor Castillo. Castillo's four brothers helped in completing the paintings ( The paintings were unveiled in December 2007.

Last Supper. Candon Church Ceiling Painting. Ilocos Sur.
Ceiling painting. Candon Church. Ilocos Sur.
Candon Church Altar. Ilocos Sur.
Choir Loft and Doorway View. Candon Church. Ilocos Sur.
After checking out the beautiful church, I walk towards the plaza and two monuments standing there caught my attention. The first one is that of a man with raise hat and the second one is a man astride a horse which I mistook for another statue of Antonio Luna or Diego Silang.

Upon checking the first monument's marker, I found out that the monument was dedicated to the  first 15 Sakada Workers from Candon sent to Hawaii to work there in the sugar cane plantations. It was installed in December 10, 2006, exactly 100 years after the 15 men left the Philippines in search of a greener pasture, leaving their families behind.

The other monument, was of Isabelo Abaya, and not of Diego Silang nor of Antonio Luna. Abaya is Candon City's most famous local hero who lead an uprising known as "Ikkis ti Candon" during the Spanish-Philippine war in 1898. Said uprising led to the establishment of a very brief but meaningful republic, the Republic of Candon, which lasted for not more than three days.  

Along the road, near the town plaza can be found stalls selling pasalubongs and souvenirs to travelers and tourist. I saw many items worthy to be bought but because my budget is already at the brink of death, I chose to buy two of the most famous products of Candon: Kalamay and Chichacorn.

I know that Chichacorn is not a monopoly of Candon because many other Ilocano towns also produce it but I find Candon's Chichacorn crunchier and tastes better. I got six packs for Php 120.00. Now, Candon's kalamay is the one I can safely declare to be the best of all the kalamay's I have tasted. Of the eight packs I have bought, I ate one whole pack all by myself as I travel going back to Manila. That's something because the truth is I am not a fan of kakanin's and sweets!

From Candon, I continued travelling southward, on to the last town in my itinerary before finally going back to our home in San Jose del Monte: Santa Lucia.


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About the Author

I am ROMEL RAFOR JAIME, the man behind San Josenyong Gala. My travel blogger name came about because I am a proud resident of the City of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan. In real life, I am a licensed librarian who works in a college in Gapan, Nueva Ecija as a librarian and teaches general education subjects from time to time. My goal is to visit all the 81 provinces of the Philippines before visiting other countries. As of 2017, I have already visited 73... :)


  1. Im not really a fan of city halls and stuff but yea i wanna visit this place! I know its worth visiting tlga :)

    1. It seems you're more of an adventurous type... Ako naman po, historical and cultural tour ang gusto... :)

      Ang alam ko po, marami ring magagandang beach sa Candon... :)

  2. nice church and i love the architecture & paintings

  3. Calamay and chichacron in ilocos are among my favorite food. I was also able to see Candon but it was years ago.

  4. The church is breathtaking. Great post!

  5. the monument of Isabelo Abaya is really nice.

  6. Beautiful. Filipinos do know how to take breaths away :D

  7. I would love to have my picture taken with those statues.

  8. Those are amazing murals!
    I like exploring towns too, especially if they have lots of Bahay na Bato which you reffered to Old Candon House.
    Unless these houses were considered heritage houses or bought over by rich restorers, they'll just go derelict.
    I remember the town proper of Iloilo, has amazing castillan structures that serves as marketplace for vendors on its groundfloors.
    I guess it the same in any town, we just have to wish that the thought ofdemolishment stays out of their mind for many years to come.


  9. Your blog is rich in arts and culture of Candon. But it ended in a simple pasalubongs. I was misled literally for I was looking the significance of calamay and chicaron, but they are just an added to the main focus of the dissertation.

    1. Points well taken sir...

      Thanks for the constructive criticism... :)

  10. I won't forget this place...because this was where we had our breakfast and our first pit stop driving from Manila to Pagudpud.

  11. I love traveling. But old houses/structures bring the creep out of me. But I love your photos Kuya :)) Kervin

  12. wow ang dami pa palang mga lugar ang naghihintay lang na makita nang mga tao... at isa na ko dun sana makapunta ako sa isa sa mga yan.....
    adonis aedrian apostol

  13. astig yung mga ceiling painting...
    i imagine how they paint it...
    and by that i can get a technique for my
    ceiling painting..^^^
    and the monuments..,,,
    maganda yung pagka gawa ...
    idol ko na yung mga gumwa nun^^^
    -adonis aedrian apostol

  14. I love both the interior and the facade! Beautiful Church :) - franc loise ido

  15. woooooww! vintage <3 waaaa gusto ko tumira sa ganyan :D