Sunday, August 4, 2013

San Vicente : the Barrio Destined to Become a Town

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

In the northern boundary of Vigan lies a town unknown and unheard of to the many people who visits the famous heritage city. This town was once a barrio of Vigan known as Barrio Tuanong, but was converted to a municipality to better serve its folks, and now still waiting to be discovered by people.

I myself didn't know what to expect from San Vicente. As a townhopper who visits as many towns as possible in a day, I just included San Vicente in my itinerary without knowing and expecting anything about the town. I was surprised. So surprised.

San Vicente Welcome Arch. Ilocos Sur.
From Magsingal, I took a bus and after some minutes is back at Vigan. I bought some pasalubongs (bagnet and longganisa) and paid a visit to Simbahan a Bassit, and contracted the tricycle driver who brought me there to also bring me to San Vicente upon learning that it is just near. 

The first thing that welcomed me to the town is the beautiful San Vicente Welcome Arch. It is obviously newly built but the design is reminiscent of the old arches built during the early centuries. I told the driver to stop and I took pictures of the arch which looks like its inviting me to come inside the town and explore it better.

San Vicente Integrated School. Ilocos Sur.

Upon reaching the town proper, I noticed a school with some of the buildings made with bricks. The buildings stand out from the other buildings because they are much older looking but exudes that elegant appeal, especially to people like me who values old structures very much.

Brick building. San Vicente Integrated School. Ilocos Sur.
San Vicente Integrated School is an example of an institution which successfully preserved its historical and cultural buildings. What's better is that the brick buildings of the school seems to still be in use until the present. The blue marker with yellow painted letter found at the entrance of the school confirmed my hunch that the school building I have seen is really a historical one.

From the school, we continued our tour to the San Vicente Church, officially designated as the San Vicente Ferrer Church. The first thing I noticed is the churchyard fences built with red bricks, the same bricks used in the old school building of San Vicente Integrated School.

Brick fence. San Vicente Church. Ilocos Sur.
Entering the church yard, I was awed upon seeing a very beautiful church. The church yard is spacious giving a very good front view of the edifice. The church is of Baroque architecture painted with golden yellow and white which make it look more beautiful. Two bell towers stand on either side of the main church, a departure from the usual Ilocos Region church design where single bell tower are built a distance from the main church. 

San Vicente Church. Ilocos Sur.
The church is unfortunately closed when I visited so I wasn't able to check the interior (again! I wasn't actually able to check out the interior of most of the churches I visited that day, and that puzzles me because it was a Sunday!). I checked out for an open side door but I found none though I noticed the church's unpainted flying buttresses which is usual for most of the old churches.

Flying buttresses. San Vicente Church. Ilocos Sur.
After being fascinated by the church's beauty, I continued the tour around the town and we visited the town hall next. The town hall is of average size but also boasts of a good-looking design. Just like in Magsingal, it was also made to look like a Spanish casa-real but it's golden yellow color make it look more modern.

San Vicente Municipal Hall. Ilocos Sur.
San Vicente town hall is definitely beautiful though it was very hard for me to get a very good shot of it because it was marred by too many spaghetti wires dangling from the electric pole. All I manage to have is the shot below detailing some of the town hall's parts.

San Vicente Municipal Hall details. Ilocos Sur.
Just in front of the town hall is another interesting edifice, evidently built in the year before the Philippines gained independence. Upon closer inspection, I found a marker which bears the name of the edifice: Asilo de San Vicente.

Asilo de San Vicente. Ilocos Sur.
Through that marker, I also learned that this was once a vacation house of the provincial Governor, then became the home of The Community of St. Paul of Chartres Sisters of Asilo de San Vicente, a congregation of sisters caring for homeless child and old women. The sisters left in 1946 and the building was turned over to lay administrators, then finally closed down in the year 2001.

As I was getting into the tricycle again to bring me back to the terminal (going to Candon), I can't help but think that San Vicente is as historically and culturally rich as other better known towns in the Philippines. The only problem is that it seems San Vicente is overshadowed by Vigan, as the latter is internationally known and promoted, making San Vicente unnoticed. I think the solution to this problem is for San Vicente to be promoted as a sidetrip of a Vigan tour so that many people will know more about the town and its existence. It will be a big loss if San Vicente will continue to be overshadowed by Vigan and left unnoticed.


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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. The place is indeed rich in history. Love to visit such place and I wanted to visit one very soon.

  2. Wow! that town is rich in Spanic Architecture. Been to Vigan couple of times but not to this place. Next time puntahan ko yan.

  3. Love to go to places rich in structural heritages. I'm always amazed with the architectural design of the old time.

  4. this is a lovely town and very Hispanic! I wonder why there are so many heritage places in Luzon but they are not well advertised.

  5. I agree with Maritel Ledesma, there are amazing old places here in the Philiipines but I think the people and the government don't mind at all.

  6. .. Nice pics. very hispanic!!

  7. COOL place kuya romel .
    ganda ng church
    -Karl Jason Cangas

  8. unique place! :) sayang kung di madiscover.. thanks po for sharing your wonderful experience! :)

  9. unique place! :) sayang kung di madiscover.. thanks po for sharing your wonderful experience! :)
    -marites musada


    "its not only the beautiful place but also the people as well"


    "its not only the beautiful place but also the people as well"

    1. I believe that sir! I hope to meet some people from San Vicente in the future... I want to know more about this town.. :)

  12. That's brown brick building (3rd picture) used to be our home economics classroom for the boys during our elementary days(previouly known as San Vicente Central School). Try to explore more on the barangays you will find more interesting kwento about San Vicente.