Thursday, April 4, 2013


"I'm a fan for bricks and stones structures. It is something that blends with the environment. Unfortunately, the old structures are the ones that made use of brick and stone. Some of them are either on the brink of crumbling or now in ruins"

I'm a member of an informal "Outdoor Sketching" group and we decided to go to Pindangan as our setting. 

It is a Church Ruins under the care of the Carmelite Monastery.
Although it is not that monumentally grand, it is historically significant to the people of San Fernando City, La Union.
While at the ruins, you might also visit the Monastery's Chapel or buy some religious items or souvenirs as well as taste their goodies specially made by the Carmelite Sisters at their shop.

Taken during our "outdoor sketching" session. Photo shows one of my co-artists Dondon Milano sketching the "ruins", April 4, 2013. This is our OUTDOOR SKETCHING GROUP.


Taken from a pamphlet : (Given at the Carmelite Monastery Store/Shop)

Originally, it was a Chapel made of stones and thatch built in 1764 by FR. Francisco Romero and Fr. Santiago Holarte. The Chapel was later moved to Barrio Tanqui, then to Cabaroan and later to its present site in San Fernando. The Church was constructed with stones and bricks by Fathers Juan Sorolla, Simon Guillermo, and Pedro Fernando, in 1773-1786.
The Ruins display a Church about 60 x 15 meters, with thick walls, supported by buttresses. At the rear side is a baptistery. Near it is a deep well at whose rim are indentions for putting buckets. Water-diviner Fr. John Mary Chin, said it gives abundant, sweet, potable water. Further back, were the probable ruins of the convent, as shown by a low stair-way, and the remains of a wall. As we needed space, we demolished these.
It is related that there was a school-master who tried to bulldoze the Church site on which he intended to put up a mental hospital. It was not realized. During the Japanese occupation from 1942 to 1946, the people around used it as a cemetery. For these reasons, the place is considered haunted and many discouraged us from going there. We were all the more moved to reclaim that sacred spot. Bishop Ligot’s heart was also set on Pindangan. Pindangan is a Pangasinan word meaning “a place for drying” – dried fish, that is, since the place is not far from the China Sea.
From our observation and inquiries, the walls of the Ruins are of rocks, corals and bricks, said to have been cemented by egg whites, or by the blood of oxen, or by some mucilaginous plant. The place was part of the China Sea that had receded. The soil is sandy, still full of corals and sea shells. Underneath is solid bed-rock. It must have been a thriving town because upon excavating, we found pot-shards dating back to the Ming Dynasty. We gave all these shards to mr. Harry Campbell of Shipside at Poro Point who was greatly interested in the Ruins and who had been making excavations in different spots. He gave the shards to the Archaeological Department in Manila. Mr. Umel who resides at the back, said that there was a watch tower near the acacia tree within our area, the remaining base of which they used to play on. There was also a cemetery on a hill, now occupied by the Regional Command of the Philippine National police (RECOM). The cemetery is said to be usually located on a hill, while the inhabitants live around it below …. That is how we found things at the start. We have since filled our grounds with truckloads of subsoil. From the highway, the land slopes down to our place. During stormy days we would get all flooded, and we would spend an all-night vigil draining out bucket upon bucket of water from our frontage, Chapel, Choir, parlors and guest rooms.

Location : Carmelite Monastery
                 Barangay of Parian
                 City of San Fernando
                 Province of La Union

How to get there:
 From Manila take a Bus going to any of these northern Luzon places namely Laoag City, Vigan City, Abra and La Union. But get down at the City Plaza of San Fernando, La Union. From the town plaza hire a tricycle going to Pindangan or for a cheaper one , take a jeepney bound for either of these : Pagdalagan, Bauang, or Naguilian. But you have to get down along barangay Parian, just after Max's restaurant (going south from plaza) some few meters away, there will be a waiting shed and a road going west (road to PNP RECOM1) follow that main road and it will lead you to the Carmelite Monastery where the ruins is.
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