Thunderbird Resorts invited us bloggers in a familiarization tour of their resort in Poro Point, La Union and took us to the tourism sites in the surrounding area of San Fernando and Luna. It was an opportunity to visit what I wanted to go to: the Pindangan Ruins and the Luna watchtower. Both are temples, a Catholic church, and the other a Taoist (Chinese) temple. Both are equally interesting not only in terms of architecture but also the devotions done by their respective faithful.
On a beautiful morning, as one approaches the town center of Luna, the imposing Graeco-Roman style church with baroque features always catches ones attention and makes the visitor stare in awe. It is symmetrically beautiful, standing proud facing the sun. The pointed twin belfries support its upwards movement but is balanced by the rounded pediment.
The parish church of Sta. Catalina de Alejandria has for centuries been an important pilgrimage site for the Our Lady of Namacpacan, affectionately called by the locals as Apo Baket in reverence. Every year, several devotees visit and pay homage to the icon, said to be miraculous. A well is also a favorite spot where they get blessed water.
Nothing macho about this but the Taoist Ma-cho Temple in San Fernando of the same province is derived from the name of the Chinese diety, Ma Cho. In this temple, found atop a short hill, is an 8 inch statue that devotees believe protect and watch out for them in times of distress at the high seas.
The structure is typical Chinese with its tiled roofing, curved eaves and dragon decor at the top. Around the area are statues of animals that are said to be lucky as well as carved images of 18 saints. Within the one hectare compound are well manicured gardens that many local lovers use as date areas. At its front is a beautiful gate that gives a good view of the sea.
What is interesting, however, is that the Chinese community believe that the Ma Cho icon is one and the same with the image of another miraculous, but Catholic statue of the Virgin enshrined at Caysasay in Taal, Batangas. Thus, every September, both icons are transported, alternately, in La Union and Batangas and are venerated by these images’s devotees.