Exploring the Marvels of Luna La Union
The scorching sun kissed my skin as I slowly descend from an air-conditioned Fred and Cathy Trans bus. After travelling for almost three hours from Baguio City, I have reached the town of Baloaon (prior to my trip I was advised to drop by Baloaon because buses don’t go to Our Lady of Namacpacan Church in Luna). I didn't mind the "heat" when I went out. I searched for the Luna-bound tricycles and, fortunately, I found it as easy as 1-2-3. From Baloaon proper, it took us approximately twenty minutes to reach the Our Lady of Namacpacan Church. (Tricycle fare is Php10.00). Here are some of the tourist attractions in Luna, La Union that you shouldn't miss when travelling:
1. Our Lady of Namacpacan Church. My first destination in Luna is the century-old Our Lady of Namacpacan Church. Built in the 18th-19th centuries by the Augustinians. The church houses one of the most important pilgrimage sites during the colonial era--the shrine of Our Lady of Namacpacan. As early as 1587, Namacpacan was recorded as a visita (satellite mission, whose church is manned by non-resident clergy based in the cabecera) of Purao (now Balaoan). It was a settlement along the camino real (national road) from Vigan to Manila, and travelers stopped there to refresh themselves. Since restaurants was not yet in vogue, local families offered the travelers food and lodging, hence the name.This is definitely a must-see church if you're planning to visit Luna.
3. Baluarte Watch Tower. The lighthouse "remain" is known to the locals as "Baluarte." If you are traveling and you want to visit this World War II remnant, asked the locals "Where is Baluarte?" Built by the Spaniards during their heydays, the mighty Baluarte was used as watch tower and observation post by the authorities for impending danger from the sea. Not from typhoons or tsunamis, but from the Abu Sayafs at that time: the Japanese, Chinese and Moro pirates who took pleasure in raping coastal towns and settlements.Today, Baluarte stands in disarray, vertically cut in two because of eroded base and foundation, its two halves stand through concrete post supports on its sides. Like an old wounded soldier, it still stands in the pebble beaches of Luna, watching its industrious stone pickers finding a way for survival amidst the scorching hot sun. Time will come when this historic landmark will be finally and totally washed ashore, but the Baluarte which saw the Luna brothers grew, will continue to be a representation of the people of Luna, strong and united like its cemented bricks.
|The Our Lady of Namacpacan Church in Luna. In Ilocano, "namacpacan: means "one who feeds."|
|Pebbles Beach in Luna is endowed with "never ending colored stones."|
2. Pebbles Beach. I stayed at Namacpacan Church for almost thirty minutes (I prayed and thanked God for all the blessing He had given me). When I realized that thirty minutes is enough, I quickly rushed my self to Pebbles Beach because I felt the need for a refreshing "sea-bath." Outside the church, I saw a Manong, probaly in his early thirties, and I asked him the way to the beach. He told me to take the road to my left and turn right and, then, turn right. I followed what he told me and, viola, I found the place! Pebbles Beach has a never ending supply of colored stones. Locals say that they have been quarrying for years and the stones just keep coming their way. To date, Pebbles Beach is one of the most unique beaches I've checked so far because of its pebbles - not sand.
|Yours Truly at Pebbles Beach. The beach is not only gifted with pebbles but also with clear an refreshments seawater.|
|The Spanish Baluarte in its current form.|
|My "colored stones." I had fun collecting some stones at the beach.|
(Note: This article is part of my #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines: #ItsMoreFunInLaUnion travel series which aims to highlight, promote and uncover the hidden splendor of La Union, Philippines to the world. Big thanks to Fred and Cathy Trans for making my trip possible!)