Done with admiring the Macho Temple, we moved up north to the Town of Luna 40km away from San Fernando. We were on our way to the pebble beach but we can’t afford not to stop and checkout the beautiful Shrine of Our Lady of Namacpacan. Luna Town was used to be called Namacpacan due to the town’s reputed hospitality to visitors. Namacpacan is an Ilocano word meaning “one who had given food”. It was in October 18, 1906 when the town changed its name to Luna to honor the Luna brothers Antonio and Luna.
The Namacpacan Church has an eye-catching facade painted in blue and white. The walls surrounding the church are still the original bricks and stone already centuries old. On the sides of the church is a unique step-buttress that leads up to the roof. Housed inside the church is the miraculous image of Our Lady of Namacpacan. The image was originally en route to Vigan, Ilocos Sur from Spain but a storm swept their ship away to La Union instead.
When they were going to transport the image by land, the wooden image refused to budge and the people took it as a sign to let it stay at Namacpacan. Our Lady of Namacpacan claimed to have healed a lame girl Rosa Roldan to walk again, some tribal families were given food and blankets by the lady herself, and Pope Pius XII saw the image of Our Lady of Namacpacan before his death.
With a twenty minute more drive, we finally reached the pebble beach in Luna. It was hot and the sun was at its extreme. Some chose to stay inside the cool comforts of the Van but some of us wishes to see this lone watch tower and braved the heat and walk at the pebble beach.
On our way to the Baluarte, we saw locals gather the pebbles and prune the colorful and shiny ones for construction or other industrial use. Kids gather the small ones and put them in tiny transparent bottles to sell to tourist. The Luna Watchtower stands firm on the shores, it is cracked in half like an egg shell. There’s not much info about the Baluarte except that it was built by the Spaniards to keep watch of marauding Japanese, Chinese and Moro Pirates.
The sky suddenly darkened on our way back to the Van. It did rain heavily and our way back to Thunderbird Poro Point Resort that afternoon, but not without stopping by for some refreshments and snacks at Halo-halo de Iloko.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.