I spend the afternoon in Bayombong. The capital of Nueva Vizcaya is really a small town with just a couple of attractions but is the best place to get to grips with the province.
Bayombong, which means “confluence of rivers” in Gaddang (one of the local languages), started as a village at the juncture of the Calocool and Magat Rivers. Although Spanish friars had come into the Cagayan Valley in the early 17th century, it was only in 1739 when Bayombong was officially founded. It was then that the first Mass was celebrated here, the first such in the region.
I first explore the center of the town, where most of the sights are clustered. I start across the town hall in the St. Dominic Cathedral (more commonly known as Bayombong Cathedral) across the town hall, with its striking red-brick facade. The structure is similar to other churches in the province, such as the Dupax del Sur Church and the Santa Catalina de Siena Church, indicating the prevailing Dominican style. Christianity first came in the Cagayan Valley region in 1607, but it was in the mid-18th century when Dominican priests established a mission order in the town. The church itself was then erected in 1892 and then reconstructed three years following a fire.
Beside the church is the People’s Museum and Library, a two-story historical building that houses interesting memorabilia that show Nueva Vizcaya’s ethnographic groups and its role in history, from the precolonial period to World War II. Browsing the exhibit can take an hour and is a great way to escape the punishing heat outside.
A short walk north, I end up at the provincial capitol, which is located in a sprawling space that looks more like a large park than a government compound. Young people and families are gathered by a large lagoon with the Sierra Madre mountain range in the background. Nearby is a fair ground, though the rides and other attractions won’t open until the evening.
I simply enjoy the surroundings looking around before deciding to return to my hotel in Solano to catch up on sleep for the rest of the day.