St. Augustine Parish Church
St. Augustine Parish Church in Bantay, Ilocos Sur is one of the oldest churches in the region. It was constructed in 1590 under the term of Parish Priest Montoya, OSA. The church was named after St. Augustine, who was the patron saint by the Augustinian friars.
The site of the church was historic in itself as it was the scene of fighting in one uprising led by national hero Diego Silang in 1763.
Some time during the World War II, the church was heavily damaged but was rebuilt in 1950. After the restoration, the facade’s design became neo-Gothic with some pseudo-Romanesque elements.
Legend has it that the image of Our Lady of Charity was found by some local fishermen. It was in a wooden box which was floating on Bantagay River.
According to legend, the image could only be carried by the residents of Bantay. People from other towns and municipalities would come to the site and try to carry the image but the image would prove immovable when the person trying to carry it was not from Bantay.
On January 12, 1956, Bantay Church became a shrine of Our Lady of Charity when the miraculous image was crowned as the patroness of Ilocandia by the Most Reverend Msgr. Vagnozzi, the Papal Nuncio to the Philippines at the time.