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Candon: A city of art and history
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: -
Date: 2008-01-01
CANDON CITY, Ilocos Sur — Yuletide celebrations in this city dubbed as the country’s tobacco capital, are doubly festive and worth visiting because of its historical and tourist attractions that cannot be found elsewhere.

One of its biggest attractions is a 50–foot–tall bamboo tower built in front of the San Juan de Sahagun Parish Church.

Inspired by the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, this bamboo tower is fully lighted and draws huge crowds during the holidays.

The tower was constructed as part of the city’s month–long celebration to commemorate the first Feria de Candon trade fair in Ilocos Sur 115 years ago.

On Dec. 2, 1892, Candon City played host to the Primera Feria Exposicion de le Provincia de Ilocos Sur which was attended by local and foreign dignitaries.

The city government decided to replicate the historic event in 2005 by showcasing the local products, arts and culture, and homegrown talents of city folk as well as those of the 21 other towns comprising the second district of Ilocos Sur province.

Candon City Mayor Allen G. Singson said the exposition will be made into an annual activity to strengthen the promotion of the province’s products.

Meanwhile, the city also reinforced its bid as a histo-cultural destination with the recent installation of religious artifacts and oil paintings on the walls of the 400–year–old San Juan de Sahagun Parish Church.

The 150–foot–long and eight–foot–wide paintings adorning the ceilings of the church, replaced the old, moldy religious caricatures.

Rev. Father Vicente Avila, parish priest of the San Juan de Sahagun Parish Church, said the newly-unveiled paintings have made the church a museum of religious art.

"The two oil paintings on canvas which depict the 20 Mysteries of the Holy Rosary could also be the longest religious oil painting in the country," the priest said.

Candon first etched its name in history through local hero Don Isabelo Abaya who led an uprising popularly known as "Ikkis ti Candon" on March 15, 1898; and on Dec. 20, 1906 during the historic migration of the first 15 Filipinos to Hawaii, U.S.A.

Recently, the local government stepped up efforts to promote the place as a histo–cultural and eco–tourism destination.

Candon, whose name was derived from the "Kandong Tree," was created as a municipality in 1780 upon the first civil government under the Cabeza de Barangay, Don Juan P. Madarang. It became a second component city of the province on March 28, 2001 after the local residents overwhelmingly voted for Republic Act 9018, the cityhood charter of Candon.

Situated 374 kilometers north of Manila, Candon is also accessible via a seven–hour bus trip. Considered as the trade center of the second district of Ilocos Sur, Candon also boasts of the most delicious calamay or rice cake in the north.

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