One fine May morning last year, 2016, my girlfriend and I took a detour from our Ilocos tour to Sarrat, a sleepy and rustic town southeast of the city of Laoag. Sarrat is little known to travelers outside the Ilocos region, although it holds the distinction of having the largest church in the whole of Ilocos (which also happens to have the longest nave among all Philippine churches), and the birthplace of former president Ferdinand E. Marcos. And because we arrived rather early, we had the place almost entirely for ourselves. Below is the magnificent Iglesia de Santa Monica de Sarrat:
Erected in 1779 and taking an antire decade to finish, the Neoclassical Santa Monica Parish Church is famed for having the longest nave among all churches within the Philippines- at 137 metres. This shows the aisle as seen from the altar:
This is the aisle as seen from the narthex:
And here are the other photos I have taken of the church:
This is the convent, known as Casa del Palacio Real:
The church also falls under the classification of 'Earthquake Baroque Architecture', which feature buttresses to augment the structure's resistance to swaying during tremors.
And here are the ruins around Casa del Palacio Real. Apart from the chirping of birds and the rustling of leaves from the breeze, it was quiet. One can almost envision frailes moving around in silence around the vicinity.
Spectacular groin vault weathered by time:
From Laoag, hire a trike going to the jeepney terminal where routes to Sarrat also goes; you have to clarify this as there is also a jeepney terminal beside the Tabacalera, but there are no jeepneys there going to where you want to go. Trike fare is only 11 pesos as of May, 2016. Jeepney fare costs 15 pesos and travel time is only around 15-20 minutes. The jeepney's route ends near the church- it's visible from where you have to alight.
As mentioned, try and visit the place as reasonably early as you can. There is a pleasantly haunting quality within the ruins that you probably won't get when other visitors have already arrived.