Ancient settlements were built along the river banks as historic modes of transportation were primarily water-based. Such was the case of Lal-lo, Cagayan. During the Spanish colonial era, Lal-lo was called as Nueva Segovia, a bustling settlement along Cagayan River. At that time, it was the Seat of Roman Catholicism in northern Philippines.
In fact, Lal-lo was one of the first four cities (the others being Cebu, Manila, Naga) that the Spanish authorities established. The first bishop of the Diocese of Nueva Segovia was Fr. Miguel de Benavides, O.P., the founder of University of Santo Tomas. Interestingly, Fr. Benavides wrote the Chinese version of the Doctrina Christiana, the first book printed in the Philippines.
In former times, Lal-lo had three parishes. The Parish of the Cathedral was served by the secular clergy up to 1788. The Parish of Bagumbayan was entrusted to the Dominicans by Bishop Diego de Soria in 1913. The Parish of Tocolana was completely administered by the Dominicans in the Dominican Hospital of Tocolana. The Rev. Francisco de Capillas, O.P., ministered to the spiritual and corporal needs of the natives of Cagayan.
An encased cross is conspicuously seen in front of the Lal-lo Church. It stands in solitary distance but an eloquent monument of faith of the missionary activities of the Dominican fathers who planted this venerable cross on these hallowed ground to seal the stamp of possession of the cross of the people for Christ. This cross is believed to be more than 300 years old and has weathered the elements of nature.