Unknown to many foreign and local tourists, the historic Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion Church in Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur was also enshrined in the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) world heritage sites.
Since the inclusion of Vigan as one of the “New 7 Wonder Cities of the World “ by the New 7 Wonders Foundation last December 2014, more tourists have been coming and going to see the Vigan heritage village as a legacy from the past.
The Ilocos Sur provincial government has designed plans and activities to promote other historical landmarks and scenic spots in this heritage province aside from the world’s famous Castillan homes in the former Ciudad Fernandina.
Gov. Ryan Singson said that focusing on other historical landmarks such as the Sta. Maria Church will boost the economy and tourism industry which will also create employment for the Ilocanos.
The Vigan heritage village is the center of attraction for tourists but there is a need to promote and preserve other heritage sites which include the Bell Tower of Bantay, Salomague Port of Cabugao,Bessag Pass in Cervantes, Pinsal Falls in Sta. Maria, the favorite shoot location of the late Fernando Poe Jraside from his “Panday” in Vigan and old churches in the province such as the Sta. Maria Churh and the St. Augustine Church of Bantay, the center for pilgrimage in the Ilocos.
The Sta. Maria Church, which was enshrined by the UNESCO on the World Heritage List, should also be preserved and promoted for the next generation showcasing Ilocos Sur’s history aside from protecting and preserving its cultural legacy, officials said.
There are other old churches in the heritage province including the St. Paul’s Metropolitan Cathedral inVigan but the Sta. Maria church is different because of its uniqueness in history that should be restored like the Vigan heritage village. # Source - (MCA/ Ben P. Pacris / PIA1-Ilocos Sur).