Philippines

Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras

The Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1995, the first-ever property to be included in the cultural landscape category of the World Heritage List. This inscription has five sites: the Batad Rice Terraces, Bangaan Rice Terraces (both in Banaue), Mayoyao Rice Terraces (in Mayoyao), Hungduan Rice Terraces (in Hungduan) and Nagacadan Rice Terraces (in Kiangan), all in the Ifugao Province, the Philippines. The Ifugao Rice Terraces reach a higher altitude and were built on steeper slopes than many other terraces. The Ifugao complex of stone or mud walls and the careful carving of the natural contours of hills and mountains to make terraced pond fields, coupled with the development of intricate irrigation systems, harvesting water from the forests of the mountain tops, and an elaborate farming system.

The Ifugao Rice Terraces illustrate the remarkable ability of human culture to adapt to new social and climate pressures as well as to implement and develop new ideas and technologies. Although listed by the UNESCO as a World Heritage site believed to be older than 2,000 years, there are some conflicting recent studies that report they may be less than 1,000 years old.

Maintenance of the living rice terraces reflects a primarily cooperative approach of the whole community which is based on detailed knowledge of the rich diversity of biological resources existing in the Ifugao agro-ecosystem, a finely tuned annual system respecting lunar cycles, zoning and planning, extensive soil conservation, and mastery of a complex pest control regime based on the processing of a variety of herbs, accompanied by religious rituals.

The Baroque Churches of the Philippines

The Baroque Churches of the Philippines are a collection of four Spanish Colonial-era baroque churches in the Philippines, which were included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1993. The churches are also considered as national cultural treasures of the country.

San Agustin Church

The San Agustin Church in Manila, also known as The Church of the Immaculate Conception of San Agustín was the first church built on the island of Luzon in 1571, immediately after the Spanish conquest of Manila. A site within the district of Intramuros was assigned to the Augustinian Order, the first to evangelize in the Philippines. In 1587 the impermanent earliest building in wood and palm fronds was replaced by a stone church and monastery in stone, the latter becoming the Augustinian mother house in the Philippines.

It was the only structure in Intramuros to survive the Liberation of Manila in 1945. Miag-ao became an independent parish in 1731, when a simple church and convento were built. However, destruction of the town by Muslim pirates in 1741 and 1754 led to the town being rebuilt in a more secure location. The new church, constructed in 1787–97, was built as a fortress, to withstand further incursions.as, however, damaged severely by fire during the revolution against Spain in 1898 and in the Second World War. Two bell towers were added in 1854, but the northern one cracked in the 1880 earthquake and had to be demolished. Because of the danger of natural disasters, much of the church’s aesthetic had to be sacrificed in favor of durability and functionality.

The interior of the church featured artwork dating back to the 19th century, with trompe l’oeil paintings by Italian painters Alberoni and Dibella, but they overlie the original tempera murals. The church was richly endowed, with a fine retablo, pulpit, lectern and choir-stalls. The church also includes oriental details in the form of Chinese fu dogs that flank the entrance of the building. Of special interest is the series of crypto-collateral chapels lining both sides of the nave. The walls separating them act as buttresses. The stone barrel vault, dome, and arched vestibule are all unique in the Philippines, as is the decor that often takes the shape of local flora. A monastery complex was formerly linked to the church by a series of cloisters, arcades, courtyards and gardens, but all except one building were destroyed in 1945.

In the side chapel of the church rests the remains of Spanish Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, the founder of the city of Manila, which is the capital city of the Philippines.

Santa Maria Church

The Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, commonly known as the Santa Maria Church is the parish church of Santa Maria in Ilocos Sur province, Philippines. The church was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on December 11, 1993 as part of the Baroque Churches of the Philippines, a collection of four Baroque Spanish-era churches.

The Santa Maria Church is an attraction to both tourists and Catholics in Ilocos Sur. It is not only a reminiscent of the four centuries of Spanish domination of that area but also a unique structure with a diversified architectural design of bricks and mortar. It was built on top of a hill not only as a lookout and a citadel but as a religious center during the early administration of the region by both the friars and soldiers of Spain.

Vigan

Vigan is a city and capital of the province of Ilocos Sur, Philippines.

Located on the western coast of the large island of Luzon, facing the South China Sea, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in that it is one of the few towns left in the Philippines whose old structures have mostly remained intact, and it is well known for its sett pavements and a unique architecture of the Philippine colonial era which fuses Native Philippine and Oriental building designs and construction, with colonial Spanish architecture that is still abundant in the area, mainly the Bahay na Bato houses and an Earthquake Baroque church. Former Philippine president Elpidio Quirino, the sixth President of the Philippines, was born in Vigan, at the former location of the Provincial Jail (his father was a warden); he resided in the Syquia Mansion. The entire city of Vigan was later inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage City after being declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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