Sta. Maria: Baroque Church of Sta. Maria
A beautiful baroque church located in the town center of Sta. Maria in Ilocos Sur. Formally called as the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage church in December 1993, as part of the Baroque Churches of the Philippines, a collection of four Baroque Spanish-era churches. Due to its unique structure and appealing location, it is a popular destination not only by the religious but also by the tourists.
Constructed by the Augustinian priests in 1765 as a chapel of Narvacan, and the belfry was added in 1810. Being along a route going to Abra, it also served as a temporary residence of the missionaries going to the province. It also became a citadel and watchtower by the Spanish soldiers during their leadership. It has since endured countless calamities such as earthquakes and strong typhoons, and it is still standing strong.
Surely, you will be encouraged to climb the almost 35-step concrete stairs. Reaching the top, you will be amazed on how it was built using primitive brick-and-mortar techniques and its large buttresses that gave its uniqueness. It was also built on a hilltop, reminiscent of the Spanish domination in the area.
Like the other churches of that era, the bell tower is separated from the main structure, several meters apart. It is almost four stories tall, and a modern clock was installed on its third level for the patrons to see.
While going around the church, you will be amazed not only on how it was built but also how devoted Filipinos were during the Spanish era.
Whether you’re a Catholic or not, you will surely be amazed on your visit here. If you’re traveling to Vigan, mark it as your stop-over spot. Though many modern structures were already built around, it still bears the old world charm.
Take the Manila North road going to Vigan. Upon reaching the town of Sta. Maria, turn right going to the town proper until reaching the town plaza, and from here you can walk toward the church.
Take a bus going to Vigan, and tell the driver to get you off at the town of Sta. Maria. Most bus routes enter the town proper, and when alighting at the highway, you can walk toward the church.
FOUR BAROQUE CHURCHES
- Paoay Church (Ilocos Norte)
- San Agustin Church (Manila)
- Miag-ao Church (Ilo-ilo)
- Sta. Maria Church (Ilocos Sur)
- Suso Beach
- Pinsal Falls
- Baluarte (San Esteban)
- Narvacan Beach