Considering the World Heritage Sites you will visit in the Ilocos Region (Church of San Agustin in Paoay , La Asuncion dela Nuestra Senora in Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur and the Historic Town of Vigan) find answers to the following questions by observing, interviewing, researching, etc.
1. What makes the Ilocandia a World Heritage Site?
Vigan represents a unique fusion of Asian building design and construction with European colonial architecture and planning. Criterion (iv): Vigan is an exceptionally intact and well preserved example of a European trading town in East and South-East Asia. 2. What are the threats that face the world heritage sites? Natural threats such as earthquake, natural decay, tidal waves and typhoons might affect or damage the World Heritage Site in Ilocandia because most of them are cultural heritage.
3. What brings about the successful preservation of these world heritage sites? First objective:
Fortify the sense of identity and pride of the community on their historic city. Second objective:
To institutionalize local protective measures and development plans to ensure continuity of programs and involvement of stakeholders. Third objective:
Forge local and international linkages.
Develop Vigan as a tourist destination where tourism programs enrich and conserve the people’s core values and traditions, as well as sustain livelihood and employment for bigueños.
4. What is protected in the world heritage sites?
They are protecting the historical significance and/or value of the cultural heritage sites (ancestral buildings and some of the Baroque churches in the Philippines) and the history and culture that it has left. 5. How are world heritage sites protected? What protection measures do they follow? (Localized your answers based on your local findings)
a. An ordinance defining the boundaries of the protected historic district specifying the core and buffer zones.
b. An ordinance providing the general conservation guidelines for Vigan ancestral houses and specifying the compatible uses of structures within the historic district.
c. An executive order creating a multi-sectoral Vigan conservation council to promote involvement of local stakeholders. This council serves as a clearing house for all
d. applications for building permits within the historic district. Clear-cut and specific steps in securing permits for house restorations were designed.
e. An ordinance enacting the Vigan conservation code prescribing detailed guidelines for conservation of Vigan ancestral houses.
f. An ordinance providing a yearly allocation of one percent of Vigan’s internal revenue allotment for arts, culture and tourism. 6. What impacts the presence of visitors have on world heritage sites and the host community?
Through their conservation program, Vigan’s traditional industries continue to fuel the economy and provide employment opportunities to the residents. With an annual income of 800,000 dollars in 1995, it grew over the years reaching our current income of 4.2 million dollars. The added revenues enable us to deliver basic services.
7. What steps are adopted in order to influence and encourage visitors toward adopting responsible behavior during their visit (and even afterwards)?
Unlike in El Nido, Palawan, I have not seen nor heard that Ilocandia has their code of conduct for their visitors. Because, in truth it is into the visitor’s common sense to respect this world heritage sites.
8. Do they have codes of responsible conduct for visitors at heritage sites? How are they used?
There is a signage in Paoay Church not only indicates visiting schedules but also regulations requesting people to behave in a responsible and civilized manner. This move is reflective of how people vandalize important monuments, even places of worship. The signage talks about dress codes, off-limit areas and even warns people from urinating along the side of the church between the buttresses.
9. How does the local organization enhance the quality of visitors’ experience?
Last year, August 2010, Ilocos Norte Governor, Imee Marcos presented Norte Tourism Master Plan, they are aiming for an airport-driven urban development. I guess their main target is tourists from other countries. The governor also promoted through national media the Sand dune adventure in Suba. 10. How can the quality of heritage visitation be improved at the World Heritage Sites? They have provided ready access of information in Vigan for the local and international community through website. They also revitalized existing people’s organizations and encouraged the creation of new ones to become active partners in the transformation of their community.
11. What are the visitor problems they encounter at the World Heritage Sites? The problems that they encounter with the visitors or guests are minimal, for example, whenever visiting a museum or an old house, there is a signage that reads “Do not touch” or “Do not sit” simple problems. 12. What are the Top 5 characteristics of a great experience at these World Heritage Sites? 5th is that feeling when before I only saw it in a picture but at that particular time, I have seen in built right there, with my own eyes. :)4th hearing Ma’am Tina talk about everything she knows about those places, the shock, awe, and the knowledge that I gain.
3rd Is that I have heard how they speak, the local folks, tasted their food, watched how they cook, just simply observing them, their culture and trying to see the differences that the Ilocanos and Capampangan has.2nd When I was there, I felt and thought, like, “how did they survived the Spanish colony back then?” It is like at that moment I wished to go back in time. And 1st is that I have laid my foot on the floor of those places which are part of the World Heritage Sites.
13. How do the local people in the area help to protect the heritage values of these World Heritage Sites? There was a popular movement among community members to have the ancient status of Vigan as a city restored. In the plebiscite of January 22, 2001, “An act validating and recognizing the creation of the City of Vigan by the Royal Decree of September 7, 1758 issued by King Fernando VI of Spain” it was ratified by an overwhelming 93% affirmative votes. 14. What tourism services are offered to the visitors?
Tourism services such as accommodation (hotels and restaurants), recreation services (Pagudpud beach, Sand dunes in Suba) travel agencies and/or tour operator services, tourist guide services, and other related services. 15. Why are these World Heritage places important?
Heritage sites in Ilocos Sur and Norte (Vigan Heritage Village, Paoay Church, Sta. Maria Church) are important places for it stand as passive witnesses to the major events in Philippine history. These are not only beautiful landmarks but also monuments that mark time. The two churches symbolize the need to protect religious places by the way the Spaniards built massive structures even if it took them many years to finish.
The following definitions of social, aesthetic, historic and scientific values are from the Australia ICOMOS Charter for the Conservation of Places of Cultural Significance (the Burra Charter) (1992) and the Draft Guidelines for the protection and management and use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage places (1998). The definitions of biological diversity, ecosystems and geological values are from the Australian Natural Heritage (7 charter standards and principles for the conservation of places of natural heritage significance (1996).
Social value to the community embraces the qualities for which a place is a focus of spiritual, traditional, economic, political, national or other cultural sentiment to the majority or minority group. * Is the place important to the community as a landmark or local signature? In what ways, and to what extent?
Both, but they see the place more as a landmark than a local signature. Because the local people are still trying to preserve the history that the place, particularly the World Heritage Sites, conveys.
* Is the place important as part of community identity? In what ways, and to what extent?
Yes, Vigan is known for it shows the remains of what has happened in the past (history) and observing the community there, I noticed that unlike here in Angeles, or in any other cities, they are a bit conservative, maybe because they still possess the “Dalagang Pilipina” identity. And they are proud to be Ilocanos, Mrs. Angel Alvarez-Lao would be a very great example.
* Is the place important to the community because an attachment to it has developed from long use? What is the length and strength of that attachment?
Yes, because they benefit from the place because it is visited by tourists from all over the world. And at the same time, maybe, because of that significant place a culture might have evolved. They are tightly attached to it, when I got there I have seen long lines of souvenir shops, an evidence of the pride they have as part of that community.
* Which community values the place?
The whole community values the place, because the local government has made several ordinance and the local people followed suit. A proof that they approve of the beatification of their community.
* What is the relative importance of the place to the group or community (compared to other places important to it)?
The place is important to them because aside from they get something from it, their tradition, culture, and their language was made through the past which the place represents.
* Is the place associated with a particular person or group important in your community’s history? What is the importance of the association between this place and that person or group?
There are a lot of important persons who grew up or stayed in this land. The second President of the Republic of the Philippines was born in Ilocos, as well as former President Ferdinand Marcos. Both of them have done good things for their region, especially Marcos.
* Is the place valued by a community for reasons of religious, spiritual, cultural, educational or social associations? In what ways, and to what extent?
Yes, in terms of religion Ilocos is known for the Baroque churches that were built there during the Spanish era. Culturally, yes, because these places represents how some/most of their traditions and cultures were made. Educationally, yes, Ilocos is known nationally for its beauty and especially the stories behind those beautiful places. Socially, of course, for they meet a lot of people in their everyday lives.
Aesthetic value to the community includes aspects of sensory perception (sight, touch, sound, taste, smell) for which criteria can be stated. These criteria may include consideration of form, scale, colour, texture and material of the fabric or landscape, and the smell and sounds associated with the place and its use. * Does the place have natural or cultural features which are inspirational or evoke strong feelings or special meanings? What are those features, and to what extent are they evocative? Is the place a distinctive feature that is a prominent visual landmark? In terms of cultural features Ilocos has the Baroque churches and of course the Vigan Heritage Village, as I’ve said many times now, it does have special meaning not only to the locals but also to every Filipino, for they are the witnesses of what has happened in the past. Yes, it is a landmark, people outside the country knows Ilocos because of this World Heritage sites.
* Does the place evoke awe from its grandeur of scale? To what extent is this important? Yes it does, it would not be part of the World Heritage list if it is not. It is important that they would really have to preserve so that its grandeur would be maintained. * Does the place evoke a strong sense of age, history or time depth? How does it do this, and to what extent? It does, it is like when you look at it, you went back in time when the Spanish colony was reigning. The structure is still the same; the only difference is that it obviously looks old. Yet, its beauty still remains. * Is the place symbolic for its aesthetic qualities?
Has it been represented in art, poetry, photography, literature, folk-art, folklore mythology or other imagery? The place has its aesthetic qualities, the genuineness and originality of this site is still intact to it. It has been showcased in different museums, the photographs as well as paintings of the Paoay Church, Vigan Heritage Village, and the Sta. Maria Church. * Does the place have outstanding composition qualities involving any combinations of color, form, texture, detail, movement, unity, sounds, scents, spatial definition and so on? To what extent is this important? The three heritage sites which can be found in Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte possesses outstanding combination qualities such as its form, texture, and details, the architectural design of this three are known for it is unique structure.
Historic value to the community encompasses the history of aesthetics, science and society, and therefore could be used to encompass a range of values. A place may have historic value because it has influenced, or has been influenced by, an historic figure, event, phase or activity. It may be the site of an important event. History can describe the ‘story’ of a place or its people and can apply to any period, though not usually the current period. * Is the place important in showing patterns in the development of the history of the country, State or Territory where your community lives or a feature of your local area? How does it show this? It shows the development of the history of the country, yes, before the Philippines is under the Spanish colony, but currently the Philippines is an independent (not really though) and democratic country, in this way I could say yes.
* Does the place have indigenous plant species that have historic significance? The name Vigan was derived from “Biga”, a giant taro plant that grows abundantly along the banks of the Mestizo River. Another one is tobacco, in the past there had been a tobacco monopoly, it was only after 100 years King Alfonso XII lifted the tobacco monopoly. This has been part of their history, and until now they continuously harvest tobacco. * Does the place show a high degree of creative or technical achievement? How does it show this? Creative yes, in Vigan, the architectural structures of the fast-food chains (found in the last page) resembles the old houses in Vigan. Technically too, Bangui Windmills which can be found in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte had done a great job to the local people, they can get free power supply through this windmills.
* Does the place have geological features that have historic significance? There is, Mrs. Lao told us a story that she had been trying to prove it was a research by his late grandfather Emilio Alvarez. The sunken village of Paoay lake (San Juan Village) said to sink because of a tremendous earthquake due to the three volcanoes which erupted all at the same time. * Is the place associated with a particular person or group important in your history? What is the importance of the association between this place and that person or group?
It is; this Paoay Lake had been as I have said a research by Mr. Emilio Alvarez, and by the time Ma’am Angel is graduating her thesis was about this sunken village, and she proved that what his late grandfather’s findings were real. * Does the place exemplify the works of a particular architect or designer, or of a particular design style? In what ways, and to what extent? It is the most evident and only surviving example in the Philippines that shows Spanish urban planning of the early 18th century that conforms to the Ley de las Indias that regulates the layout, street patterns, and open spaces of all new settlements planned during the Spanish empire.
* Is the place associated with a particular event in the history of your area, or the State, Territory or nation? What is the relationship between this place and those events? In the national history of the Philippines, Vigan has played an important role. It was the center of the Basi Revolt (1807) and the Ilocos Revolt (1762-63) led by Diego and Gabriela Silang. It was the birthplace of Fr José Burgos whose martyrdom polarized the revolution against the Spanish. Other historic personalities are Leona Florentino, the first Filipina poetess be internationally acclaimed. Her son, Isabelo de los Reyes, founded the Philippine labor movement. The Second President of the Philippine Republic, Elpidio Quirino, was born in Vigan. While Sarat, is the birthplace of Ferdinand Marcos, his administration ruled for 20 years.
* Does the place demonstrate ways of life, customs, processes, land use or design no longer practiced, in danger of being lost, or of exceptional interest? How does it demonstrate these things? The local people in Vigan still posses their customs, they are actually known to be “kuripot” and yes they are. After the inscription, the Vigan Conservation Council (VCC) was made. This council conserves and preserves the beauty and integrity of the Vigan Heritage Village.
* Does the place exemplify the characteristics of a particular type of human activity in the landscape, including way of life, custom, process, land use, function, design or technique? In what ways, and to what extent? During the Spanish era, yes, but at the present time, somehow it does not. In a way the local people in Ilocos have been urbanized. Their way of life had already changed, though some still remains. * Does the place reflect a variety of changes over a long time? In what ways, and to what extent? Yes it had, starting from how the houses are built, very far from the unique style before. The Bangui windmills are one of the developments in Ilocos Region. This kind of development is unavoidable and somehow natural and besides this are positive developments.
Scientific value to the community will depend upon the importance of the data involved, on its rarity, quality or representativeness, and on the degree to which the place may contribute further substantial information. * Is the place important for natural values in showing patterns in natural history or continuing ecological, earth or evolutionary processes? In what ways, and to what extent? It is, though Pagudpud beach is not part of the World Heritage List or even in their tentative list, the natural beauty of this island is awesome. Another thing is that Ilocos is near South China Sea. * Is there anything about the place or at the place which is rare or endangered, for example, plant or animal species, geological features, a type of construction method or material used, or a particular form of archaeological evidence? Researchers from Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) found that 113 plant species in Ilocos Norte are vanishing: 16 vegetables, 31 fruits and forest tree species, 43 ornamentals and medicinals, 7 rootcrops and 16 other plant species. * Is the place important in helping others to understand this type of place?
In what ways, and to what extent? Yes, and not just the place but also understanding the culture and the history behind it. Ilocandia is one of the best tourist spots in the country. * Is the place a good example of a particular type of place, that is, undisturbed, intact and complete? Why is this? Pagudpud beach is, according to the locals they are afraid that when the beach might boom or click to the tourists, what happened to Boracay in Aklan might happen to Pagudpud too. This is why in Pagudpud they do not have much of other activities besides boat riding. * Can the place contribute to research understanding of natural or cultural history? In what ways, and to what extent? They can, the local Government of Ilocos have been doing or implementing laws that helps the local people and the visitors towards understanding more of Ilocandia’s natural and cultural history.
* Can the place contribute to scientific understanding of biodiversity or geodiversity? In what ways, and to what extent? Biodiversity yes, Ilocos is not just rich in culture but it is also rich in living species, some of it are even endangered, and has a great possibility of extinction. Knowing this the local government should at least try to look into this and do something about it.
Special values to the community can be considered as part of other values but are particularly important for some places and some communities. * Does the place have important values relating to spiritual beliefs? Yes, in fact two of the Baroque churches in the Philippines that are listed in the World Heritage List can be found in Ilocandia. Spaniards are said to be the one or are the one who brought us the Catholic religion. * Is the place spiritually important for maintaining the fundamental health and well-being of natural and cultural systems? Yes, and not just for the natural and cultural systems, but of course to every Filipino who believes in the works and goodness of Christ. * Are there wilderness or wild river values recognized at the place? No, there is none.