20 January 2013

Philippines World Heritage Sites

World Heritage is a program of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The organization officially names sites around the world as heritage sites, or legacies from the past that can be passed on to the future generations of mankind. World Heritage sites may either be cultural or natural.

In the Philippines, there are presently a total of eight world heritage sites, six of which are cultural while the remaining two are natural. This post enumerates these sites and includes excerpts from their descriptions as contained in the official UNESCO World Heritage site.

CULTURAL SITES

1. Baroque Churches of the Philippines:

San Agustin Church, Intramuros

Miagao Church, Iloilo

Paoay Church, Ilocos Norte

Sta. Maria Church, Ilocos Sur

Excerpt from the UNESCO World Heritage site:

“The Baroque Churches of the Philippines is a serial inscription consisting of four Roman Catholic churches constructed between the 16thand the18th centuries in the Spanish period of the Philippines. They are located in separate areas of the Philippine archipelago, two at the northern island of Luzon, one at the heart of Intramuros, Manila, and the other in the central Visayas island of Iloilo.

“This group of churches established a style of building and design that was adapted to the physical conditions in the Philippines and had an important influence on later church architecture in the region. The four churches are outstanding examples of the Philippine interpretation of the Baroque style, and represent the fusion of European church design and construction with local materials and decorative motifs to form a new church-building tradition.”


2. Historic Town of Vigan


Excerpt from the UNESCO World Heritage site:

“Vigan is an exceptionally intact and well-preserved example of a European trading town in East and South-East Asia. The architecture is truly reflective of its roots in both materials and design, in its fusion of Asian building design and construction with European colonial architecture and planning.

“The town is located in the delta of the Abra River, off the coastal plain of the China Sea, close to the north-east tip of the island of Luzon. The present-day municipality divided into nine urban districts and thirty rural villages. Almost half the total area is still in use for agriculture. The Historic Core Zone is defined on two sides by the Govantes and Mestizo rivers.”


3. Rice Terraces of the Cordilleras


Excerpt from the UNESCO World Heritage site:

“The Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras is an outstanding example of an evolved, living cultural landscape that can be traced as far back as two millennia ago in the pre-colonial Philippines. The terraces are located in the remote areas of the Philippine Cordillera mountain range on the northern island of Luzon, Philippine archipelago. While the historic terraces cover an extensive area, the inscribed property consists of five clusters of the most intact and impressive terraces, located in four municipalities. They are all the product of the Ifugao ethnic group, a minority community that has occupied these mountains for thousands of years.”


NATURAL SITES

1. Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park


Excerpt from the UNESCO World Heritage site:

“Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park encompasses one of the world’s most impressive cave systems, featuring spectacular limestone karst landscapes, pristine natural beauty, and intact old-growth forests and distinctive wildlife. It is located in the south-western part of the Philippine Archipelago on the mid western coast of Palawan, approximately 76 km northwest of Puerto Princesa and 360 km southwest of Manila.”


2. Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park


Excerpt from the UNESCO World Heritage site:

“Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park lies in a unique position in the centre of the Sulu Sea, and includes the Tubbataha and Jessie Beazley Reefs. It protects an area of almost 100,000 hectares of high quality marine habitats containing three atolls and a large area of deep sea. The property is home to a great diversity of marine life. Whales, dolphins, sharks, turtles and Napoleon wrasse are amongst the key species found here. The reef ecosystems support over 350 species of coral and almost 500 species of fish. The reserve also protects one of the few remaining colonies of breeding seabirds in the region.”


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