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Santa Maria Church

On top of their religious significance, many of the Philippines’ churches are also world-famous for their architectural feats. UNESCO recognized four of the countries’ churches as World Heritage Sites, as all four exemplify the Baroque style that the Spaniards brought with them during the colonial period

One of these four churches is the Nuestra Señora dela Asuncion Church, or more commonly known as the Santa Maria Church, hailing from the municipality of the same name in Ilocos Sur. Seated on top of a hill, the Santa Maria Church watches over the whole town and continues to serve as a window to the country’s past.

What to expect

Established in 1769, the Santa Maria Church is one of the best examples of Baroque style architecture that was popular in the Spanish colonial era. Its brick facade is both simple and elegant, preserving its historical and cultural significance across several centuries.

As it was built on top of a hill, getting to the church itself requires going through three flights of steps. It’s the perfect entrance to such a jaw-dropping structure—getting to the top is more than worth it!

While the interior of the church is fairly simple, it is the church’s surroundings that has made it a popular destination among tourists. Near its entrance is a relief depicting Our Lady of Assumption atop a tree, while beside it is a belfry that was also used as a watchtower in the Spanish colonial period. The church also has a lot of open space surrounding it, perfect for leisurely walks and quick photos!

Where to experience it

If you’re coming from Vigan, it will take you around an hour to get to the municipality of Santa Maria, where the church is located. If you have plans of going to Pinsal Falls, Santa Maria Church is only a few minutes away, so make sure to include both in your itinerary.

Contact info

  • Baroque Churches of the Philippines page in UNESCO website
  • Official Facebook page of Santa Maria Municipal Police Station