Tuesday, March 5, 2024

DOT Caravan Highlights Heritage Destinations In Southern Iloilo

DOT Caravan Highlights Heritage Destinations In Southern Iloilo

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Heritage destinations in the southern part of Iloilo have been highlighted as the Western Visayas leg of the Philippine Experience: Culture, Heritage, and Arts Caravan (PEP) moved to Iloilo on Thursday.

From Bacolod City and Negros Occidental, the caravan led by Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco, stopped in the southernmost town of San Joaquin, which takes pride of its three national cultural treasures and the famous agri-eco tourism and pilgrimage destination Garin Farm.

“This is a very beautiful town, rich in history, rich in culture. This is an agricultural town, and a pilgrimage (destination) where our spirits commune with God while we enjoy the farm,” San Joaquin Mayor Ninfa Garin said in her welcome message to participants at the Garin Farm.

Garin Farm, which features integrated farming, is a favorite pilgrimage site during the Holy Week, where visitors climb 460 stairs to reach the peak of the farm where “heaven” is located.

“Before you go to the ascension, you have to pass by the dark side. Garin offers a different experience that in life, we have our dark side but going up to heaven is one that you will cherish,” Garin said.

The caravan also visited the San Joaquin church, one of the national cultural treasures of the municipality.

The church is known for its “militaristic” facade dubbed as “Rendicion De Tetuan” depicting the battle between the Spaniards and the Moros in Tetuan, Morocco.

Also included in the visit was the adjacent town of Miagao, famous for its hablon (woven) products and the St. Thomas de Villanova Church, which is included in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List.

The construction of the church started in 1787 and completed in 1797 to serve as a fortress against Muslim raiders known as Moros.

The church was destroyed during the 1898 revolution, was rebuilt and destroyed again by fire in 1910.

It was badly damaged by earthquake in 1948 but it was restored in 1962.

Miagao Mayor Richard Oscar Garin Jr. welcomed and encouraged participants to visit booths at the town cultural center to see for themselves the products of the locality since they did not have much time to go around the municipality.

The southern part of the province is also witness to the country’s rich history with San Joaquin claiming as the trading partner of Tigbauan where American forces landed to help liberate this part of the country from the Japanese forces, known as the Liberation of Panay and Romblon that is commemorated every March 18.

During the Bacolod and Negros Occidental launching on Wednesday, Frasco expressed optimism about the recovery of tourism and the resurgence of the economy by highlighting the unique cultural identities of the country’s regions as key tourist attractions.

The Philippine Experience: Culture, Heritage, and Arts Caravan aims to diversify the cultural tourism product offerings of the country, equalize opportunities across the regions, support the preservation of the country’s heritage, and artistic resources and assets, and most importantly, instill a sense of pride and patriotism among the Filipino people through a greater appreciation of the country’s inheritance and legacy. (PNA)