Feature: Ilocos Sur governor urges residents to use Bicentennial stamps

VIGAN CITY, March 5 (PIA) –  To show how residents of Ilocos Sur treasure the bicentennial anniversary of their province, they are urged by Ryan Luis V. Singson, the provincial governor, to use the commemorative bicentennial stamps when writing their loved ones or sending greeting cards to them.

It is time to use the post office this year to be able to use our bicentennial stamps,” the governor said.

He likewise invited residents to share the province’s 200th year celebration to their friends and relatives in the country and abroad, as the province continues to celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime event until the end of the year.

The Philippine Postal Corporation issued four stamps and a souvenir sheet featuring the Bicentennial celebration of Ilocos Sur in February during the opening of the Ilocos Sur Bicentennial Stamp Exhibit at the Capitol in this city.

The bicentennial stamps feature the World Heritage Sites in Vigan City and Santa Maria, the Bantay Bell Tower and the 85-foot Pinsal Falls. The souvenir sheets feature the two UNESCO-listed World Heritage Sites in the province – the Calle Crisologo of Vigan City and the Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion Church of Santa Maria (Our Lady of the Assumption Church of Santa Maria). 

The Bantay Bell Tower, one of the most visited daily by local and foreign tourists was also featured in earlier Philippine Stamps series of Philippine watchtowers.  It was built in 1591 and was turned into a bell tower of the church in its south in 1857.  This church is the present shrine of the patron of Ilocandia, Apo Caridad.

The Pinsal Falls, which has twin falls, is the largest in the province. Located in barangay Balballasioan of Santa Maria town, it is known for the legendary foot print of the Ilocano giant, Angalo, found on top of the mountain where the water comes from.  Elderly residents say that Angalo left his foot prints in this part when he was looking for his wife. 

Pagburnayan is where the Vigan jars are manufactured. Here, tourists can witness how the jars are made by hand by one of the Living Treasures of the Philippines, Fidel Go.  The jars are found only in this city because the clay is found only in the adjacent barangays of Bulala and Pong-ol and nowhere in the country.  These jars have been known to be the best containers in fermenting fish to produce ‘bagoong’, sugarcane juice or bennal to produce the local vinegar or suka and local wine or basi and molasses or tagapulot.

The Bessang Pass Natural Monument located in barangay Malaya in Cervantes town is the most important part of Philippine history during World War II. Here, World War II ended in the country on June 14, 1945 when the strength of the Japanese Imperial Army was crushed. Here, the Filipino soldiers who were under the US Armed Forces in the Philippines Northern Luzon (USAFP-NL) won the battle.

Calle Crisologo, the cobbled street at Mestizo district of Vigan city, where houses of Iloco-European architecture are still standing today because the city was saved from the Japanese bombings of World War II because of the love between a Japanese officer and his wife, a Vigan lass. But another version of the story by Eugen Reinhardt in his book, “God, A Woman and the Priest” which “clearly chronicles, through mysterious interplay, Divine Province, an Ilocana lady and the brave Priest, a man of fortitude, were instrumental in this historical happening.” The whole city of Vigan is a World Heritage City.

Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion Church of Santa Maria (Our Lady of the Assumption Church of Santa Maria), one of the four baroque churches in the Philippines, listed by UNESCO in 1993 as World Heritage Site, was built in 1810 on a hill with a bell tower and a convent. (PIA-1, Ilocos Sur)