Santa Maria Things to Do
The church is located on top of a hill and surrounded by stonewall fortresses that serve as protection during the old days. Of all the old churches I've seen, it has the most beautiful location. You have a 360 degrees view of the simple town of Sta. Maria as you wander on its vast courtyard around the church. The church is accessible through a flight of steps made of granite blocks. One must climb the 85 steps to reach the church and the same one can be found on the other side.
It is made of bricks. The facade is very simple with 2 massive side pillars. An old convent is facing the facade. The emblem of the order of St. Augustine wasn't engraved on the facade of the church unlike other Augustinian built churches that I've seen but it can be found on the convent's entrance. Like other baroque churches, it is also supported by heavy buttresses to withstand earthquakes. There’s an image of Christ on top of a tree on the side of the church facing the town.
It’s bell fry was built in 1810 with a decreasing octagonal shape and it is slightly tilted and not in line with the facade. It was erected at about the midpoint of the longitudinal axis of the nave very different from all other churches with separated bell towers mostly are in line with the façade or slightly forward It’s very impressive.. Very different.
The church was closed that time but we manage to sneaked in and pray because we asked permission to the parish office. The interior of the church is very simple and not old looking though, seems it’s already underwent series of renovations and restoration. It has a simple golden and yellow retable with the image of the Immaculate Concepcion in the middle. The frescoed ceiling of the Holy Trinity and crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth added glamour.
Whenever going to Ilocandia region don't miss this church