PAOAY, Ilocos Norte, March 24 (PIA) — The municipality of Paoay opened a prayer garden for pilgrims visiting the Paoay Church especially during the Holy Week.
Called “Jardin de San Agustin,” the garden is built beside the church where a multipurpose building and the priest’s official house used to stand.
The buildings had to be abolished two years ago to create a buffer zone around the Paoay Church as required by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in world heritage site buildings.
In 1993, the Paoay Church, also known as the San Agustin Church, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best examples of Baroque churches in the Philippines.
Realizing that no permanent structures can be built beside the church, the provincial government and the municipality of Paoay joined in constructing the Jardin de San Agustin.
Interestingly, Saint Agustine’s conversion to Christianity took place in a garden in 387 A.D.
The Jardin de San Agustin has a spiritual dimension and serves not only as prayer garden but also as a teaching module on the life of Saint Agustin from his childhood to his conversion to Christianity until his death, according to Laoag Bishop Renato Mayugba.
The garden was designed by local landscape artists and the plants used in the garden are all indigenous plants of Ilocos Norte.
The garden will also pave the way for the revival of endemic horticulture of the province. (MCA/APT-PIA 1 Ilocos Norte)