MANILA — The Heritage City famous for the preservation of its Spanish-era architecture, Vigan in Ilocos Sur, is now one of the New 7 Wonders Cities of the world, according to a global poll.
Results were announced on its website Sunday evening, ending the year-long campaign of the New7Wonders Foundation, an organization looking to promote the beauty of the world as well as respect for cultural diversity.
It is the same institution that endorsed and promoted the underground river in Puerto Princesa City as one of the New7Wonders of Nature.
Aside from Vigan, the six other Wonders Cities include Beirut, Lebanon; Doha, Qatar, Durban, South Africa; Havana, Cuba; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and La Paz, Bolivia.
New7Wonders Cities Founder-President Bernard Weber in a statement said that the New7Wonders Cites will now join the New7Wonders of Nature and the New7Wonders of the World in becoming part of global memory.
We congratulate each of these cities on achieving their New7Wonders status, and we look forward to celebrating their election to the canon of 7 with their citizens in 2015, Weber said.
New7Wonders Cities campaign began in 2011 with more than 1,200 nominees from 220 different countries. It was later narrowed down to 21 nominees, and later 14 finalists, until the seven cities were declared winners.
Voting could be done in three ways, online by logging on to the New7Wonders website, through SMS, and by voting via phone call.
The Department of Tourism (DOT), which earlier assured full support for the global campaign and encouraged Filipinos all over the world, meanwhile welcomed the inclusion of Vigan as a New7Wonders City.
We join the entire nation in celebrating the naming of Vigan as one of the New 7 Wonders Cities of the World, DOT Usec. for Tourism Development Benito Bengzon Jr. said in a text message to the Philippines News Agency.
The inclusion of Vigan is a testament to its rich history and cultural heritage and strong economic and tourism potential, Bengzon added.
He meanwhile expressed confidence that with this development, Vigan will draw even larger numbers of foreign and domestic tourists.
Even before being named a Wonder City, Vigan has already received the honor of being declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
At present, DOT is sticking to its target of acquiring 6.8-million international tourists by year-end and 10-million international tourists by 2016.