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Vigan's heritage sites temporarily closed because of quake damage

Once bursting with tourists and locals, the historic sites in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur now appears deserted after it was temporarily shut down due to damages sustained from Wednesday's magnitude 7 earthquake.

According to a report by Tere Sundayon on"24 Oras," the Vigan Cathedral and the Bell Tower in Bantay town were among the structures that bore the brunt of the quake.

Some century-old ancestral houses and buildings along the famous Calle Crisologo sustained cracks.

In Bantay town, a portion of Saint Agustin Church watch tower was seen crumbling at the height of the tremor.

Some tourists were reportedly injured but were treated immediately.

Vigan City's historical center called the heritage village is listed as one of the UNESCO's world heritage sites since December 1999 for its well-preserved monumental buildings.

The National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) earlier affirmed its commitment to conduct collaborative efforts for the rehabilitation and restoration of several heritage sites that were damaged by the quake.

Meanwhile, employees in the city government of Vigan were seen rushing out of their offices after the quake.

The provincial government of Ilocos Sur suspended work in both public and private sectors.

In Sta. Catalina town residents living near the sea were immediately evacuated by the authorities. 

According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), the earthquake occurred at 8:43 a.m. and was located three kilometers northwest of Tayum, Abra. 

The strong earthquake left at least five people dead and 64 others injured.—Mel Matthew Doctor/LDF, GMA News