On Wednesday, Baguio’s local government unit issued an order to close down Igorot Stone Kingdom, a man-made tourist attraction meant to be a homage to the Igorot culture and creativity. The six-hectare theme park features various structures made up of stone masonry resembling the rice terraces in Banaue. It opened in 2021, but was closed down less than a year later due to permit and safety issues.
Tourist spot shut down
According to Baguio City Mayor Benjie Magalong, Igorot Stone Kingdom has been operating without a proper business permit, and the stone structures did not have a building permit, raising questions on safety. The mayor added that they informed the attraction’s management as early as June that they need to get a business permit, but the management simply “kept on adding attractions.”
Though many netizens were dismayed that they weren’t even able to visit the man-made attraction, others who had been there say they agree with the decision to close it down, calling it “not safe” and “not kid friendly [sic]”
Not kids friendly. The grills (barricade) are so thin and easily bent, the steps of the stairs are not proportional, and the way it was structured is so sloped or steep. It was a bit rainy that day and quite slippery. Maganda na kung maganda, pero dpt unahin ang safety pdin.(2/2)
— Capt. Marvel (@thetrueMarvel) November 9, 2022
Now that the Igorot Stone Kingdom has been shut down, you might be looking for another similar place to visit. Whether you’ve been planning to see those stone walls or you’re glad that someone pointed out the dangers there, here are some other man-made spots you can visit instead:
1. Bangui Windmills
Location: Ilocos Norte
This wind farm in Ilocos Norte may be primarily an energy source, but no one can deny the beauty of its arrangement. The wind turbines are arranged in a single row along a shoreline, creating a beautiful backdrop for any photo.
2. Calle Crisologo
Location: Vigan, Ilocos Sur
A beloved tourist spot for both Filipinos and foreigners, Vigan is one of a handful of towns in the country boasting well-preserved colonial-era structures. Within it, Calle Crisologo is one of the parts that has been preserved the best with its cobblestone road and Spanish-era houses. For preserving much of its history, culture, and architecture, Vigan is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
3. Hanging Coffins
Location: Sagada, Mountain Province
As its name suggests, the Hanging Coffins are literally that: a group of coffins stacked together on the side of a cliff, as if they’re “hanging.” As this is a burial practice observed by the people of Sagada to honor their loved ones, it is not exactly an “attraction”, but tourists have sought out the Hanging Coffins just to see them in person.
Location: City of Manila
Much as it may be obvious, this walled city deserves a mention just for how beautiful a man-made structure it is. While much of Intramuros was destroyed in World War 2, the wall itself has remained intact, as well as several buildings within — most of which have been maintained as well.
5. Malinta Tunnel
Location: Corregidor Island
Originally meant to be a storage and bunker, Malinta Tunnel is the main tunnel to which over 24 lateral tunnels are connected, and it served as a bomb shelter and a hospital during World War 2. Now, the large tunnel complex mostly sits empty apart from its guided tours.
6. Paoay Church
Location: Ilocos Norte
Saint Augustine Church, or more commonly known as Paoay Church, boasts a long history and beautiful architecture. Built in 1710, the church has been protected by the huge buttresses that prevented it from collapsing during earthquakes and other natural calamities. It also displays the beauty of Spanish Baroque architecture, even becoming a UNESCO World Heritage under the collective Baroque Churches of the Philippines.
7. Banaue Rice Terraces
Location: Ifugao, Mountain Province
Often considered the “8th Wonder of the World”, the Banaue Rice Terraces are located approximately 1,500 meters above sea level. They’re thought to have been built largely by hand and with minimal tools, and it’s said that if the steps were put end to end, they would encircle half the globe. Sadly, the terraces are gradually eroding, as younger generations of the Ifugao no longer find farming appealing.
8. San Juanico Bridge
Though its origins are quite controversial (Marcos Sr. built the bridge as a gift to his wife Imelda using funds from the controversial Marcos Japanese ODA Scandal), it’s hard not to marvel at the San Juanico Bridge. Spanning 2,164 meters, the bridge connects Samar and Leyte. The bridge is considered a tourist attraction in Tacloban.