Diocese of Dgte embarks on digital tourism for heritage churches

By Jennifer C. Tilos

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DIGITAL HERITAGE DATA. Diocese of Dumaguete represented by Msgr. Julius Heruela (3rd from left) together with NN Navarro (2nd from left) of SmartComm presents the interactive tourism marker to St. Andrew The Apostle Parish Church in Amlan headed by Fr. Henrix Alar (rightmost). (PIA Negros Oriental)

The Diocese of Dumaguete has turned over interactive QR codes as tourism markers to parishes in Negros Oriental.

A QR Code is a two-dimensional barcode that is readable by smartphones.

It allows phone owners to read 4,000 character information in two-dimensional barcodes.

QR Codes, when scanned by an android or smartphone with appropriate software, leads users to a browser that hosts the data contained in the code for easy access to information.

The markers contain information on church heritage sites as part of the digital tourism campaign of Smart Communications and InnoPub to promote historical and cultural sites thru the use of mobile technology.

Churches that received QR code markers include St. Augustine of Hippo Parish Church in Bacong; San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish Church in Bais City; St. Anthony de Padua Parish Church in Sibulan; St. James The Greater Parish Church in Tanjay City; St Andrew The Apostle Parish Church in Amlan; St. Francis of Assisi Parish Church in Manjuyod; Holy Child Parish Church in Jimalalud; San Isidro Labrador Parish Church in Zamboanguita; San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish Church in Dauin; St. Thomas of Villanueva Parish Church in Bayawan City; St. Nicolas of Bari Parish Church in Siaton; and St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral in Dumaguete City.

In partnership with Smart Communications and InnoPub, the developer of the technology, Msgr. Julius Perpetuo Heruela, chair of the Commission on Church Cultural Heritage of the Diocese of Dumaguete, said the 12 QR markers easily provide visitors with the information on a particular church heritage site.

This is the second batch of tourism markers unveiled by the Diocese while the first batch of seven markers were handed over in July last year.

Heruela explained that mobile users with smartphones can scan the QR code and a browser window that hosts the data will provide information about the site or the heritage church.

“The information provided by the code are researched by InnoPub and verified by some memoirs and historians. But we encourage the public who have knowledge on a certain site to share some info as we do research for the right information,” said Heruela.

While next year marks the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines, Heruela disclosed that this year, four Pueblos are celebrating 400 years in Negros Oriental.

These pueblos include Dumaguete City and the municipalities of Bacong, Dauin, and Sta. Catalina where the Spaniards gave importance to these places 400 years ago, he added.

“Meaning there were already inhabitants in Negros Oriental in 1620, and of course, Tanjay also became a pueblo because it is a way where the people passed going to Manila, and the church in Tanjay is the house of the chieftain before,” Heruela related.

Additional QR markers will be installed in some heritage site churches in anticipation of the inflow of visitors for the quincentennial celebration in 2021, according to sources from the Diocese of Dumaguete.

Heruela noted that it is important to impart correct information on cultural heritage to the young generation through the use of technology or mobile phones.

QR markers to be installed in Dgte parish churches

By Jennifer C. Tilos

 

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Most Rev. Julito Cortes (left), bishop of Diocese of Dumaguete, scanning the QR marker thru his mobile device to open the web link. (PIA Negros Oriental)

 

Leading to the celebration of the 500-year anniversary of Christianity in the Philippines in 2021, the Diocese of Dumaguete has partnered with a telecommunications company to set Quick Response (QR) interactive markers to make way for a digital tourism experience.

Bishop Julito Cortes of Diocese of Dumaguete said this is part of the preparations for 2021, which marks the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the country, with March 2020 to March 2021 as a Holy Year.

Smart Communications Visayas-Mindanao Public Affairs Head Maria Jane Paredes recently turned over the initial seven QR code markers to Cortes which will be installed in parish churches.

Using the QR code markers, pilgrims, tourists, and students can access accurate information and explore heritage churches and monuments using their mobile phones.

The digital tourism program harnesses technology to deliver cultural, historical, and travel information to mobile users.

Under the program, the QR codes and near field communication chips will be installed in every church heritage structure and when scanned through a mobile device, it will open a web link on the user’s smartphone.

Paredes said through these markers, the tourist and the pilgrims can get information on a particular site right away.

The information provided has been carefully curated and validated by the Diocese and Commission on Cultural Heritage.

“This is to help also catechize the pilgrims especially the young ones because mobile technology is their arena, so we also hope to draw attention on the youth sector,” added Paredes.

“The Rome will allow us in the Philippines to declare thru the CBCP that 13 churches in every Diocese can grant plenary indulgences, like in the Diocese of Dumaguete my hope we can declare the following churches to receive indulgence Cathedral, Bacong, Dauin, Zamboanguita, Siaton, and Bayawan in the south and then Sibulan, Amlan, San Jose, Tanjay, Bais, Manjuyod and Jimalalud,” the bishop said.

With this, Cortes wants the seven churches to start the QR markers that also link to a prayer and other spiritual exercises, and expand eventually to all the churches that will be declared to receive indulgences in 2020-2021.

“This is to help also catechize the pilgrims especially the young ones because mobile technology is their arena, so we also hope to draw attention on the youth sector,” added Paredes.

“The Rome will allow us in the Philippines to declare thru the CBCP that 13 churches in every Diocese can grant plenary indulgences, like in the Diocese of Dumaguete my hope we can declare the following churches to receive indulgence Cathedral, Bacong, Dauin, Zamboanguita, Siaton, and Bayawan in the south and then Sibulan, Amlan, San Jose, Tanjay, Bais, Manjuyod and Jimalalud,” the bishop said.

With this, Cortes wants the seven churches to start the QR markers that also link to a prayer and other spiritual exercises, and expand eventually to all the churches that will be declared to receive indulgences in 2020-2021.

Dumaguete Cathedral, Bacong, Dauin , Francis of Asisi of Siquijor, San Juan, Lazi, Maria, Larena, and Talingting while church heritage QR markers are in various stages of completion.

Digital tourism involves the creation of apps, mobile guides, and interactive materials that give tourists and locals comprehensive and localized information about various destinations in the country, including heritage sites, nature parks, historic cities, and churches.