El Santo Cerro (The Holly Hill) en la Vega, the heart of the Cibao Valley. This church is built atop a hill overlooking the valley in all directions. It is believed that in March 1494, in thye midst of a major battle against the local Taino populqation, Christopher Columbus planted a wooden cross on the top of this hill. The Virgin Mary then appeared behind the cross stunning the indians giving Columbus an opportunity to advance agains the indians winning the battle.
El Santo Cerro has become a shrine for Nuestra Seņora de las Mercedes.