This is the second reason why I was very eager to visit Ilocos Norte. I wasn't just contented seeing it on postcards, on friends' photos, books and magazines - I have to see it in all its glory.
The St. Augustine Church or popularly known as Paoay Church is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. It's construction started in 1694 by the Agustinian Friars, completed 1894 and was re-dedicated in the same year. It is made of coral blocks and brick that incorporates Gothic, Baroque and Oriental designs that add up to its striking appeal.
Built to withstand earthquakes common in our country, it is probably the best-known “earthquake baroque” church in the Philippines. In fact, one of its key features are the 24 carved buttresses that support the church’s structure during earthquakes.
Unlike other bell towers in most churches around the country, the Paoay Church's stunning bell tower is detached from the church. This is to avoid the tower from smashing on the structure when an earthquake occurs.
It is not just an architectural masterpiece but also has historical value. During the Philippine revolution in 1898, it was said to be used by the Katipuneros as an observation post, and also by Filipino guerillas during the Japanese occupation in World War II.
Having been to San Agustin church in Intramuros Manila and Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Church in Miag-ao, Iloilo last year, Paoay Church is the 3rd church that I was fortunate to visit that is proudly inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list of Baroque Churches in the Philippines. Leaving Nuestra Señora De La Asuncion in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur left unvisited - which I plan to visit soon. I could have visited already the four churches if I didn’t miss it on my trip to Ilocos Sur in 2005.
You shouldn’t miss this impressive example of baroque church in the Philippines. A must-see attraction when visiting Ilocos Norte.
How I got there:
Knowing that it is located at 16 KM south of Laoag, I rented a tricycle in the city proper for 250 pesos, going to and from Paoay. Travel time is around 30 minutes.
Another alternative is to take a Batac-Paoay jeepney. Fare is around 30 pesos.
With my rented tricycle, I was able to visit the Church and Malacañang of the North, which are both located in the town of Paoay. Renting a tricycle for 250 pesos is good enough especially if you're 3 in a group (which is it's normal capacity).
Please note that it is best to visit the church in the afternoon to get better pictures of the church's facade since it is facing northwest. I visited it in the morning that's why I had a hard time getting clear photos. :)
Happened last May 6-8, 2011, here is a series of posts on my 3D/2N Adventure in Ilocos Norte, Philippines. This is my 3rd solo trip and 26th province on my list.
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