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Ilocos Norte - Paoay Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site


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.
Map By: Wikipedia


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31 comments :

  1. weee! i like! :D

    Hopefully next year I can visit this place din :D

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  2. I want to see this church in the evening! Great tip on renting a trike, I wouldn't have thought of that since may jeep option.

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  3. lumang luma na ang church pero ang ganda ng pagkagawa.

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  4. nice. nag backpacker din kame dito. nakakamiss. sa malapit sa simbahan na to mayroon nagtitinda ng pizza na kakaiba. pakbet ata saka dinuguan. masarap naman.

    ang miss ko sa ilokos ay food trip. hehe. sarap ng bagnet at empanada.

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  5. @tina - Ilocos Norte really has a lot to offer... hope to read your stories when you visit it... thanks Tina! :)

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  6. @Pinay Travel Junkie - maganda nga cguro 'to sa gabi... di ko lang sure kung well lighted cya sa gabi... economical na din if you rent a tricycle, since Malacanang of the north is not on the national road... Thanks Gay! :)

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  7. @empi - a true masterpiece... thanks Empi! :)

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  8. @bulakbolero.sg - yan ang di ko nagawa, mag food trip sa Paoay, since I have to go to Pagudpud after... hehehe!!! thanks Bulakbolero! :)

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  9. sana makapunta din ako jan this year =)

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  10. wow ang ganda naman jan. never been there i hope makapunta ako this year.

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  11. isa sa pinakamagandang church sa pinas. i like. :)

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  12. @IamDP - punta na po! madaming magandang churches sa Ilocos Norte... sayang lang at di ko napuntahan lahat... :)

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  13. @rome - thanks po... this is one of the most beautiful churches I've seen so far... :)

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  14. it's actually one of the unique oriental church in the country. i wonder if you already visited the one in tumauini. though not as grand as this but also unique.

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  15. @dong ho - yan yung parang cake yung bell tower diba? hehehe! by december ko pa pupuntahan... thanks dong ho! :)

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  16. Very Nice church! The Agustinians really are into big and strong churches noh?

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  17. tagal na pala nyan... buti di nasisira sa earthquakes... galing ng mga buttress nya :)

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  18. I've been wanting to visit this church for so long, I'll make sure to put it on my Ilocos itinerary when I get the chance to visit the place.

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  19. I really wanna go back to Ilocos as soon as possible. Marvelous coast way and all those beautiful old churches...love it. Btw, nice new hairdo. =)

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  20. @Theonoski - i agree! actually, the four Baroque churches in the Philippines that are listed in the UNESCO world heritage site are all by the Augustinians... Thanks Theonoski! :)

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  21. @Batang Biyahera - wahahaha! balik na!!! hehehe!!! thanks po... :)

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  22. I am just curious on how was the system in constructing their foundation to withstand the earthquake with those huge and wide columns [layman's term of post]as supports which were made of corals, limestones and so on.:-).

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  23. Hay. Hopefully makavisit ko diha! :)

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  24. @Tripper10 - it's a sight to behold... don't forget to visit it when you go to Ilocos Norte... it's just 30 minutes away from Laoag... :)

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  25. @Bonzenti [Con Tour Blog] - and considering that it was built 400 year ago... it also puzzles me on how they did it... thanks Bonzenti... :)

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  26. @leylander - if you need help, just let me know... thanks Leylander... :)

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  27. wow, one of the amazing churches perhaps... hopefully matuloy ako magbackpack or rather mag round pinas with my bike hehehe... bisitahin ko talaga to.

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  28. @fetus - meron ngang tour of luzon diba> kaya yan ng bike! hehehe!!! thanks fetus... :)

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