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Thursday, October 31

Revisiting Paoay Church: That Old Piece of Awesomeness in Ilocos Norte

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One of the earliest baroque churches in the Philippines is the Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte.

So that ala Amazing Race kinda tour in Vigan prompted us to further reach the north of the North—Ilocos Norte. Our last destination in Ilocos Sur was a zooey walk inside Baluarte. I said this was an Amazing Race-like of tour because this was my first ever, most haggard trip of the year (would I have an award?) because, imagine, we have to see many tourist spots in Ilocos Region that extends up to Pagudpud. In one day. Ilocos in one day. So just be it—at least for the next leg, I saw for another time the grandeur architecture of Paoay Church.

The Vigan-Laoag-Pagudpud Ilocos Triple Combo One-Day Panalo Trip!

Paoay Church is situated in Paoay, Ilocos Norte (I never thought Paoay Church is in Paoay…how redundant haha). It is one of the early Earthquake Baroque churches in the Philippines. When we say, “earthquake baroque churches”, they were churches built in design with the seismic condition in a particular place. The parish was founded in 1593 and is also called the Saint Augustine Church of Paoay. Records tell that some of its structures were built using corals and stones. I hope the church will withstand if ever a similar earthquake that happened in Bohol will also hit the North. Paoay Church is one of the most beautiful churches in the country. It was damaged by earthquake in 1706 and 1927, and the tower was used as on observation post by Katipuneros during the Revolution by the guerillas during the Japanese occupation.
It was a piece of awesomeness, because; imagine it stood still for hundreds of years. Besides, unlike other old churches in the country, the church grounds have a wide green space that adds up to its beauty. Bushes of tropical bougainvilla flowering plants line up the fences of the green grounds, and as you move farther from the façade of the church, the church becomes a picture perfect photo souvenir. Baguio Cathedral was once like this. The church in Baguio has a wide green space and an entrance-exit pathway for light vehicles and an aisle going to the church. However, the old Baguio Cathedral was not maintained. Several establishments were built around it and the green spaces were gone forever.

Facade of Paoay Church
The bell tower of Saint Augustine Church of Paoay.

Our tourist guide told us to just spend about 15 minutes in Paoay Church. Okay, that’s enough for some photos. The interior of the church was painted white, and the ceiling was renovated. I eagerly checked the buttresses of the church, and yes, there are old imprints on it. Paoay Church was really very old. When we went there in April, there was an undergoing construction of another church near the old Paoay Church. The architecture was somehow patterned from the old church, however, of course, the new church already used steel reinforcements to strengthen the structure and withstand earthquakes. Maybe future church events and masses will already be held inside the new church so as to preserve the beauty of the old Paoay Church.

New Paoay Church

Paoay Church interior

Adjacent park in Paoay Church

Paoay Church bell tower

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