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Title: The Paoay Church: “Earthquake Baroque”
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Paoay, Ilocos Norte August 15, 2010 I heard a lot of things about this church (unique architectural designs) and it’s my dream...
Paoay, Ilocos Norte

August 15, 2010

I heard a lot of things about this church (unique architectural designs) and it’s my dream to visit it, my friends decided and planned to visit this church but didn’t materialize not until now grabbed my backpack and go.

The Paoay Church (also known as Saint Augustine Church of Paoay) is one of the many churches inscribed in UNESCO's World Heritage list (together with 3 other Philippine baroque churches: Nuestra Senora in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur; San Augustin in Manila; Miag-ao Church in Iloilo) in recognition of its unique architectural style which is a reinterpretation of European Baroque by Chinese and Philippine craftsmen. It currently is a property of the Diocese of Laoag, Ilocos Norte.

It is famous for its distinctive Gothic, Baroque and Oriental architecture. The church was dubbed "Earthquake Baroque" because of its fortress-like structure, the wall have 1.67 thick with 24 massive buttresses designed to withstand the destructive forces of earthquakes. Its facade reveals Gothic affinity, its gables show Chinese elements, while the niches topping the walls suggest Javanese influence (reminiscent of the famous Boroboudur Temple).

The church was built of coral blocks and stucco-plastered bricks, according to the history the church were started by the Augustinian friars in 1694. It was completed in 1894 led by Fr. Antonio Estavillo and was re-dedicated in 1894. A few meters away is the coralstone belltower which served as observation post of the “Katipuneros” during the Philippine Revolution and again by the guerillas by the Japanese occupation.

Originally, the church roof was thatched; and it is conjectured so that buttresses not only support walls but give roof access during fire and typhoon. Parts of the church were damaged during the earthquakes in 1865 and 1885.

After taking photos at the historical and magnificent Paoay Church, roamed around the first stopped is in Herencia Café(located in front of the Paoay Church) which served the most favorite Ilocano dish into a delightful pizza – the Pinakbet Pizza other varieties are Bagnet Pizza and the Dinuguan Pizza. I tried the Pinakbet Pizza and you wouldn’t believe it, so much delicious and very fulfilling. I am sure if you taste it sure you wouldn’t forget it. town and

After eating the super delicious pizza at Herencia Cafe went directly to souvenir shop (left of the cafe). One could find banana chips, chicacorn and native baskets handcrafted by the locals (Paoayenos). You can also dine at Bed & Breakfast where one could find wi-fi access.

Then ride a tricycle (3 wheeled mode of transportation, commonly in the Philippines) thenMalacañang Palace of the North where late Pres. Ferdinand Marcos built the structure during his reign, its huge and beautiful. And at the palace you can already see the calmness of the Paoay Lake at back veranda.

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Then went to the view deck of the Paoay lake where you can see the entirety of the lake. Wish I could plunge but I don’t have extra garment and shorts.

According to Paoayenos, it is believed that the early

inhabitants came from Bombay, India, because the first name of the town was Bombay. Settlers of the early days usually named the settlement they founded after the name of the place they came from. When the Malays arrived they overthrew the Indians. Those who were left married the Malays and this made it hard to trace the origin of either of the two races (Indians and Malays). Picture at the leftside a proof that I've been here.

Paoay, Ilocos Norte, offers historical facts, delightful dishes and delicacies, souvenir that is worthy enough to share with family and friends, calm and unique ambience away from a buzzling cityscape.

Things to do in Paoay, Ilocos Norte:

- visit and take photo of the famous and historical Paoay Church (San Agustin Church of Paoay)

- in front of the Paoay Church is Herencia Cafe which first served the Pinakbet Pizza, topped with your usual pinakbet vegetables, the Bagnet Pizza which is crispy bagnet or lechon kawali (chicharon as they sometimes refer to it in Ilocos) on a pizza, and the Dinuguan Pizza (dinuguan with crispy bagnet). These are really delicious. Superb!

- buy chicacorn, chicaron and traditional basket bags (handcrafted) at Paoay Souvenir Shop in front of the church

- visit the Malacañang of the North

- visit the Paoay Lake

- after the Malacañang of the North you can visit the Fort Ilocandia (which I didn’t went to)

Photos taken – around 200+ shots

Number of short being wet – 0

Number of bottled mineral water drunk – 2

Number of pizza eaten - 1

Number of wi-fi access - 1

Number of rough road passed – 1

Entrance fee to Malacañang of the North – Php 15.00

Chichacorn (2) and Banana Chips (1) – Php 100.00

Tricycle ride – 2 – Php 75.00

Jeepney ride – 1 – Php 30.00

Pizza cost plus added coke in can and fruit juice - Php 440.oo

Bus ride (back and forth) from Vigan – Php 206.00


Total Expenses Incurred – Php 866.00


Paoay is located west of Batac, southwest of Laoag City and north of Currimao. Situated 480 kilometers north of Manila and 23 kilometers south of Laoag City, it is bounded on the north by Laoag City and San Nicolas, on the south by Batac and Currimao, on the east by Batac, and on the west by the South China Sea.

· If from M. Manila route to Vigan City cost (Php 420.00) & M. Manila to Batac City cost (Php 550.oo)

· Some of the public utility bus from Metropolitan Manila route directly to Loaoag City (Partas, Dominion, Florida (stationed in Batac), Maria de Leon, Fariñas)

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