A Northern Roadtrip: The Baroque Church of Paoay

Part of the collective group of Baroque Churches in the Philippines recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, Paoay Church or the Saint Augustine Church has eluded me for the longest time. Twice I have been to the province of Ilocos Norte and both times I went home without catching a glimpse of its massive facade walls. I reckon only a fool would let fly a third opportunity without seeing it up close. 

Things to do in Ilocos Norte

During my northern road trip late last year with my girlfriend Monnette and her sisters Len and Day, we made sure to pass by Laoag so we could easily hop into a tricycle and visit Paoay. Along the way, we also dropped by a cluster of interesting places such as the Malacanang of the North, the Marcos Museum and Mausoleum at Batac City, and the La Paz Sand Dunes. All of these including the Paoay Church are doable for an afternoon trip. 

Just like what I expected the visual exterior of Saint Augustine Church is teeming with impressiveness. Even though I've seen a stellar set of other Spanish Colonial Churches all over the country, I guess I will never get tired of staring at one-two-three-four hundred year old churches. 

Referred to as 'earthquake baroque church' because of the enormous buttresses that supports the side and back parts of the church. It is believed that the baroque architectural elements was reinforced by additional structural supports, because of the many occurrence of churches getting destroyed by earthquakes and fires throughout our history under the Spanish rule. 

Made of large coral stones and bricks and binded together using mortar composed of 'sand and lime with sugarcane juice boiled with mango leaves, leather and rice straw'. (1), the church appears it can withstand another three to four hundred years. 

Things to do in Ilocos Norte

If only Saint Augustine Church and the municipality of Paoay is only an hour or two away from home, I will definitely consider it as the place to tie the knot someday. It would be lovely to see my bride (Monnette) walk the aisle of this historic church that has stood the better and worse of times, throughout the richer and poorer state of its townsfolk and a place where countless generations of faithfuls prayed against sickness, for health and safety of their love ones. 

This is a part of my Ilocos Roadtrip Series that also include the following:

The Heritage House of Villa Angela

Malacañang of the North

Charging at the Mad Max Vibe of La Paz Sand Dunes

Where to Stay in Laoag: Balay de Blas

- Bantay Church Bell Tower

- A Pit-stop at Kapurpurawan Rock Formation