I was not so much of a fan of visiting churches as tourist spots… until Paoay took my breath away! It was more than just beautiful. It allowed me to commune with the historic past of the Philippines and more importantly learn new things in the process of acquainting myself with the history of this church. Catholic churches represent a significant stature in Philippine culture.
Paoay is just a few minutes away from the heart of Ilocos, which is Laoag. And it was a great thing that we decided to stop over Paoay before heading to the famous town of Vigan.
Ilocos features lots of huge, voluminous Catholic churches made out of volcanic rock. Due to Spanish colonization, churches became a necessary structure as it was required to be built in the heart of every town as it was the foremost source of power when the Catholic Church dominated over the people back then. To get a feel of this and get first-hand experiences on this, we visited the famous St. Augustine Church of Paoay, or more popularly known as the Paoay Church.
Pardon the backlighted photo please. We went to see Paoay Church around 8 or 9 or 10 morning that is why the sun was at the back of the church. If you would like a better lighting of the breathtaking Paoay Church, you may want to visit after lunch or in the afternoon.
The construction of the Paoay Church took two hundred years to finish. It was started in 1694 and was finished in 1894. It features Gothic, Baroque and Oriental architectures that is why the church exudes a different appeal from the other churches.
I did not know Paoay was that beautiful until I saw it in person. Before, I just saw it in pictures and I was not so captivated by it. But having seen it up close, I found it very
beautiful breathtaking. Despite its massiveness, I still found it to be very graceful and resilient. Yes, resilient. Talk about the church being earthquake-proof. It is supported by 24 buttresses to surround the church should an earthquake occur. It was built to last, and was called to be an “Earthquake Baroque” church.
I was immediately captivated by the Church. And all the more by the bell tower just beside it. It is called the St. Augustine’s Bell Tower.
Generally, we found ourselves in deep appreciation of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s actually more beautiful when you get to see it in person. Visiting Paoay Church is truly recommended. See our happiness against the lovely Church!
Thank you, Paoay! You took my breathe away!
What I learned:
- Whether Catholic or not, each Church has a very rich history and very much worthy to be visited. Just like how any significant structure is built, it is surrounded by abounding stories that must be told and learned.
How we got around Paoay:
- We hailed a tricycle from Laoag to service us going to Paoay and Batac.
- We agreed to have the trike service at Php 300, but we felt that he won’t be able to earn much from Php 300, that’s why we gave him extra at Php 500. It’s still reasonably priced considering that it was Peak Season (December) and most tricycle drivers were charging Php 700-900.00 for Laoag, Paoay and Batac.