March 05, 2017

Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte: The Stunning Historical Icon of the North

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  • Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte: The Stunning Historical Icon of the North
  • When in Ilocos Norte, do not miss out on taking a short visit to one of the famous tourist destination and a world heritage site standing right in the heart of Paoay, the magnificent San Agustin Church, or also known as the Paoay Church.

    Paoay Church is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines, having completed its construction in 1710. It was declared as a National Cultural Treasure by the Philippine government in 1973 and was then included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site’s collective group of Baroque Churches of the Philippines in 1993.

    What makes Paoay Church outstanding from other well-known churches around the country is its impressive pyramid-like structure considered as a primary example of the earthquake baroque style of architecture characterized by its thick walls made from coral stones and bricks.

    A close look on the wall details of the church

    Its striking feature is the 24 heavy buttresses placed on the church’s sides and back which serves as a strong foundation against natural disasters such as earthquakes. That is why the Paoay Church still remains strong for over three centuries now.

    A glimpse of Paoay Church’s 24 striking buttresses on each side of the structure

    Its facade is reminiscent of Spanish, Chinese, and Filipino influences with its gothic, baroque, and oriental design. Inside the church is the gold plated altar with a figure of its patron Saint Agustine as a centerpiece.

    Another interesting fact is San Agustin Church’s contribution to Philippine history as its adjacent three-story bell tower was once used by the Katipuneros as an observation post during the Spanish revolution. There is also a small sanctuary or prayer garden on the right side of the church called the Jardin de San Agustin.

    The regal stance of the church, green landscape surrounding the building, and the blue skies as background all combined makes the church a one of a kind scenic attraction. Plus, it is near Paoay’s famous restaurants such as Herencia’s and Smoke Bar Restaurant.

    Also read: REFMAD Farms Highlights Dragonfruit Benefits from Hopia to Bath Soaps

    When visiting, remember to wear decent clothing and avoid making loud noises as a form of respect to the holy place.

    How to get here:

    • By car: If you are coming from the south, drive straight to north along Currimao-Paoay-Suba-Balacao Road. Make a left turn at Marcos Avenue then turn left again at Herencia Restaurant. From there, you’ll be able to see the facade of the Paoay Church.


    Address: Marcos Ave, Paoay, Ilocos Norte
    Contact information: (077) 793-2030 / 0908-865-2853 / 0915-275-7998
    Facebook: St. Agustine Catholic Parish Paoay, Ilocos Norte

    A version of this appeared in Philippine Primer’s Japanese (Vol. 103) and English (Vol. 12) magazines
    Updated as of March 7, 2019

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