I’ve been a huge lover of church structures – may it be old or new, baroque or modern. Whenever I get to visit one place, I make it a point to visit at least one church, first to pray and second to see what’s inside. There is something in churches that I consider special.
If there is one thing I love about Ilocos Norte, it is the fact that the Province is home to the many century-old churches in the Philippines. The most prominent of those is the Paoay Church also known as the San Augustin Church located in the town of Paoay. This historical church is in the bucket list of my dream churches to visit.
From Malacañang Ti Amianan, we drove straight to the town proper of Paoay. The church is located at the very heart of the town. It was nearing dark when we get there but I was so ecstatic to see the grandeur of the Church. As I stepped out of the van, it was the tranquil view of a 300-year old church that welcomed me. It was so peaceful that I can feel its serenity inside me. I moved to the front alley and from there gazed in full admiration the century-old structure that I have been dreaming to see. It was so admirable.
Paoay Church is perhaps the most admired “earthquake Baroque” church in the Philippines. It is a unique combination of Gothic, Baroque and Oriental architectural designs. It is among the first churches in the Philippine listed in the famed Unesco World Heritage List. It is for this reason that at one point, Paoay Church was used as the tourism emblem for the province of Ilocos Norte.
For more than 300 years, San Agustin Church of Paoay has lasted with the test of times – from destructive storms to devastating earthquakes. It has played significant role in the lives of the Ilokanos and has played a vital role of the Philippine history. Above all, it has witnessed the changes and challenges of the town yet remained strong and proud.
The Church was already closed when we got there. A substantial restoration and renovation was going on at that time. We did not get the chance to see what inside but just like the grandeur of the façade, we knew it was as equally magnificent.
Visiting Paoay Church was a dream come true. It is a sheer experience I will truly cherish. Indeed, when we wish for something and we push to make it happen, it will really come true! I may not wander inside the Church but being just there staring at its full grandeur is enough to say, “I WAS AT PAOAY CHURCH”. It used to be dream and finally a reality.
TRAVEL SERIES: Byaheng Ilocos Sur, Lakbay Ilocos Norte