Paoay Church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-visit when in Ilocos Norte. After the exciting 4x4 ride and sandboarding at the Ilocos Norte Sand Dunes, and a brief stopover at the Lake Paoay View Deck, we proceeded to the Paoay Church.
This fortress-like church, rising like a mirage in the middle a vast square, is so unique in the country since its heavy set buttresses and finials give the church a silhouette similar to Asian temples. It is also considered by art critics as the pinnacle of earthquake Baroque architecture.
The construction of the Paoay Church began in 1694 and was completed sometime between 1702 to 1710. It was damaged on several occasions and repaired in 1865 and from 1889 to 1896, with its rededication at the onset of the Philippine Revolution.
Church expert Regalado Trota Jose mentions in his book that Paoay’s ceiling was once painted with murals similar to that of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. This however is no longer in existence today since one would only see wooden trusses as well as an exposed roof.
As Fr. Pedro Galende notes, “There is massiveness, movement, integration and above all, a forceful sweep of illusion that say a great deal about Filipino ingenuity. The result is an outstanding and undeniably Filipino type of architecture, neither Baroque nor Gothic, neither European nor Mexican, but authentically Filipino.”
Indeed, the Paoay Church stands as a testament to the immense creativity and ingenuity of the Filipino craftsmen who built its massive walls. It serves as a reminder for the current and future generations of Filipinos that heritage must be preserved and valued if we are to move forward as a nation.
After taking photos, the group proceeded to Batac for an empanada and miki breakfast. I always look forward to munching on Batac empanada everytime I'm in Ilocos Norte. Check out Dissecting the Batac and Vigan empanada.