The Church of Paoay
Image by paolosdala
It is a dream come true to be able to visit Paoay Church,the best known earthquake Baroque church in the Philippines which has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. The cornerstone of the church was laid by the Augustinian missionaries in 1704 while the cornerstone of the belfry was laid in 1793. The people already used it even before completion in 1894,but it was formally inaugurated on February 28,1896. It is said that large coral stones were used for the lower level of the church structure,and bricks were used for the upper levels. The walls which were made of coral blocks,tree sap,lumber and stucco-plastered bricks are 1.67 meters (more than 3 feet) thick,and are supported by 24 massive buttresses of intricate design.The church was partially destroyed twice by earthquakes in 1706 and 1927.In the restoration,permanent columns were built to support the ceiling. Today,this uniquely beautiful church still stands, wowing tourists with its majestic structure of Oriental,Gothic and Baroque influences.
The belfry stands a few meters from the church. As in other belfries of Ilocos churches,Katipuneros used the belfry as watch point in the 1896 revolution,and guerrillas of World War II also used it to check out coming enemies.