A building that looks so old, yet so grand like Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte province easily captures the attention of both foreign and domestic visitors. It is also helped by the fact that no less than the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization or UNESCO acknowledged Paoay Church as a world heritage site.
Ilocos Norte is famous for its old Baroque churches, most notably Paoay Church in the town of Paoay. Originally known as the St. Augustine Church in Paoay, foundation of the building was laid in 1694, and it took nearly two centuries before the church took its final form, according to historical accounts.
Massive bricks and coral stones adorn the church structure as well as its three-storey bell tower. The architecture of the church used a mix of Gothic, Baroque, Chinese and Javanese designs that made it unique in the Philippines.
The church is best viewed during sunset, when its massive facade reflects the golden glow of the sun.
Paoay town is about 470 kilometers north of Manila, or about 8 to 9 hours by land travel. From Manila, it can be reached via the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), the Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and the national road from Tarlac all the way to the provinces of
Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte.
Buses bound for Laoag City pass Paoay. Travel time is between 9 to 10 hours by bus. Domestic airlines also have daily flights to Laoag City. From Laoag, travel time by bus to Paoay is about 30 minutes.