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Blog In Travel Addicts

THE PAOAY CHURCH: Ilocos Norte, Philippines

blog:3098:0::0
By sly silvestre l. quintos
Posted Jun 22, 2009 in Travel
The Paoay Church (also known as the St. Augustine Church ) is a historical church located in the town of Paoay in Ilocos Norte, Philippines.
Construction of the Paoay Church was started by the Augustinian friars in 1694. It was completed in 1894 led by Fr. Antonio Estavillo and was re-dedicated in 1894.
A three-storey coral stone bell tower stands to the right of the church which served as an observation post in 1896 for the Katipuneros during the Philippine revolution against the Spaniards, and again by the Filipino guerillas during the Japanese occupation in World War II.
The Church is a unique combination of Gothic, Baroque and Oriental designs. Its facade reveals Gothic affinity, its gables show Chinese elements, while the niches topping the walls suggest Javanese influence (reminiscent of the famous Boroboudur Temple).
the paoay church
the paoay church
deja vu photos
Known as the “Earthquake Baroque” church in the Philippines, Paoay church was built of baked bricks, coral rocks, salbot (tree sap) and lumber, and has 24 carved massive buttresses for support. It is an architectural solution to the area's challenging, natural setting. Both sides of the nave are lined with the most voluminous stone buttresses seen around the islands. Large coral stones were used for the lower level while bricks were used for the upper levels of the church. The walls are 1.67 meters thick made of the same materials.
Its bell tower, which is detached from its main building, is made of coral stone. It stands a safe distance away to spare the sanctuary in case of collapse. Originally, the church roof was thatched; and it is conjectured so that buttresses not only support walls but give roof access during fire and typhoon. Parts of the church were damaged during the earthquakes in 1865 and 1885.
the paoay church
the paoay church
deja vu photos
During an excavation inside the church in 2000, a prehistoric human skeleton and fragmented ceramics were discovered and are now in display at the National Museum. According to historians, the bell tower also served as a status symbol for the locals. The bell would ring more loudly and more times during the wedding of a prominent clan that it would during the wedding of the poor.
Paoay Church is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. It currently is a property of the Diocese of Laoag, Ilocos Norte.
Paoay’s former name was Bombay. Its site was originally located in the village of Callaguip along the coastal shores of the South China Sea, now a barrio of Paoay. It is approximately two kilometers west of the present town proper.
From the date of early settlement to 1701, little could be said about the activities of the early settlers of Paoay except that much had been done in the clearing of the forests nearby. They converted the forests into rice and sugar lands through the slash-and-burn method called ‘kaingin.’
The early settlers were of a peace-loving tribe, but their major problem was the frequent furious incursions of Sea Rovers and Moro pirates called Tirong who looted indiscriminately their agricultural produce and other valuables. In order to protect themselves from further incursions, the folks moved towards the nearby inland where the present town proper is now located.
the paoay church
the paoay church
deja vu photos
In the farther western inland, there were also settlers who formed the neighboring town of Batac. Sensing that the Bombay people had suffered too much from the Moro raids, the people of Batac offered the people of Bombay to live with them. But the brave and maverick folks rejected the offer and instead they uttered "Maka-paoay kami" – an Ilocano dialect jargon meaning they could live independently.
The settlers from Batac were offended and it was from this incident that the name of the town came to arrive as Paoay.
The first inhabitants might have come from Bombay, India because the early name of the town was Bombay and settlers in the early days usually named the land settlement they found after the name of their country and place of origin. When the settlers from Bombay arrived, they found the Indonesians already making headways in clearing the forests. Later, the more civilized Malays came and they drove the Indonesians away. Some were captured and held slaves to help improve the land settlement. Those who opted to live with the Malays stayed. The two races turned blended that it is now hard to trace the single origin of the early settlers.
To cite the characteristics and traits of its people, Paoayenos (called the people of Paoay) are by nature industrious, thrifty, intrepid, daring, individualistic, peace-loving, adventurous, hospitable, and religious people. :-)

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