ILOCOS NORTE | UNESCO World Heritage Site in Paoay


Aside from the heritage village of Vigan, another town in Ilocos Norte is known for having a baroque church enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This town is no other than Paoay in Ilocos Norte with the World Heritage Site of San Agustin Church of Paoay, commonly known as the Paoay Church.


The baroque church at different perspectives.

One of the oldest churches in the land, the Parish was founded by the Augustinian missionaries in 1593. The cornerstone of the church was laid off in 1704 with the convent and tower in 1707 and 1793 respectively. It was used before completion and kept in repair by the people under the joint auspices of the church and the town officials. The inauguration of the church was held on February 28, 1896. Former President Marcos declared it as a national treasure and was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1993.

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Buttresses that support the church.

Known for being an “Earthquake Baroque”, the church has these 24 buttresses that support its structure during earthquakes. It is also famous for its unique Gothic, Baroque and Oriental design. The façade presents a resemblance of Gothic with the gables showing Chinese elements and topping off the walls confirms the Javanese influence.

Three-storey bell tower few meters away from the church.

A few meters away from the church is the bell tower that was used as an observation post of the Katipuneros during the revolution and by the Guerillas during the Japanese occupation. The ring of the bell was also believed to be a status symbol in the past since it would ring more during the wedding of a well-known clan than it would in a wedding of a poor.

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The peaceful and solemn ambiance inside the Paoay Church.


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