Monday, October 11, 2010

Paoay Church [My World-Tuesday]

@ mirandablue
I believe this is the most popular church in Ilocos Norte.  I first heard of Paoay Church in the 80's when Irene Marcos, former president Marcos' daughter, had her wedding in an old church in Ilocos Norte.  Not in this church, but that fairy-tale wedding brought forth the beautiful churches of Ilocos to the public's attention.  

@ mirandablue
Found in the town of Paoay, approximately 470 kilometers north of Manila is Paoay Church or Saint Augustine Church.  Built in 1704 under the initiative of Augustinian priests, the church was completed in 1710, the bell tower in 1793.  The church was built of coral blocks, stucco-plastered bricks, salbot (tree sap) and lumber, bound together by mortar--a mixture of sand and lime with sugarcane juice. 

A unique combination of Gothic, baroque and oriental architecture, the style has been dubbed an "Earthquake Baroque" because of its massive 24 carved buttresses flanking the sides and rear facades.  Large coral stones were used for the lower level and bricks on the upper level--the walls are 1.67 meters thick made of the same materials (reminds me of 1.618 meters--the golden ratio, the mathematical formula for beauty :p). The builders made sure that the church would be a safe refuge that could withstand natural calamities.  A few meters away is a 3-storey coral stone bell tower.  The bell tower served as an observation post of the Katipuneros during the 1896 revolution against the Spaniards, and  by Filipino guerillas during the Japanese occupation in World War II. 

President Marcos declared Paoay Church as a national treasure and it was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.

@ mirandablue

@ mirandablue
Compared to its impressive exterior,  I was surprised that the interior of the church---especially the altar, was simple and almost austere.  I was expecting a stunningly carved retablo, beautiful antique religious icons, and a painted ceiling similar to that of the Sistine Chapel.

At the doorway, we met a man (a Knights Templar, according to my sister :p) who gave us a brief history of this church, and pointed me to good vantage points to take photographs.  He said that four generations of his family have been serving this church.  Our Knights Templar confirmed that the original ceiling was indeed painted with murals but it was destroyed a long time ago.  He added  that the ceiling would soon be replaced---UNESCO gave the parish 5 million pesos (or about US$100,000) for the rehabilitation of the church and grounds.

@ mirandablue
Viewed from the right side, these giant buttresses reminded me of a Javanese temple.  
@ mirandablue
Fr. Pedro Galende, director of San Agustin Museum in Intramuros 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 or Gothic, neither European nor Mexican, but authentically Filipino."

@ mirandablue

Posted for My World-Tuesday


escape said...

the first shot shows how gigantic it is! beautiful! one of my favorite churches in the country.

Sylvia K said...

What a gorgeous, fascinating old church! Thanks for the history as well as your terrific photos! Wonderful look at your world, as always! Hope you have a great week!


Louis la Vache said...

«Louis» always finds posts about churches to be interesting. For years he has been fascinated with church architecture.

Unknown said...

this is a magnificent church, i love to visit this church one day.

Photo Cache said...

That is one impressive church and I've seen it covered by other bloggers, too. This must be one of the popular churches in the country.

Did you feel welcomed when you entered the church?

You know at San Sebastian Church - the first time I saw it, my first reaction to its Gothic facade was COLD. It was cold, but when I entered the church, I felt the warmth of its welcome. It's one of the most homey churches I've visited.

Viola said...

Such an extraordinary church fom outside, fascinating! Nice inside as well.. :)

genie said...

I have traveled all over but NEVER have I seen anything as beautiful as this. It is an amazing structure. The buttresses are magnificent as well as the entire church. Oh, would I love to come there to visit it in person. You have brought its look and its history alive for me through your fantastic shots. Thanks SO much for all the effort you put into this post.

Unknown said...

what a wonderful post. Your pictures are wonderful...they really transport me to a beautiful place.

Unknown said...

@ Photo Cache, i don't remember feeling cold or warm when i visited this church. but the most homey church i've been to is the Paco Church--probably because it's small and intimate, and la saint-chapelle in Paris.:p

Sidney said...

I think it deserves to be on the top 10 of the most beautiful churches list.

It is a stunning church... and you were able to capture its beauty!

Clarissa said...

Gosh,amazing shots!You captured them well!

Gattina said...

How very interesting ! Thanks for this tour !

Lavender and Vanilla Friends of the Gardens said...

The church looks like hewn from a rock. Its architecture is striking mingling different cultures. I like the interior very much. I think it looks just right for this fortress church. Thank you for showing this wonder of your world.

Anonymous said...

Your wonderful photos have captured the magic of this stunning church.

Carver said...

The church is so beautiful. I love stone and this old Church is wonderful. Great information and photography.

Gwendolyn L said...

This is a wonderful post. I really like seeing and reading about the local spots of interest. This is very special as well as beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

BraCom said...

What a gorgeous, fascinating old church.

RE: are these real mushrooms?
Yes they are real, not edible, they are poisonous

antigonum cajan said...

It is rare, indeed to observe nature, vegetation sharing structures in such a way.

Congratulations. That has to be one of the best looking churches
I have ever seen.

Francisca said...

Wow, this is the kind of post that makes blogging such a treasure. You've done an amazing piece of artistic work... the history, the photos. Thank you.

maiylah said...

i actually visited this church in the 80's during a field trip and it was in a sorry state then; am glad it's being renovated. i wish they'd restore everything to how it really looked back then. :)

Anonymous said...

It's a beautiful church, looking almost like a natural feature with the moss growing on the outside.