St. Augustine (Paoay) Church
Paoay Church or better known as St. Augustine Church in Paoay is one of the legacies left by the Augustinian Friars. The church was constructed in 1694 and according to records completed in 1894 through the direction of Fr. Antonio Estavillo. The church is included in the long list of UNESCO World Heritage List and is now a property of the Dioces of Laoag, Ilocos Norte. The design of the church reflects a blend of Gothic, Baroque and Oriental designs and it is referred to as “Earthquake Baroque” since it withstood earthquakes and the harsh element of nature. Baked bricks, coral rocks, “salbot” and lumber made the church sturdy, aside from the fact that it has 24 carved massive buttresses for support. The bell tower which is made from coral stone is separate from the main building for safety purposes, in case it might collapse since it is too big and heavy. In the inside the design bears the seal of Saint Augustine, emblem of the King of Spain and the Pope’s logo. Aside from being one of the Augustinian’s legacies the church plays an important role in Philippine history. It was reported that the bell tower was used by “Katipuneros” in 1896 as an observation post during the Philippine revolution against the Spaniards and years after by Filipino guerrillas against the Japanese during World War II. Indeed the St. Augustine Church not only kept Filipinos together by faith but it also served as refuge for our heroes who dedicated their lives to keep the country free for the new generation to benefit from. I am more than proud of our history and how the mother church protected and kept the Filipinos together! I cannot deny that the church played an important role in the development of this country and the character of Filipinos.