UNESCO hunters at work.
Nothing beats the fun of traveling with people who share the same passion as you, and in this case, I am lucky to experience it with 2 travel bloggers from Philippines - Gael and Edgar. Both a passionate travelers as well as bloggers. And this trip, they hosted me so well that I am forever indebted to them, taking me as far as Pagudpud (Northern most of Luzon Island) and proudly introducing me to their UNESCO sites. And I am very fortunate to have 2 extremely experience "tour guide" with me that knows the history very well plus a good photographer. I feel blessed.
Being an avid UNESCO hunter (or so I claimed myself to be, hahhahahahhaa...), they took me to San Agustin Church or Paoay Church as our first UNESCO stop (means there are more than 1, tunggu....).
The Paoay Church interior.
Located in Ilocos Norte, Paoay Church was completed in 1710 is a Roman Catholic parish church and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993; one of the best examples of the Baroque Churches in the Philippines. There are 4 baroque churches in the Philippines, namely San Agustin Church in Manila, Santa Maria Church in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur, San Agustin Church in Paoay, Ilocos Norte and Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Church in Miag-ao, Iloilo.
I managed to cover 3 sites during this trip, next round will be Ilo-Ilo, yipee.....!
Edgar lighting the votive candles.
You can get souvenirs and fridge magnets at the nearby shop, mostly will be of Paoay Church, Bangui Windmill and Ilocos Norte. There are few things I noticed too, they kept thinking that I am a local (we Asians look alike somehow - padahal satu apa pun I tak paham), the further you are out from the cosmopolitan the friendlier the locals are and that there are so many interesting places to see especially out of Manila. The trick is, get to know a local, be their friend and travel with them; the Philippines will awe you. Be prepared to be overwhelmed.
Its distinctly highlight the Earthquake Baroque architecture, due to the Philippines seismic condition. In other words, Paoay Church is the result of earthquakes frequency that the local experience which destroyed earlier churches throughout the country. I will share another interesting church in Manila that was made out of metal which share the same purpose or reason as Paoay Church.
I also learn that there are 2 major influencers to this church, from Chinese architecture which was reflected by the large gables and the other was from Javanese architecture, focusing on the pillar niches and buttresses. A bell tower standing next to the church was also used as observation post of the Katipuneros during the revolution and by the Guerillas during the Japanese occupation in World World II.