"Quite strange that a church where the religion of the people rests and focused is the recipient of a multicultural influence that even Buddhist influences, Chinese and others have played a part of its existence."

The charm and grandeur is really pleasing to the beholder's eye but behind the elating architectural beauty is an interesting mixture of different cultures and beliefs.

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A church in the north and a living testimony of the rich culture of the Ilocanos and on how the Ilocanos can adapt to different cultures and blend them as one in the face of one structure for the religion, the Paoay Church, or formally known as the St. Augustine Church.
Quite strange that a church where the religion of the people rests and focused is the recipient of a multicultural influence that even Buddhist influences, Chinese and others have played a part to its existence.
That what makes Paoay Church a national treasure as declared by former president Ferdinand Marcos who was born in the same province where the church is located [Ilocos Norte].
The belfry is impressively massive and the most interesting feature in this belfry is that it is made up of coral stones and it is located few meters away from the church. In 1898, during a Philippine revolution, this bell tower made of coral stones was used by the Katipuneros as an observation post as well by the guerrillas during Japanese invasion to the Philippines. It was not just for religious purposes but it was also used as an asset for war, an event that the church discourages. However this war is a symbol of Filipino patriotism that can never be compared to any other county but the thing is, a church is helping somebody to pursue a war, very ironic isn't it? Paoay church is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Sta. Maria Church which is also located in Ilocos. The church is currently, under the property of the Diocese of Laoag, Ilocos Norte. The Augustinian friars in 1694 started the construction of the church and was completed in 1894 - that is 200 years in the making! Imagine that!
The bell tower of the church, according to historians, was also a status symbol of people in the area and the bell tower rings louder when a wedding by a prominent clan is happening and for those poor people, it rings less loud.
The system was part of the society and this system is a thing that the church also discourages because the church today promotes equality between the rich and the poor. First it was a tool for a war for patriotism and this one, a reflection of social hierarchy and inequality.
In fact, during an excavation that was done inside the church in 2000, a prehistoric human skeleton and fragmented ceramics were discovered. The remains were now housed at the National Museum.
The church was made of baked bricks, coral rocks, salbot (tree sap) and lumber. Massive buttresses 24 in quantity support the church and that was the architectural solution for a church located in a typhoon-prone area.
This church truly has a lot of twists that can never be compared to any other church in the world and truly the worth of this church is of a universal value being listed in the UNESCO. It needs to be protected and be preserved because it is a pride and an emblem of culture and history in this northern part of the Philippine Archipelago.
In Fr. Pedro Galende's book, he described the massiveness of the structure is balanced by its grace and fluidity. The church adapts the pyramidal design of the baroque style. Its details are inspired from by seal of Saint Agustine, the emblem of the king of Spain, the logo of the Pope, the “init-tao” or the sun god, and stylized Chinese clouds. In a certain distance away from the church, the belfry rises with glory and magnificence in term of beauty and architecture. The three-storey coral-made tower is a witness and evidence of the rich culture and history of the place that has survived the wars, natural calamities and the evil plans of those who had in bad faith.
What makes it multicultural is that the design is a mixture of Chinese, Javanese, European, local and other influences like Buddhism, Chinese, the Earthquake Baroque architecture and Ilocano. The church has given me a sense of national pride and a puzzle in mind because of conflicting interests which all happened in that one structure, The culture, the war cry, the social status, the patriotism and name them, they all happened under the vicinity of one structure and that is the Paoay Church.
SPEAK YOUR HEART OUT. C'MON! DON'T BE SHY. I PROMISE TO REPLY EXCEPT FOR TROLLS.

Axact

EDMAR GUQUIB

Born and Raised in Vigan, Philippines. Hardcore Ilocano. Genuine Bigueño. Sucker of Long Land Trips. Loves the Highlands. Professional Nurse on Weekdays. Coffee Addict. Travel Blogger in Between. For sponsorship, advertising, event invites and collaborations email me at edmaration@gmail.com.

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