UNESCO World Heritage Site: San Agustin Church in Paoay, Ilocos Norte

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One of the most photographed Philippine churches is the San Agustin Church in Paoay, Ilocos Norte. How could it not be? Its magnificent facade was intricately designed, its 14 huge buttresses are impregnable, its imposing tower is colossal.

Paoay Church When the parish of Paoay was established by the Augustinian Recollects in 1593, it took more than a century for the church’s cornerstone to be laid (1704). Three years later, the convent was started; the tower in 1793. Paoay Church was formally inaugurated on February 28, 1896. It was used before it was completed with continuous repairs and renovations were made in the intervening years.

The bell tower, meanwhile, was used by the Katipuneros during the Philippine Revolution and by the guerillas during the Second World War II.

Paoay ChurchThe most outstanding example in the Philippines of Earthquake Baroque, the Church of San Agustin was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site during the 17th Session of the World Heritage Committee in Cartagena, Colombia from December 6 to 11, 1993.

Like the Ilocos Norte Sand Dunes, the Church of San Agustin was also a favorite shooting location of the late king of Philippine cinema, Fernando Poe, Jr.

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