Destinations Magazine

The X&Y; of Paoay

By Killerfillers @killrfillr

The X&Y; of PaoayOn the  penultimate day of our Ilocostrip we jetted around Paoay in our  rented jeep – stopping and snapping to see all the local sights. 
From the shimmering sun to the endless blue sky one would say - it’s a perfect day to  wander around Paoay. We were excited about everything we’re going to that day.  Seated on the front windows down,  I savored the morning breeze that came on our way. The gentle wind somewhat slowly lure me to sleep. Thank heavens  the vast expanse of rice fields and view of a quaint town kept my eyes peeled the entire trip.
I check the time – Eight o’ Five. We’re already in Baranggay Suba. It’s a bit early and we just need to wait awhile ‘til Malacaniang Ti Amianan opens up. By the entrance is a signage of a golf course which made us excited even more.
Just when we were about to step out of the jeep.
“Sorry sir, the museum is closed for today.” said an attentive guard.
The X&Y; of PaoayDarn it! I should have known earlier that the museum is closed on Mondays.
“We’ll just go to Fort Ilocandia instead” said Glen with a tinge of disappointment. Going to the historic hotel wasn’t really part of the plan but we consider going after missing out Malacanang of the North.  It would have been interesting to catch a glimpse of the well preserved Marcos memorabilia. 
We got off on the main road and carry on our journey.  The ride going to Fort Ilocandia was a breeze.  When we got there, we saw the other sand boarding spot of Laoag which is the Suba sand dunes. You’ve probably heard of this activity and I suggest to give it a try when you’re in Laoag.
Being the only 5-Star hotel in the region, it’s probably the grandest of all Ilocos hotels. I never thought it was this big. I love the hotel’s antique façade which is made of local bricks. One of the perks of being early is that there are no other set of people walking around.  We didn’t bother to roam in the entire hotel and just stayed the whole time in the garden.
The X&Y; of PaoayThe X&Y; of PaoayAfter messing around the hotel, we preceded to Paoay Lake. 

The X&Y; of Paoay

a view of Malacanang ti Amianan

What started a sluggish boring day suddenly become a lively  sortie when we arrive at the lake. The sun is starting to unleashed its ferocity as we  rested in a hut for a few minutes while enjoying the beauty and serenity of the lake. What’s also great about it is we also have the view of the Marcoses mansion from the viewing deck.
The X&Y; of Paoay

Legend has it that this famed lake was used to be an affluent town but because of their attachment to material things and wealth. They were eventually punished and the heavy rains eventually submerged the whole town. Some say fishermen have been catching fishes with gold jewelries in their mouth and bodies. It seemed like a plot from one of those Shake-Rattle and Roll series – but this interesting story had been passed from one generation to another.
The finale of our Paoay exploration is a visit to the St. Augustine Church or popularly known as Paoay Church.
The X&Y; of Paoay

A trip to Laoag wouldn’t be complete without a pit stop to this church. I even tried to concealed my excitement when we were about to reached this baroque church. And why not? It’s probably one of the most visited sites in Ilocos Norte. In 1993 it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The X&Y; of Paoay

the 3-storey bell tower of Paoay Church

We hurriedly step out of the jeep and filled with awe when we finally gazed at the 300 year old church. The tranquility of the entire place send forth calmness – it suddenly feels like wedding day for some reason. There were some makeshift ladders blocking the entirety of the façade but that doesn’t stop us from admiring this beautiful church.
The X&Y; of Paoay

Built of baked bricks, tree sap and coral rocks, one of its outstanding features are the massive 25 carved buttresses designed mainly for earthquake protection. Standing tall beside the church is the 3-storey bell tower. In case you’re wandering it was constructed a few meters from the church so that in case the whole church collapse the tower would be spare of such tragedy. Hopefully that thing wouldn’t happen.
The X&Y; of Paoay

I suddenly feel dismayed as we enter the church. Maybe I was just expecting seeing  grand ceiling rather that corrugated metal roofs inside the church. Anyway I can’t blame the people in charge if they change the original roof (probably made of rock corals and the like) for safety reasons.
The X&Y; of Paoay

Herencia Café is still closed at that time, sun in the church background almost creating a silhouette effect on the pictures I’ve taken and with all the ongoing renovation – it wasn’t the perfect time to be here. We still take joy in visiting this heritage site nevertheless. The bell rang louder and louder when eventually leave Paoay.

The X&Y; of Paoay

see you next time Paoay

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