February 2, 2011

C is for Church

One of the most distinctive experiences I’ve enjoyed in my travels is a private dinner on the front steps of a church. And not just any church, but the gorgeous Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte, the northernmost province in the Philippines.

Ilocos Norte, 2010

Known also as San Agustín of Paoay, it is one of four churches built by the Spanish in the late 16th century that was placed on the Unesco World Heritage list in 1993 for its unusual style of architecture. A fusion of Oriental, Gothic and Baroque influences created unique structures characterized by a separate bell-tower and strong buttresses able to withstand repeated earthquakes.

As described on the UNESCO site:
The Church of San Agustín at Paoay is the most outstanding example in the Philippines of 'Earthquake Baroque'. Fourteen buttresses are ranged along the lines of a giant volute supporting a smaller one and surmounted by pyramidal finials. A pair of buttresses at the midpoint of each nave wall have stairways for access to the roof. The lower part of the apse and most of the walls are constructed of coral stone blocks, the upper levels being finished in brick, but this order is reversed on the facade. The massive coral stone bell tower, which was added half a century after the church was completed, stands at some distance from the church, again as a protection against damage during earthquakes.


 
Construction of the church started in 1704 and was completed in 1894 by the Augustinian friars. The bell tower next to the church dates to 1793 and served as an observation point of the Katipuneros during the Philippine Revolution in 1896 and later by the guerrillas during the Japanese occupation.

It’s no wonder Paoay Church was also declared a national treasure.

As you can see from the photos, we arrived at the church after the sun was down, and while our party explored the grounds, the lights were turned on and the tables were set up for us. It was just a few days after Christmas, so the tree was still standing.



This post is linked with ABC Wednesday where the letter of the week is C. Go check out how other interesting C posts.

33 comments:

Nanka said...

Interesting and the architecture too!!

richies said...

What an amazing Church! Thanks for the history

An Arkies Musings

tapirgal said...

This is fantastic, and deserves more study. As you know, I'm trying to get out of here at the moment. . . .

Sylvia K said...

What a terrific post for the C Day, Francisca! Fascinating history of such an incredible building/cathedral! Magnificent! Hope you're enjoying a great week!

Sylvia

Jedediah said...

I have never seen anything quite like it. Beautiful architecture.

Dina said...

The whole scene seems unreal.

Cezar and Léia said...

I've enlarged the first shot and wowwwwww thanks so much for the big size, the Church is magnificent!
And your post really wonderful!
Léia :)

Kay L. Davies said...

What an amazing place to have dinner, Francisca. You never cease to amaze me.
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Andy said...

Francisca... your photo brought out the visual beauty of the church. Great work.

Pat Tillett said...

If I had the money and the time, I'd love to see (in person) all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites.
This one is amazing...thanks for sharing the photos and story.

jennyfreckles said...

"Earthquake Baroque" - that's a new one! It looks fantastic all floodlit like that.

photowannabe said...

Wow, what an exciting place to dine. Beautiful and I love the term Earthquake Baroque.

Roger Owen Green said...

seriously cool church.

On behalf of the ABC Wednesday team, Thank you! ROG

Tumblewords: said...

What a beautiful experience you shared. An absolute delight to read and see.

Wanda said...

Very interesting read. I almost used "Church" for my C.

☺lani☺ said...

This church reminds me of my college days when we were there for regional meet. I would like to visit again :)
Happy Midweek!

Ebie said...

Though the sun may have set, I could still the glow of its rays shinning through.

This is a beautiful dinner reception under the great blue skies.

fredamans said...

Beautiful structure and shots!

http://fredamans.blogspot.com/2011/02/abc-wednesday-c-is-for-countryside.html

Ann said...

when I read your first statement, a private dinner, I was wondering how you stop outsiders from getting the food. Your last photo explained it, it is a sit down dinner.

Our museum has buffet dinners on their outside, and I suspect, some people just mingle and pretend to be a guest.

T. Becque said...

Wow, that is really, really gorgeous. The architecture and hue is wonderful to see.

EG Wow said...

Very nice photos of this church, Francisca! The lights on the church are very pretty.

I guess earthquakes must be fairly common there.

Gattina said...

That's a special church, beautiful !
Gattina
ABC team

chubskulit said...

I haven't been there but I've learned some things about it through social studies hehehe.

C is for Crystallized Twigs, please come and see.

Kim, USA said...

I've never been there too and I so love to visit that place. Love your shots!
ABC Wednesday

Jacob said...

This is a very unique building - strange, even, but quite beautiful in its own way. Fascinating history also - thank you for that.

It is much easier to appreciate this church if one enlarges the photo!

And such a lovely dinner. I was waiting for an invitation, but it never came. ;-) Oh well, maybe next time.

Glad to hear things are gong well for you and yours!

Jacob said...

Me again...answering your questions re the horse on Ocala DP. I don't know of any painted cows in Ocala. I've read of where different cities have done a similar thing with different animals...and cows were included.

Wire to Wire - I dunno. Could be a horse breeding magazine or a horse breeding organization of some kind. If I get back there, I'll ask...

VP said...

I admit that I didn't know that Earthquake Baroque existed, but this church is obviously a pleasant surprise!

Andrea said...

Those are awesome photos at unique moments of Paoay Church. I have seen this in the morning with a wedding entourage in front, however the views at night are more dramatic.

TheChieftess said...

Beautiful church!!! And what a colorful bio/history you have!!!

Oakland Daily Photo said...

The architecture is quite striking. It has a Mayan feel to it, don't you think?

Leslie: said...

What a wonderful post - beautiful church! :D

Leslie
ABCW Team

jabblog said...

What a magical place to have dinner - an experience not to be forgotten.
(By the way, you were curious about my choice for C - I'm trying to cover this round of ABCW with military items - battles, famous or infamous leaders and so on. It helps having a husband who is interested and quite knowledgeable about military history.)

JM said...

Beautiful photos! My favourite is the repetition composition on the left.