Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Touring the oldest churches in the Philippines


 Paoay Church
The Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte, 460 km north of Manila, has a few things in common with the San Agustin Church in Intramuros—its apparent indestructibility, its construction at the hands of the Augustinian Friars, and its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (being one of the four Baroque Churches of the Philippines recognized by the organization).

First built in 1694, Paoay Church survived earthquakes and invasions due to the robust design that gave birth to the term "earthquake Baroque": 24 impregnable coral-stone buttresses hold up the church, preserving it during strong earthquakes and creating a graceful façade that you'll find on no other church in the country. The decorative elements throughout the church betray influences from Chinese and even Javanese sources.

The bell tower is built apart from the church, so as to avoid damaging the latter should the former collapse. The tower also served as an observation post for Filipino rebels during the Spanish and Japanese occupation of the country. (Photo by Harvey Tapan)

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