Historical Paoay In Ilocos Norte

Paoay is located in the province of Ilocos Norte and is a place containing some pretty significant early modern and contemporary history.

This was a place favoured by the Marcos family for their summer holidays and home to one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. It is also an area that is prone to earthquakes throughout its colourful history.

Paoay Church

Paoay Church is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the town. Although this site is commonly referred to as the Paoay Church, it’s officially referred to as the Saint Augustine Church.

Its eye-catching design is a definite hit among architecture lovers, while its rich history draws the attention of history lovers from all over the world.

The site of the church itself dates back to 1593, with construction of the current building commencing in 1694 and completed in 1710. This is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The church is part of the group of Baroque Churches of the Philippines.

Suba Sand Dunes

Ilocos is home to two sand dunes; one is located in Laoag while the other is located in Paoay. The Suba Sand Dunes are considered to be the safest in the country, in addition to being the widest and longest.

Visitors can take in the one of a kind views of rolling sands as they explore as much of this area as they can on a 4-wheel drive all-terrain vehicle.

Cost for this is P2,500 for up to 5 people with the adventure lasting for about one hour.

Malacañang of the North

Paoay is home to one of the country’s most controversial presidents, President Ferdinand Marcos; and the Malacañang of the North was his summer and home town residence.

Overlooking Paoay Lake, this grand palace is now open to visitors and still retains its aura of elegance with its old but impressive furniture and grandiose chandeliers in each and every room.

There is an entrance fee of P20 per person and half price for children.

Paoay Lake

Paoay Lake is the largest lake in Ilocos Norte and is one of the largest natural lakes in the region. The Lake was actually formed after a tragic series of natural events. The land on which the lake sits was once a town.

However, the occurrence of a strong earthquake and typhoon, both on the very same day forced the land to give way to the formation of the lake.

Paoay Ilocos Norte

Paoay Church gardens with the church in the background

Paoay Ilocos Norte

San Augustine Church dates back to 1593

Paoay Ilocos Norte

A view of Lake Paoay from Malacañang of the North

Paoay Ilocos Norte

Front view of Malacañang of the North, now a museum

 

How to get there

There are no direct flights to Paoay. The nearest airport is Laoag which is the capital city of the Ilocos Norte region. Philippine Airlines (PAL) fly to Laoag from Manila two times a day with the flight taking approximately one hour.

Manila to Paoay is almost 500kms and will take you around 8 hours if you drive non stop. However, it is recommended to stay overnight along the way. If not, there are a number of places you can stop off along the way to take a quick break which is highly recommended.

If you fly into Laoag, you can take a bus to Paoay which is only about 20 kms and will take about half an hour.

If coming from Manila, there are several bus lines but GV Florida bus lines have a direct trip from Manila to Laoag with a stop Paoay. They have an overnight trip option which is good if you can handle sleeping on buses.

If you don’t have a vehicle, there are plenty of tricycles to get you around Paoay depending exactly where you are and where you want to go.

Dezza´s Tip

If you plan to head to Northern Luzon, I seriously recommend doing it via a road trip. There is no better way to explore this part of the Philippines than by road. From Manila, you can start by stopping off at either La Union or Vigan for a night and then head to Paoay. If you are going to go to this length, then you might as well make Pagudpud the final destination. It wouldn’t be worth visiting Paoay alone so tying it in with a road trip to Pagudpud is the way to go.