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Church of San Agustin at Paoay

Saint Augustin Paoay

  • The Church of San Agustin at Paoay is an Augustinian Church completed in 1710 after 16 years of construction. It is listed as a World Heritage Site ( 1993 ) and is designated as one of the finest examples of Baroque Churches in the Philippines. It is also a fine example of what is termed ''Earthquake Baroque  architecture, also seen in South America whereby European Baroque was modified to combat earthquakes in these ''New World'' countries. San Augustin Church Paoay has also been declared a Philippines National treasure in recognition of its architectural style and cultural value.
  • The uniqueness of San Augustin Paoay centers on its facade and proceeds to the side buttresses and the ''chevaliers'' and ''Chinese clouds'' carved on the massive back wall. It is the prototype of ''earthquake Baroque in the Philippines.
  • The Church is massive yet simple in design. There is a a large and rectangular structure divided by pilasters and an architrave into smaller rectangular compartments which pursue a vertical movement.
  • 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 are 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.
  • Paoay is at the very north west of Luzon and off the path of most tourists. The town settlement has records back to 1593  and became an Augustinian parish in 1686.