To say The Philippines has some amazing sites to see is certainly an understatement. I remember back shortly before I began travelling the country I would sit back and browse through hundreds of travel sites. I would be searching through the seemingly endless amount of pictures of all the treasures found in this country.
One distinct site which seemed always to arise was a towering structure covered in plant growth; which looked like it would be at home in a Lord of The Rings movie. This structure is the Paoay Church, one of only a handful of baroque inspired churches built during the Spanish reign of the country.
The construction of this pyramid-like structure dates all the way back to 1694 when work began on the site. The project went on for almost two decades but resulted in one of the countries treasures which remains standing centuries later.
Paoay church was intentionally built to last, with 24 buttresses installed to reinforce the coral block and baked brick structure. Even the bell tower was moved from the traditional position of being attached to the church. This was done to decrease the chance of debris from the tower damaging the primary structure in the event of an earthquake.
The church has a been a part of many culturally significant moments throughout its history. Despite it being a home for the countries primary religion, Roman Catholicism it was also used as a base for the Katipuneros during the time of Philippine revolt against the Spanish. It was also used to house guerrilla fighters who were facing the Japanese invasion during World War II.
The cultural significance of this site was recognised when it was named a UNESCO world heritage site. It is now one of the prominent tourist attractions found in Northern Luzon. Although a trip to the site from Manila may take as long as 10 hours, this is only one of many breathtaking attractions located in Northern Luzon.
Flights to the province of Ilocos Norte are available. But if you have the time it is recommended to go by bus or car to see all the sites along the way. Visit the mountain city of Baguio, see the beaches of LA Union or visit the Spanish themed Vigan city.