From Laoag, we drove to the next town Paoay where internationally acclaimed sites are found. It was only about 30 minutes drive from Museo Ilocos Norte where my driver picked me up. Here are the 4 places you must visit in Paoay.
1.) Malacañang of the North
This palace is almost similar with the grandiose Malacañang Palace in Metro Manila, the Philippine President’s residence. The palace’ backyard overlooking the Paoay lake is also of much similar scenery with the Malacañang Palace in Metro Manila overlooking the Pasig River.
Malacañang of the North was built under President Ferdinand Marcos as a summer palace in his home province Ilocos Norte. Although most of the furnitures are already old, you can still feel its luxurious aura with the help of those grandiose chandeliers located in every room of the palace.
2.) Suba Sand Dunes
This is the widest, longest, safest sand dunes in the Philippines. They offer 4×4 ride, All-terrain vehicle (ATV), and sand boarding activities. I only took the picture of its surrounding area as you have to pay an amount to explore the interior area of the Suba Sand Dunes. The place is also the film location of the award-winning Ang Panday starred by Fernando Poe Jr and Himala starred by Nora Aunor.
3.) Paoay Lake
This lake was once a town. With the super typhoon and an earthquake happening on the same day, the land burst open. An account on this event was written by Reymundo Magisa in a pamphlet entitled ‘Succeso raro de tres volcanos, dos de fuego, y uno de agua que rebentaron a 4 de Enero deste año 1641 a un mismo tiempo en differentes partes de estas Islas Filipinas’
4.) Paoay Church
Paoay Church is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites found in the Philippines. Paoay Church built from 1694-171, is the most outstanding example of earthquake baroque architecture in the Philippines. The coral stone and brick walls are supported by 24 buttresses. It was inscribed as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1993. The massive coral stone bell tower was built half a century later and stands at some distance from the church as protection against damage during earthquakes. Around the church are several points of interest such as the San Agustin Prayer Garden; the Paseo de Paoay which houses restaurants, shops and exhibit halls; Old convent which is an ideal venue for events and functions; and the Arte Luna art gallery.
How to go to Paoay: From Laoag city, you can contact tricycle driver Louie Labuguen. His cellphone number is +639272616977. He offers tours in Paoay for only 600php (if you are a solo traveller) and 700php (if you are a couple). Just consider inflation rate if you will read this article two or more years from its publication date.
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