PAOAY, Ilocos Norte — The San Agustin Church in Paoay began its construction in 1604 and finally completed in 1710. This is one of the most outstanding “earthquake baroque” structure in the Philippines where the primary concern was to design the church for earthquake protection.
The coral stone bell tower, standing at some distance from the church for earthquake protection, was finished in the second half of the 18th century. Philippine bell towers were constructed at a distance from the main church structure to avoid its falling on the church during earthquakes.
The most outstanding feature of the church is the phalanx of buttresses that just out perpendicularly from the sides to strengthen the walls against earthquake damage. It has the most massive buttressing in any church in the Philippines.
Fourteen S-shaped buttresses rise in rhythmic cadence from the ground reaching almost to the roof line. A pyramidal finial triumphantly tops each buttress. The visual impact of the San Agustin church in Paoay is unforgettable.
The Church of San Agustin is a World Heritage Site.