Two of of the most important heritage icons in Ilocos Norte will be restored by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP).
These are the Saint Augustine Church in Paoay and the tower of Bacarra town.
Rene Escalante, Chairman of the NHCP, said a total of 45 million pesos had been earmarked for the twin projects to be started by next year.
The first phase of the Paoay Church restoration covers its buttresses, walls, tower, and interior, while Bacarra tower’s dome will be restored.
The NHCP said the restoration projects should be completed after three years.
“This is an NHCP initiated project. This is not tied up with delisting because whether listed or not, this is part of our national patrimony,” Escalante said.
For both Paoay and Bacarra residents, the restoration project is a welcome development, as it ensures greater appreciation and preservation of some important historical landmarks in the province.
Bacarra Mayor Nicomedes Dela Cruz said the town’s residents were thankful to the NHCP for keeping an eye on the domeless bell tower of Bacarra, which is often under-appreciated.
The old church of Saint Andrew the Apostle, the bell tower and the convent are among the enduring landmarks of the Augustinian Friars who played an important role the rich history of the Ilocanos.
Built in 1593, the church and belfry were destroyed by a 7.8 intensity earthquake in August 1983. This caused the dome to fall down, leading it to be described as the “Dignified Domeless Belltower in Asia”.
Paoay Church, on the other hand, is already a major tourist attraction in the region.
Building of the church was begun in 1694 and completed in 1894. It is made of coral blocks and bricks; and incorporates Gothic, Baroque and Oriental designs.