MANILA, March 15, 2011â€” The provincial government of Ilocos Norte announced a plan to restore an ancient church, considered one of the regionâ€™s major attractions.
The renovation of the St. Augustine Church or Paoay Church, also include the towns of San Nicolas and Currimao and the cities of Laoag and Batac for tourism purposes.
Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos said the project aims that the province becomes the countryâ€™s â€œnorthern gateway.â€
â€œWe have a lot of potential tourist attraction to be developed, enriched and appreciated, and to be enjoyed,â€ the PIA-1 quoted Marcos as saying in an article March 9.
She said known architect Felino Palafox was tapped to design a tourism plan that would consolidate Paoayâ€™s existing infrastructures surrounding Paoay Church like the plaza, the ruins of the Catholic convent and the frontage of a state-run university.
â€œTourism is the largest industry in the world, bigger than oil,â€ Palafox had said when he agreed to come up with a tourism design for Ilocos Norte.
A commercial arcade, which would feature the townâ€™s unique products, along a stretch of the road lining the Paoay Church will also rise to generate more tourist activities.
Construction of Paoay Church was started by the Augustinian friars in 1694. Led by Fr. Antonio Estavillo, it was completed in 1894 and was re-dedicated in the same year.
During the revolution in 1898, its coral stone bell tower was used by the Katipuneros as an observation post.
Paoay Church is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is currently a property of the Diocese of Laoag, Ilocos Norte. [CBCPNews]