Ilocos Norte: Paoay

About two hours away from Vigan is Paoay, a relatively more laidback town. The quaint and quiet town is a far cry from the loud city vibe of the southern one.

Paoay Church

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Look at that sunrise!

The town is home to the Paoay Church; a declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in 1710, it withstood the test of time, political turmoil, and natural calamities that befell the region.

I watched the sun rise behind the colossal St. Augustine Church. Though the sun made it quite difficult for me to take a great photo of the church, it made me realize that it was definitely more entertaining to savor the moment than to take snaps of it. (But I still tried to take shots for this blog)

Paoay Church

A majestic view of the Paoay Church

A peek into the church’s side reveals a column of huge buttresses that supports the whole structure. Should any earthquakes occur, the buttresses will help the Paoay Chruch remain in tact.

Sand Dunes
A 15-minute drive leads to another popular Paoay destination – the Sand Dunes. Those who want to see the vast sand space need to ride a 4×4 vehicle first.

4x4 vehicles in Paoay

Parked 4x4s in the sand

As I hopped into the vehicle, I was a bit unsure of what to expect. Souvenir shirts in the 4×4’s parking area read, “I survived the Paoay Sand Dunes.” My initial reaction was, “What? It’s just sand??? The most extreme thing that could happen is when so much sand gets into your eye, right?” But, when the vehicle finally entered the sand area, my heart started beating fast.

The Paoay Sand Dunes was a vast space filled with dunes of various sizes. Small dunes were the first onew the vehicle drove on. Then came the tall ones. Driving to each peak made me hold my breath; I was scared the 4×4 might topple down because it’s driving on sand. But, the downward slopes made me hold really tight to the metal handrails.


The driver stopped on high peaks which gave me the view of the ocean not too far away. Eventually, the vehicle brought me near the ocean! It was early in the morning and fishermen just docked their banca after the morning catch.

Sand Boarding

Are you brave enough to try sand boarding?



Another adventure in this already exhilarating one is sand boarding. Using wooden planks, people get a chance to slide down a slope of sand. It can be done standing or sitting; whichever is more comfortable to you. A photo of you cruising the slope is a perfect souvenir of the experience.

After about an hour of going around the dunes, the vehicle finally headed back to its area. I caught a glimpse of the souvenir shirt with the caption and smiled.

More places to be explored in Ilocos Norte in my next post!


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