One would usually associate Paoay with the Paoay Church, also called San Agustin Church, and for good reason — this beautiful architecture that is a showcase of Spanish-era churches in the Philippines is listed as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.
[See also: VisitPinas Itinerary for a 3-day Ilocos Trip]
The town of Paoay in the province of Ilocos Norte, however, cradles another structure that serves as a reminder of the Philippines not-so-distant past, the time when the Marcoses wielded power during Martial Law, ending with his ouster during the EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986.
Former President Ferdinand E. Marcos is a son of Ilocos, so it’s a little wonder why a resthouse would not be constructed to accommodate his family and guests.
Along the lazy shores of Paoay Lake stands an imposing structure that remains true to the old-rich Spanish architecture of the province — the Malacañang of the North, also known in the local dialect as Malacañang ti Amianan.
I’m not really sure of the P10-entrance fee is enough to maintain the place, but I must say, without going into details, that there seems to be a lack the care that befits this beautiful building. Still, the structure-turned-museum looks impressive despite the lapse of time. It is made of solid hardwood, the kind that grows more beautiful as elements of nature pound on a daily basis.
Save the voice of visitors and the constant crowing of fighting cocks nearby, it’s a silent place. It probably wasn’t like this. I wouldn’t know how the former residents of this place spend their vacation here, but a speedboat or a jetski wouldn’t look bad on the lake (plus, it’s just beside the golf course). The entire place must have been buzzing with activity, back when it was still used as originally intended. This once-bastion of power is now a museum, open to anyone who can pay the entrance fee. Nothing lasts forever.