News & Insights

Palafox Goes Back to Ilocos Norte

In celebration of our anniversary, we visited Ilocos Norte last July 7-9 to recharge, reset, and get our best ready for another year. Back in 2016, Palafox also went to Ilocos Norte for its company outing.

We explored the iconic windmills at the Burgos Wind Farm, lounged at Saud Beach — one of the most beautiful beaches in the world by US Magazine Travel and Leisure — enjoyed the sunset at the La Paz Sand Dunes in Laoag City, strolled on the cobblestone streets of Vigan, and visited the centuries-old Paoay Church, a UNESCO Heritage Site. 


Saint Augustine Church, commonly known as the Paoay Church

In 2011, our Founder and Principal Architect Felino “Jun” Palafox, Jr. was tapped by the Government of Ilocos Norte to help them develop the town of Paoay, among others, as a tourism center and the province as the gateway to the North. Thus, the birth of the Metro Ilocos Norte Tourism Master Plan.

The Tourism Plan maximized the potential of the province and specifically developed selected towns and cities including Paoay.

Back then, the plaza had a perimeter fence obstructing views to and from the church. Although there were gardens, walkways, souvenir shops, and other activities adjacent and leading to it, these places were disconnected from each other, which not only wasted the whole Paoay Church Complex’s potential but even obstructed the church’s beauty. 

The Master Plan recommended enhancing landscaping features; creating a safe environment by bringing down walls and reorienting buildings to face the plaza; and providing pedestrian activities such as arcaded walkways, seats, lights, and directional and wayfinding signages.

PALAFOX envisioned the Paoay Town Plaza and the whole Paoay Church Complex to be lively and dynamic where friends and families could gather at the courtyard to socialize, where visitors could visit comfortably with appropriate parking and public transport, and where tourists could take pictures and buy souvenirs on shaded walkways to take to their hometowns. 

More than a decade later, the Paoay Church Complex is prospering. Our recommendation to bring down the walls opened the complex to more retail shops and restaurants. Purposeful open spaces allowed transient vendors selling ice cream and other trinkets. We also studied the church’s Baroque vernacular style of architecture where our proposed buildings and structures would take inspiration from. The complex is now more airy and bright as it welcomes locals and tourists in awe of the church’s beauty.