Friday, July 25, 2008

Roaming Ilocos: Paoay Arrival Scene

The jeep ride from Batac was as short as something like just 10 minutes. But what did I expect since that is just about 4 kilometers away. Probably the nice plains and the views of Mariano Marcos State University main campus consumed me that on arrival at Paoay, I thought I did not want it to happen yet hehe! Probably too I was having so much fun making faces with the son of the driver sitting on his mother’s lap between me and the driver! Ah, everytime I would aim the camera at the kid his face would become serious but curious! And we were all laughing because even his parents couldn’t make the cute little kid smile at my cam. Maybe he was afraid the camera would spurt something out to his face whehehehehe!

But there I was and the driver asked if I wanted to get off near the church. I said yes, and he said it was better to get off where we were (he stopped) as he was heading left towards the municipal hall and market. So, okay, I jumped out from my front seat! Said buh-bye to the kid and he was grinning and making faces. But when I aimed the camera, this time still grinning, he buried his face on his mom’s chest. Arkh! So I finally waved at all of them goodbye. Oh, this was back of the church (meaning back of the altar) so I started walking towards front where a big big lawn fronts the church.

Nice walk but I must admit I have never seen this part of the town/church in my previous visits. Thanks to rented vans that deliver you straight to front of where you want to go. So I was thankful I visited via an enjoyable commute. While I walked, I mused at the great structure that the old convent must have been. Yes, all of it in ruins now… and yes too, I have learned about it from wikimapia but OMG looking around its present ‘ruined splendour’ gave me an indication that this place must have been a great spacious abode of the priests. Nice of them to have retained the ruins – for nostalgia purposes probably!

Well, what with your church being declared by the UNESCO as a world heritage site? You have to live up to the label, right? So there I saw, the most interestingly appropriate public comfort room I have ever seen in my life. It jives with the form and color of the grandiose old church! Whoa and wow! It sits just front of the old convent ruins to the left of the bell tower across the concrete pathway. At first glance, I actually was attracted to it thinking it was the remaining portion of the ruined convent. But good I saw the post with signage indicating it was nothing but a comfort room… yes ‘rest room’, ‘powder room’, ‘CR’, ‘toilets’, ‘palikuran’, ‘otearai’, ‘the john’ whatever hehe!

Front of this ‘CR’ is a wide concrete parking space but there is a structure that caught my attention because I couldn’t make what it was or what for. Is it something that the church uses for Easter activities? If so, I thought that was too low. Then again, who says it has to be that tall like how they do it in Caramoan, Tubigon or elsewhere? Then again, I was/am not sure what the thing is for really! Maybe too it is/was made to hang a big church bell? Now that would be too low… unless the bell is supposedly for display purposes esp if it is an ancient one. But wherefore ist thou bell? The structure looks like it really can support a big bell but where is it? Ninakaw? Ah someone please tell me what that is! My my… the rigors of roaming around without the benefit of a tour guide :)

Then there was the MMSU’s College of Industrial Technology – Paoay Campus. Outright I will be brave to declare it looks ugly! Yep, in comparison with the bulky look of the church (and even the public comfort room)! The school’s building, though sturdy am sure, has thin posts and looks lanky because it sits right in the compound of a fat and squat ancient church (and new comfort room hehe)! But at least there probably has been an attempt to merge in with the surroundings by using red faux brick tiles (that is even already chipping off) at its fence, gate and parts of the building! In addition, as if to complete my ugly picture, that cranky looking light-blue jeep won’t move away and I waited minutes hoping it would move on and disappear! Did NOT! Grrr!

Hah, this is just one side of the area surrounding the enormous Paoay church and generally the things one would see upon arrival by commuting from Batac! So let’s get nearer the church, shall we? That’s in my next entry!

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