Paoay: Malacañang Ti Amianan and Paoay Lake
Paoay in Ilocos Norte has an earthquake baroque church, sand dunes and a famous restaurant. But there are two more sites in this municipality that is also worth mentioning – a presidential mansion and the serene lake that it overlooks.
First up is the Malacañang Ti Amianan or the Malacañang of the North. This was built in 1977 and served as one of the vacation getaways of the Marcoses. There are 9 really huge rooms in the 2-level mansion. Unfortunately, there are only a few furniture left in each room. I wonder what happened to the china, the paintings and everything else that must have been present before. Despite the absence of these, the empty hallways especially the winding staircase still whisper of the former grandeur of the place.
One can only wonder as to how many powerful politicians smoked at the balcony or who were the socialites that dropped by the place or what plans were forged in the late strongman’s bedroom. If only the walls and the capiz-adorned windows could speak, then we could have the answers to these questions and more.
It is now converted as a museum of some sort. For a minimum fee (Php20.00 for adults and Php10.00 for children), curious guests could freely roam inside the mansion and around the property as well. The mansion is open to the public everyday except on Mondays.
The other site is the Paoay Lake. This vast waterform is part of a protected 470 hectare national park by virtue of Republic Act 5631. This was thought to be the location of the missing San Juan de Sahagun. Historical documents reveal that the said pueblo quickly disappeared after a very strong earthquake shook the region in 1641. The village and the mountains nearby were then ‘swallowed’ by the ground. A local legend would attribute the geological event as a punishment for a village that became materialistic and greedy. The science behind it is detailed in another marker plate that can be found near the lake’s viewing deck.
Except for the 4×4 and sandboarding adventures, we got to these other places in Paoay via trikes. The transportation was cheap but all the sights that this humble municipality has to offer are truly priceless.