Opinion > Guiangster
Know the brief history of Paoay & its founder Don Martin Guiang

Written by Ilocos Sentinel posted on Monday, April 23rd, 2012

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All roads lead to Paoay, Ilocos Norte this coming week as this historic town begins today, April 29, 2012 to usher in its annual town fiesta celebration. Its main celebration falls on Saturday, May 5, feast of patron saint– St. Augustine………. My fellow Paoayenos led by town Mayor Bobby Clemente are extremely grateful and thankful to Gov. Imee R. Marcos for adopting “Paoay Kumakaway” as Ilocos Norte’s punch line in its tourism promotional blitz in Manila and abroad thru the tri-media and internet……….. Owing to this slogan “Paoay Kumakaway”, this Ilocos Norte town famous for its centuries-old Paoay Church now listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site, has gained high-profile popularity here and abroad………. To give our dear readers an insight about Paoay town, this column Guiangster proudly presents the following article jointly written by yours truly and my younger brother Alexander R. Guiang, a harvard graduate now residing in California, USA. The said article was posted in the original Guiang Clan Website which was created by my brother Alex several years ago before the onset of Friendster, Facebook and twitter:


Paoay is a historic town of Ilocos, Norte – a northern province of the Philippines. Geographically, Ilocos Norte is located at the northern tip of Luzon Island. It is a 45-minute flight or 8-hour drive from the Philippines’ capital city of Manila. The people of Paoay speak Ilocano dialect as their native language. English and the national Filipino language tagalog are the medium of instruction in school.

Paoay’s former name was Bombay. Its site was originally located in the village of Callaguip – along the coastal shores of the South China Sea – now a barrio of Paoay, which is about two kilometers west of the present town proper.

Historians say: “From the date of early settlement to 1701, little could be said about the activities of the early settlers of Paoay except that much had been done in the clearing of the forests nearby. They converted the forests into rice and sugar lands through the slash-and-burn method called ‘kaingin.’ The early settlers were of a peace-loving tribe, but their major problem was the frequent furious incursions of Sea Rovers and Moro pirates called Tirong who looted indiscriminately their agricultural produce and other valuables. To protect themselves from further incursions, the folks moved towards the nearby inland where the present town proper is now located. In the farther western inland, there were also settlers who formed the neighboring town of Batac. Sensing that the Bombay people had suffered too much from the Moro raids, the people of Batac offered the people of Bombay to live with them. But the brave and maverick folks rejected the offer and instead they uttered “Maka-paoay kami” – an Ilocano dialect jargon meaning they could live independently. The settlers from Batac were offended and it was from this incident that the name of the town came to arrive as PAOAY.”

“The first inhabitants might have come from Bombay, India because the early name of the town was Bombay and settlers in the early days usually named the land settlement they found after the name of their country and place of origin. When the settlers from Bombay arrived, they found the Indonesians already making headways in clearing the forests. Later, the more civilized Malays came and they drove the Indonesians away. Some were captured and held slaves to help improve the land settlement. Those who opted to live with the Malays stayed. The two races turned blended that it is now hard to trace the single origin of the early settlers.”

“The last two settlers established their permanent homes at the present site of the town proper because the location was best suited for their personal convenience and protection from the marauders. Hence, the site was accessible to the barrios where they cleared for farming, namely: Burit, Monte, Paratong, Tamurong, Tigui, Madamcao, Baramban, Lang -Ayan, Lioes, Tarangutong, Lubbot, Currimao, Gaang, Pias, Maglaoi, Anggapang, Comcomloong, Dalayab, Puritac, Cubol, Burayoc, Nagtriguan, Ullaleng, Buangga, Cabaruan, Tugay, Maburiac, Liliputen, and Sacritan. Most of these barrios are now adjudicated to the towns of Pinili, Currimao, and Batac which became municipalities in 1920 and 1921, respectively.”

To cite the characteristics and traits of its people, Paoayenos (called the people of Paoay) are by nature industrious, thrifty, intrepid, daring, individualistic, peace-loving, adventurous, hospitable, and religious people.”


Historians say: “Spanish expedition in the Province of Ilocos Norte began as early as 1572 when Spanish chieftain Salcedo made his famous trip along the coast of Northern Luzon. During the pre-Spanish period, towns were small villages, which grew from the Barangays, and these were ruled by Minogel or Chief. At the time of the arrival of the Spaniards, many villages were already fairly populated,” the historians said.

The Spanish Catholic Augustinian Missionaries Christianized the people of Paoay. They converted the villagers into the Catholic religion. DON MARTIN GUIANG, as Christian ruler, guided and counseled the people with nobleness, courage, and independence. The Augustinian Missionaries formally established the Parish Church in 1593.”

The town of Paoay was founded in 1593. Its founder, DON MARTIN GUIANG, formally established Paoay as municipality in 1701 through a Royal Decree issued by the Spanish hierarchy. The Town of PAOAY was formally sanctioned as a municipality by virtue of a Royal Decree from the King of Spain. Thus, it was formally established in 1701 by DON MARTIN GUIANG with the executive title Capitan Bosar. Those who succeeded Capitan Bosar Guiang (he ruled the town in 1701-1704 as Paoay’s first local executive) were Don Jose Soto, Don Tomas Cadalig, Don Lorenzo Clemente, Don Andres Bergara, Don Cristobal de Leon, and Don Herminigildo Diaz de la Concepcion. These six Bosars separately served from l705 to l7l5.

The modern-day Paoay town is now extremely different from the primitive past in terms of infrastructure projects, cleanliness and beautification, peace and order, politics, education, and economic progress. When one speaks of Paoay town, the name of the most-decorated World War II soldier, the late President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos of the Philippine Republic is recalled, simply because the country’s erstwhile strongman built in Paoay town during the 1970s the famous Malacanang of the North (Presidential Palace in the North). In this executive mansion, President Marcos used to take a breather from his hectic work and entertained many visiting world leaders, foreign diplomats, business tycoons, and other VIPs. A stone’s throw from the palace is the well-known Paoay Lake International Golf Course and Country Club where the rich and famous from all over the world play and relax after sunbathing and swimming in the nearby beach resorts surrounded by Sahara-like sand dunes. Land travel to the town is smooth-sailing as the road network consists of concrete pavement and steel-concrete bridges. Hence, every guided tour by visitors is absolutely enjoyable.

In communication aspect, Paoay Town has direct access to the tri-media facilities – daily national newspapers, television and radio broadcast networks, as well as internet, telephone, postal and telegraphic facilities.

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