LAOAG CITY – Officials and residents of Paoay town in Ilocos Norte province witnessed on Monday the unveiling of a new marker of the 200-year-old Paoay bridge popularly known as “Lumang Tulay” (olden bridge) located within the boundary of Barangays San Juan and Nambaran.
In a message to her constituents, Paoay Mayor Sheila Galano said the marker will serve as a reminder to them to preserve the town’s history for the next generation.
“The putting up of a historical marker means so much to us as it serves as a reminder for us to take care of this bridge and preserved it for our next generation,” she said during the unveiling ceremony which was also attended by the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) Director General Jeremy Barns and other local officials.
In a museum declaration no. 34-2020, the NMP has recognized the Baroque-inspired Paoay bridge and the road southwards of Currimao town as a national cultural treasure as it is an intrinsic part of the San Agustin Parish Church Complex, a UNESCO-world heritage site being frequented by foreign and local tourists.
Galano also expressed her gratitude to NMP for the official turnover and unveiling of the historical marker which has played a vital role in the life of Paoay residents.
It was in 2016 when municipal tourism officer Bernard Joseph Guerrero, who is also a cultural heritage worker born in Paoay, initiated the conduct of cultural mapping and made an inventory of the cultural properties of the town, including the old bridge.
As attested and confirmed by a panel of experts, the NMP finally declared the old Paoay bridge as a national cultural treasure, and one of the oldest and most well-preserved bridges in this northern part of Luzon.
Guerrero, when reached for comment, said he felt proud when the body finally recognized the bridge as part of national heritage.
The unveiling of the marker coincided with the kick-off ceremony of the town’s Guling-Guling festival on Monday.
Paoay is a popular tourist destination because of its majestic lake and sand dunes, including the Paoay Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (PNA)