Tuesday, September 06, 2016

The Bell Tower of Bantay Ilocos Sur

The Bantay Bell Tower of Ilocos Sur.

A Belfry built in 1591 – Ilocos Sur is home of old Spanish Colonial architectures that survived through time. These structures exhibit traces of our Spanish Era ancestry centuries ago. The Philippines is a Christian country with Roman Catholicism as the most dominant faith. A lot of edifices in the country include churches boasting beautiful designs with rich stories about the past. One of the province of Ilocos Sur is the Bantay Church located at Manila-North Road, Zone 5, Bantay, Ilocos Sur. It is also known as Saint Augustine Parish Church of Bantay with Nuestra Senyora de la Caridad ( Our Lady of Charity ) as its patron. The statue of the Blessed Virgin is said to perform miracles so as answered prayers. Standing with its handsome sturdy gothic look that was damaged by wars then restored, it has been a witness to many important events in our history.

When the country was still a colony of Spain, this steeple served as a watch tower to monitor pirates. It is also a defence structure against the enemies that the place got its name “Bantay” that means guard. Still erect with all its glory, the tower also survived World War II. It was then restored in the 1950s.

Our Lady of Charity Church of Bantay Ilocos Sur.

Pilgrimage Site.

Photo-op Bench at the Entrance.

A reminder to pray.

Climbing the stairs feels like you are traveling way back in time. Then we climbed the narrow stairway surrounded by bright orange brick walls. I can imagine our forefathers building the tower long ago thinking how intricate the process had been. The large bell is a huge metal which is almost my size. If only that bell could talk, it has been a witness to so many battles, rang thousands of masses from the Spanish Era to the present.

Going up. Look at those bright orange bricks.

The Bell.

Me with one of the bells in one of the windows.

A view from the top.

Going Down.

The view at the top is breath taking. Endearing fresh wind blows overlooking small houses, trees and structures. You can see the province of Abra as well as the western seas.

You can visit the Bantay Bell Tower between 6AM to 6PM. In the entrance, there is a donation box for the church and tower maintenance, you can give any amount you want. Photo-ops are better taken in the bench located near the entrance, beside the bell and in the windows.

A visit to Bell Tower: Achieved!

Overall, the Bell Tower experience is one of a kind. It was also memorable for me because it was my first time to actually climb and go atop seeing it only in movies and pictures. I also get to see a real church bell up close, touched it and look though the beautiful province of Ilocos Sur at the top.

Special Thanks to my friend Karen Feaster some of the pictures, for taking my pictures and touring me around.

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