The Random Bibliophile

by Renee Alexis

Renee Alexis
20-something Filipina, an introvert who loves young adult fiction, brush pens, Taylor Swift, and BTS. Coffee runs in my bloodstream.


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Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, Philippines

Vigan City | Bantay Bell Tower

The Bantay Bell Tower (also called Bantay Belfry) was our third and final stop in our Vigan City tour before we headed off to Laoag. The bright, sunny sky was the best thing that happened that day even though weather reports told us about the incoming typhoon.

When I stepped out of the car we were renting, I was instantly transported back to the olden days. I remembered how we used to do movie shootings in high school where we portray Jose Rizal's historical characters to make his famous novels come alive. I used to direct and write scripts for our movies, and seeing this place made me feel nostalgic. This was the perfect setting for all of those shootings. The abundant Spanish-era feel, the authentic countryside view, the antique buildings; all of them were screaming "perfect" to me.

The Bantay Church and Bell Tower is a 10-minute ride away from the city proper. This towering structure is one of the sights that should be visited by travelers not only because of its historical and cultural significance but also because of its commanding view of Vigan from the highest portion of it that can be climbed. Some may even claim that they can see most of Ilocos Sur from this bell tower. It was said to be the people’s watchtower, part of the city’s defense that helps in alerting it against possible enemies. It was built in 1591.

The Bantay Church is amongst the oldest surviving churches in Ilocos Sur and is under the care of the Augustine Order, first of who was Father Montoya Osa. Visitors will also see within St. Augustine Church the statue of Our Lady of Charity, who is Nueva Segovia’s patroness. From the church, she is said to have watched over the city over many generations. The church suffered damages from World War II and so it underwent reconstruction in 1950. The surroundings of the church and belfry are quite historic as well. Visitors will walk upon the same grounds where Diego Silang and his troops were said to have fought with the Spaniards in 1763. (source)

This brick church is formally called as the St. Augustine Parish Church of Bantay and was established 16 years after the Vigan Cathedral by the Augustinians. I was amazed by the built and size of it, sadly, we didn't get the chance to go and look inside as we were running out of time. Maybe next time, when I can visit Ilocos again.

To read more about the Bantay Church and Bantay Bell Tower, you can head to this blog. I'm no expert in history so I won't be forcing myself to write something about things that aren't in my forte, hehe.

Just look at the architecture of this one, such elegance, such a sight to see!

We spent all of our 30 minutes taking group and solo pictures. We opted not to go to the tower and instead just take pictures at the entrance because we were really in a  hurry to get to Laoag. 

If I will be given a chance to visit this place again, I would gladly grab that opportunity and spend more than a day in Vigan. I am no history buff, but reading about the backstories of these famous tourists spots made me realize that I was missing the important things. I thought the history lessons we had in grade school were for naught. I was wrong. The past is as significant as the present and future. It is the story of what happened in the land I am standing now, the events that happened back then was the reason why it is what it is. The past is its foundation and that is no small thing.

Have you been to Vigan yet? Have you any plans to go soon? Tell me your thoughts on my new comments section below! :D

Vigan Series: Calle Crisologo | Parburnayan Pottery


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