Monday, January 24, 2011

Ilocos Tour Part 4: Bantay Bell Tower and St. Augustine Church

After looking at antique furniture and seeing how the rich people lived back then, it was again time to hop on our calesa to our next destination. Kuya Richard steered Michelle to the town of Bantay, just outside the heritage city of Vigan.

We got down in front of St. Augustine Parish Church which Kuya Richard says is one of the oldest churches in Ilocos Sur and probably even in Region 1 where the 2 Ilocos provinces belong.

Built in 1590, the church is named after the Agustinian priests' patron saint. Badly damaged during World War II, the church was reconstructed in 1950. The facade is of Neo-Gothic design mixed with Pseudo-Romanesque elements.

We took a look inside, and first thing I noticed was the long aisle and the cool arches. It was so pretty!

And up on the altar, is the image of Our Lady of Charity.

The church also serves as a Shrine for the Our Lady's image. Devotees say that the image has done numerous miraculous deeds. In 1956 Our Lady of Charity was crowned as the Patroness of Ilocandia, following the visit of the Papal Nuncio.

And right beside the church, is the Bantay Bell Tower. Kuya Richard gave us a juicy tidbit: Fernando Poe, Jr. used the bell tower in one of his PANDAY movies.

Pardon the next set of photos you are about to see. Apparently the people tasked to maintain the bell tower got some pretty good tricks up their sleeves. There was this guy who volunteered to take our photos, and we ended up having all these wacky shots.

And this was just outside. When we got in the bell tower, he asked us to do more poses. Funny!

After the photography tour of Bantay Bell Tower, I think it is customary to give the guy (or whoever volunteers to take your group's photos) some tip. I think we gave Manong P20. Oh! And there's also a donation box for touring the bell tower. Just give any amount and sign up on the log book and you'll be just fine. :)

Next up is Chavit Singson's BALUARTE. For the animal lover's, you wouldn't want to miss out on this animal haven! :)

Other blog entries from our Ilocos tour:
Ilocos Tour Part 1: Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
Ilocos Tour Part 2: Vigan's Cordillera Inn, Night Shots and Empanada
Ilocos Tour Part 3: Crisologo and Quirino-Sy Quia Museums

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