Bantay Church and Bell Tower is a must see attraction when one is in Ilocos Sur. It is located in Bantay, another charming town adjacent to the Vigan City. Bantay is also well known for ancestral houses and some historical sites. The most famous landmark of the town is the Bantay Church and Bell Tower.
Bell Church is known as the St Augustine Parish Church. This baroque-gothic style church is one of the oldest churches in Ilocos Sur built by Augustinians Friars in 1591. It was made of rocks, bricks as well as a combination of seashells and woods. It has a separate bell tower located on the top of a small hill just few meters away from the church.
The Bell Tower offers the stunning view of the mountains in nearby province of Abra and the South China Sea. During World War, the Bell Tower was used as a watch tower for invading enemy forces. It was damaged during the war and reconstructed in 1950.
To get to the tower you need to climb the stairs and enter the small gate. Inside the Tower is the wooden staircase and floor that one must climb leading to the last floor where large bell and small bells are located. When one is on the top of the tower, you can see the whole town of Bantay and Vigan Heritage. You will also enjoy the scenetic view of Bantay Church and the public cemetery.
Bantay Church and Bell Tower is about 15 minutes Horse-Drawn Carriage or Kalesa ride and 10 minutes tricycle ride from the Calle Crisologo of Vigan City. Before entering the belfry, you need to register first at the Tourist Center beside Bantay Church and No Entrance Fees, just donation.