After years of planning and dreaming to go to Ilocos with my college friends, it finally came true! It was tough to set a date since some of us were really busy with work already. Well not me, I’m an unemployed bum nurse (still working on that). :) Some of us didn’t make it since they can’t just leave their work behind so it’s really sad because we’re not complete but we can always come back once we’re rich. Haha! Our bus left around 9pm and we arrived at 5am the next day. I strongly advise night trip so you can rest and enjoy the day ahead. You’re wasting a day (and also night) if you go on a day trip. We arrived at our friend’s Donna’s house and ate breakfast. Our plan for our first day is to tour Ilocos Sur. Our first stop is Bantay Church.
Bantay is one of the municipalities in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. It is situated just Northeast of Vigan. You can ride a tricycle or calesa to go here. Tricycle costs 10 pesos per head while calesa costs 150/hour (max of 4 persons).
Bantay Church serves as the Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de La Caridad, the Queen of Ilocandia. The church and its bell tower are the oldest structures in the province. The bell tower was built in 1590 and the church was built 1591.
Upon arriving, we were guided by an old man that served as our tour guide and photographer. The church looked beautiful outside. It’s my first time to see a church that is reddish in color. Honestly, it doesn’t look old at all. :) The bell tower from afar looked marvelous! It’s so picturesque!
It was huge inside. There were candles and books where you can write your personal intentions that will be included in the mass for the next day.
The altar looked simple yet very classy with its gold linings. You can see 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.
We went behind the altar where we found a small prayer area and our guide told us to pray The Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary, and Glory Be. We also lit candles for our prayers here.
Next, we went to the ruins. The church was damaged during the World War II.
We went to a small museum next. There were old pictures, religious images, and statues here. There were also paintings that are for sale.
Our next stop is the bell tower. We had to register first and give a small donation before entering.
It is called the Bantay Belfry because it is located in the Bantay district of Vigan along the national highway. 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. (http://www.vigan.ph/bantay_belfry.html)
We climbed to the top of the tower and we were greeted with a large bell. You can enjoy the panoramic view of Ilocos Sur from up here.
Bantay Church and Bell Tower is a must-see tourist attraction in Ilocos Sur. You should definitely visit this place. :)
Oh.. one last photo. (Edited by Mr. Errol Tan Pontillas) ♥ ♥ ♥