"The picturesque bellfry sits on a hilltop (atop the Calvario Hill) overlooking a vivid green vast of pastureland and the mountain view of the Province of Abra"

The bell tower has been standing at the top of this hill called the Calvario Hill for more than 4 centuries. The bell tower together with the church called the St. Augustine church is one of the oldest in northern Philippines built in 1590 with Fr. Montoya, as the first parish priest. The Augustinian friars named it after St. Augustine, the Patron Saint. The church was damaged during the World War II but was reconstructed in 1950. 

The restored facade is of neo-gothic design mixed with pseudo-Romanesque materials and elements [This only shows that the Spanish really intended to make Filipinos shift to Spanish culture. Roman Catholicism is their biggest influence in the Philippines. If the Spaniards did not come, can you imagine what would be the main religion of the Filipinos? I think it would be Islam, just an opinion].

Going back to the topic, the church's grandiose design afforded a reminiscent of the old Spanish architecture using indigenous materials, which are of bricks and slime. According to great ancestors, fishermen found the image of Our Lady of Charity placed in a wooden box floating in Bantaoay river and when the news broke, people from other towns and Provinces came to take the image but could not be moved and only people from Bantay were able to carry the miraculous image. 

It became the sanctuary of Our Lady of Charity on January 12, 1956, when the most Reverend Msgr. Vagnozzi, the Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, crowned the miraculous image as the Patroness of Ilocandia.

The picturesque bellfry sits on a hilltop (atop the Calvario Hill) overlooking a vivid green vast of pastureland and the mountain view of the Province of Abra. It was used as a watchtower for invading enemy forces during World Wars I and II. Evidently, the Bantay Church and bell tower are the monumental witnesses to various atrocities, uprisings and staged revolts. 

This bell tower has been a favorite location in making a lot of Filipino films and TV series. The most notable is Fernando Poe Jr's Panday and its TV series remake by ABS-CBN starred by Jericho Rosales. 

My aunt and my dad did not miss the chance to have our photos be taken in this historical landmark for the Filipinos.

How to go to Bantay?

You can take an 8-hour to 10-hour long drive from Manila. I suggest Partas Bus, Dominion Bus, and Viron Bus. All of this Bus companies are Vigan-based. The advantage for this is that, you can see the scenic Ilocos Sur Highway. Lush green mountain and forests at the east and the sea immediately at your bus window at the west.

Bantay is very close to the World Heritage city of Vigan. If you want to tour Vigan, add Bantay to your itinerary. It is just a stone throw away from the Vigan Business District. Ride a calesa to feel the Olden Spanish ambiance. Calesa [horse-drawn carriage] can be found in numbers at Vigan near Plaza Burgos and Plaza Salcedo.

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Tags: Bantay Bell Tower | Bantay Belfry | Bantay, Ilocos Sur Church | Saint Augutine Church | Our Lady of Charity | Historical Landmark in Bantay | Historical Landmark in Ilocos Sur | Tourist Spot in Bantay, Ilocos Sur | Tourist Spots in Bantay, Ilocos Sur | Places to Visit in Bantay, Ilocos Sur | Where to go in Bantay, Ilocos Sur |



Born and Raised in Vigan, Philippines. Hardcore Ilocano-Cordilleran. Professional Nurse on Weekdays. Coffee Addict. Travel Blogger in Between. For collaboration or partnership, email your business proposal at admin@edmaration.com.

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