After my sumptuous seafood lunch in Baybay Beach, I rented a tricycle that will bring me to the town of Pan-ay. Located just 20 minutes away southeast of Roxas City, it is considered as one of the oldest towns in the Philippines. Founded by Spanish Augustinian Friars in 1581, it became the 2nd Spanish settlement in the country next to Cebu.
The town takes pride as the first capital of the province of Capiz, during the early Spanish regime. It is also well-known for its 16th century church, the Sta. Monica Parish.
It has a 5-storey belfry which houses a gigantic bell that is considered as the "Biggest Catholic Church Bell in Asia".
The church is made of coral stones, with a facade accentuated with pillars and decorated with statues of Augustinian saints St. Thomas de Villanueva and Sta. Monica flanked on niches.
In 1997, the church was declared a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Institute.
On the right side of the church is the parish convent which also houses the parish office.
The church’s grand structure is shaped in the form of a Latin cross, it is 70 meters long, 25 meters wide and 18 meters high. The walls are 3 meters thick and the floor is covered with marble. The interior is very simple yet the antique retablos and religious statues (santos) will definitely amaze anyone who sees it.
Going up to the belfry requires permission from the Parish Office. So, you have to visit the office at the convent to ask for a guide, which is free of charge. Together with our guide, we went up to the belfry to see the "Biggest Catholic Church Bell in Asia".
Be careful when climbing the steep steel staircase. Always hold tight on the handrails to avoid slipping and eventually falling off. I know, you don't want that to happen.. ayt?
Up there, you will see not only the big bell but several antique bells, with the huge bell at the center. I was told that it is still being used during Sunday masses and special occasions.
Locally called as "dakung lingganay" (big bell), this colossal bell whose sound can be heard within 8 kilometer radius measures at 5 feet in height, 7 feet in diameter and weighs 10,400 kilograms.
The bell was cast using 70 sacks of coins collected from the townspeople during the time of Father Jose Beloso from 1844 to 1886 and was completed in 1878.
The insciption in the bell reads: Soy la voz de Dios que Ilevarey ensalzare desde el principio hasta el fin de este pueblo de Panay para que los fieles de Jesus vengan e esta casa de Dion a recibit las gracias celestiales (I am God’s voice which I shall echo and praise from one end to the other of the town of Panay, so that the faithful followers of Christ may may come to this house of God to receive heavenly graces.)
A very nice view of the town can also be seen from the belfry. I love the cool breeze of the air and the stunning view of the surroundings.
Many thanks to my guide, Randy from the Parish Office for giving a very insightful tour at the church.
Thank you also to my driver for going up with me and for bringing me to Pan-ay. I would like to recommend him if you visit Pan-ay, unfortunately, he doesn't have any contact number during that time.
Pan-ay church is a must-see when visiting the province of Capiz. Considered as the "Heritage Capital of the province", it holds rich history and amazing culture that is worth traveling for.
HOW TO GET THERE
Located just 8 kilometers southeast of Roxas City, Pan-ay is a 15-20 minute ride via a tricycle or a jeepney. Tricycle rental to Pan-ay and back to Roxas City is around 150 pesos.
This post was updated to change the term "Biggest Bell in Asia" to "Biggest Catholic Church Bell in Asia" which was based on the information taken from the official website of Panay, Capiz.
This is part of my quick visit to Roxas City and Panay, Capiz that happened last February 8, 2012. Capiz is the 50th province on my list and this visit happend on day 1 of my "5-day Panay Island adventure". Join me as I enjoy fresh seafood, the city of Roxas and the biggest catholic church bell in Asia.
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