After visiting Sta. Maria Church, we hailed an ordinary bus bound for Vigan, Ilocos Sur. It took us roughly 40 minutes to reach the town of Bantay where St. Augustine Parish is located. Though not part of Vigan, this church is a popular tourist destination for travelers visiting Vigan because it is actually one of the first things you will see before entering the heritage city. It wasn't my first time in Vigan, I've been there in 2004 but we missed to visit this church.
The church is considered as one of the oldest churches in Ilocos Sur. Built in 1590, its facade features a Neo-Gothic design mixed with Pseudo-Romanesque elements.
The most striking feature of this church is the bell tower perched on a beautifully landscaped hill a few meters away from the church. Like other Spanish-era churches, it also served as a watch tower during World Wars I and II against invading enemies. It is a silent witness to the different significant and historical events that happened during those days.
We climbed up the belfry to see what's in there. We were amazed to see a very nice view of the town, a nearby cemetery and the mountains of the neighboring province of Abra.
The church is also the shrine of "Our Lady of Charity", the Patroness of Ilocandia. Her feast day is celebrated every second Sunday of January.
This is another must-see of the many old churches in Ilocos region. Don't miss Bantay Church and Bell Tower when visiting the province of Ilocos Sur.
HOW TO GET TO BANTAY, ILOCOS SUR
From Manila, take a bus bound for Vigan, Ilocos Sur or Laoag, Ilocos Norte. Travel time is about 7-8 hours, fare is around 400 - 500 pesos. You wouldn't miss the church as it just along the national road before entering the Heritage City of Vigan.
More photos on Pinoy AdvenTurista's Facebook Page, click here.
This trip happened on May 26, 2012 during my 3-day trip in Northern Luzon.
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