Bantay is a Tagalog word that means “guard”. Fitting to the description is this belfry which was used as a watchtower against pirates during the Spanish colonial period.
Before you enter, you have to register with the local community and give any amount of donation. Then go up the tower itself and look at the expansive Ilocandia landscape which provides proof that it is, indeed, a good spot for a watchtower.
Being a belfry, it is weird to see it without a church of its own. This structure sits on a hill that’s beside the church it serves – Saint Augustine of Hippo Parish Church. The church also houses the Virgin Mary as the Lady of Charity who is the patron saint of the two Ilocos provinces.
In 1999, UNESCO added Vigan to the list of best preserved examples of European colonial towns in Asia. From then on, it has been one of the shining pearls of Philippine tourism.
Most people know Vigan beauty during the day, we arrived in Vigan at 5:30 AM when the sun hasn’t greeted us yet.
Wandering around on cobblestone lined streets with architecture that will remind you of Europe.
Is it Barcelona? Seville? This area transports you into a place other than the Philippines.
Some structures are recently restored, especially those near Calle Crisologo. Others are left to their original materials.
Home to one of the most prominent families in Vigan.
And true ro Spanish urban planning, the town is centered on the Vigan Cathedral. Across of it is Plaza Salcedo with the provincial capitol on the other side of it.
The recently concluded APEC and its accompanying holidays made room for a quick getaway to the northern provinces of the Philippines. We said hello to both Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur.
I’ve been here once when my friend’s father asked us to come during his campaign period. But that was way back in 2007. Now, it will be a more comprehensive trip of the North.
Here’s our itinerary:
10:30 PM – ETD from Marikina City
6:00 AM – ETA to Vigan
6:00 AM – Breakfast, Heritage Village, Baluarte, Bantay Bell Tower
11:00 AM – ETD from Vigan
1:00 AM – ETA Ilocos Norte and Lunch
2:00 AM – Paoay Church, Malacanang of the North, Fort Ilocandia, Sand Dunes
6:00 PM – Check in for the night
6:30 AM – Breakfast
7:30 AM – Sinking Bell Tower, Cape Bojeador Light House, Kapurpurawan Rock Formation, Bangui Windmills
1:00 PM – Lunch
2:00 PM – Patapat Viaduct, Blue Lagoon
6:00 PM – Dinner
7:00 PM – Check in for the night
7:00 AM – Breakfast
8:00 AM – Check out
9:00 AM – Marcos Mausoleum
10:00 AM – ETD from Ilocos Norte
1:00 PM – ETA in Vigan, Lunch
3:00 PM – ETD from Vigan
12:00 AM – ETA in Marikina
Quick and action-packed – that was the trip. And a productive way to spend the holidays. Posts will be uploaded soon!