The Laoag sinking bell tower is one of Laoag City’s most famous landmarks in fact one of the top Ilocos Norte tourist attractions.
The structure is claimed to be the most solid and tallest bell tower in the Philippines. This massive 45-meter (150 foot) bell tower was also built by the Augustinians in 1612.
The tower is sinking as it is so heavy and was built on sandy foundations which are too soft.
They say that a person was once able to once ride on horseback into the tower and now a person has to stoop to get through the vaulted entrance.
They also allow tourists to climb the stairs to the belfry
The Spanish era St. William's Cathedral is one the largest in the Philippines. The foundations for the cathedral were laid in 1612 by Augustinian friars who replaced the original wooden chapel. The fames also comes from its striking Italian Renaissance style and it’s Sinking Bell Tower, which is sinking at about an inch per year.
The cathedral has a rather unusual two-storey façade. This façade is supported by two pair of columns located on each side of the arched entrance. The top of this façade has a recessed niche with an image of the Laoag City patron saint, San Guillermo (Saint William).
It also features windows that are made from capiz along with wrought iron screens. The cathedral also has timber double doors along with signs Alpha y Omega. The altar also carries cultural religious images. What is also important is that Catholics still use the cathedral for Mass on Sundays and special holy days
The cathedral was built using lime that was mixed with molasses for strength, and then with large stones, gravel and sand. Timber was used to make the roof support trusses, that were originally made from cogon grass and then later of nipa.
As they revamped and repaired the church, this changed again to taleb, which is a corrugated galvanized iron sheet that is made with bamboo.
The church was extensively damaged by a typhoon in 1640, and then by an earthquake in 1706, and then by a fire in 1843. The church was then restored in 1880. Surely no church has withstood such a natural onslaught and survived.
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