WHERE: Laoag Church (Saint William's Cathedral) and Sinking Tower, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte
DATE OF TRAVEL: September 21-23, 2007
WHY YOU SHOULD GO:
1) It is known to be the largest cathedral in Southeast Asia.
2) It has a sinking bell tower.
St. William's Cathedral or also known as the Laoag Church is the largest cathedral in Southeast Asia. It is older than the Paoay Church since it was built in 1590. Originally, the church's walls and posts were built using stone, lime and molasses. It's roofing was made out of wood and dried grass. The church also experienced a lot of damage due to hurricanes, earthquakes and a major fire in 1843. It was restored in 1880.
Another must see in the church, well actually it is not inside the church but 85 meters away from the church, is its belfry. It is known as the Sinking Belfry or Bell Tower. It is a 45 meter high tower that looks massive and heavy and it sinks at a rate of an inch each year due to its weight and the sandy foundation it sits on. Currently, the tower has sunk so much that the entrance is already half buried whereas a man riding on a horse could enter its doors before. Despite all this, the belfry is still functional and is still being used today.
The sinking bell tower is currently the tallest in the Philippines, I wonder how long will it still keep this record... :)
HOW TO GET THERE:
You can fly from Manila-Laoag via Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific fly to Laoag daily.
You can also take a bus to Laoag (Ilocos Norte). Fariñas Transit, Partas, RCJ, Philippine Rabbit, Maria de Leon and Florida ply Manila-Ilocos Norte and vice versa regularly. There are airconditioned buses that leave from Manila to Laoag. For a list of buses, click this.
If you're coming from Manila by private vehicle, head to NLEX and SCTEX, exit at Hacienda Luisita, Tarlac and follow the National Highway all the way to Ilocos.