Climb up into the highest point of the belfry and watch-tower.
Bantay Belfry is a must see for travelers, not only because of its historical and cultural importance but also because of its perfect view of Vigan.
It is called the Bantay Belfry because it is located in the Bantay district of Vigan along the national highway. It was said to be the people’s watchtower, part of the city’s defense that helps in alerting it against possible enemies. It was built in 1591.
We were a bit afraid to step on the wooden boards and the caretaker even advised that only five people at a time can go up and appreciate the view. This is to avoid any untoward accident if the floors could no longer take the weight of the visitors.
To enjoy the panoramic view of the land set upon a background of white and blue skies, visitors must climb flights of stairs that can be accessed from the entrance in the tower’s base. It is guarded by a small gate which the caretakers lock when there are no visitors that request for a tour of it. During such times, birds take advantage of the absence of people to rest in the nooks and crannies of the belfry.
The Bantay Belfry is popular among local tourists because scenes of the well-known Filipino film Panday were shot within and around the belfry. To ensure that you can enter the belfry, it is best to register at the Tourist Center along Calle Crisologo and ask for a tour of the belfry from there.
We were fortunate to visit this remarkable tourist spot which is one of the most visited in Vigan, Ilocos Sur probably just next in popularity to the Baluarte Zoo which is owned by the Ilocos Sur Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson, and Calle Crisologo which looks great especially at night time.
From the top you can see around and one of the very first thing that you may notice is this bunch of white structures which I later found out to be tombstones in a local cemetery.
This is just one of the attractions that you can visit when you happen to be in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. There’s more to see but somehow it really needs a few more developments, and an addition of places to stay so that many visitors both local and foreign tourists would consider visiting Vigan, Ilocos Sur. The places we’ve been to would also need some more support from the government so they can further develop and improve their facilities. It will be reciprocal anyway if both parties help each other out.
It will be a big contribution to their tourism if investors would be willing to invest building hotels in the area….where other business may soon follow to support the economy of the province.