Ilocos Quick Tour, Part 2: St. William’s Cathedral ; The Sinking Bell Tower in Laoag


St. William Parish Church

Ilocos Quick Tour, Part 2: St. William’s Cathedral ; The Sinking Bell Tower in Laoag

From Museo Ilocos Norte, I hailed a trike to go to St. William’s Cathedral. History has it that the Augustinian friars built it in 1612 but it was damaged by a storm in 1640, by an earthquake in 1706 and by fire in 1843. The church stood the test of time, except for its bell tower.

 Sinking Bell Tower

Sinking Bell Tower

About 100 meters away from St. William’s Cathedral stands is its bell tower now known as “The Sinking Bell Tower”. Being a solo traveler in this journey, it was a challenge taking pictures of the bell tower with me in it because it’s a very busy street, the main thoroughfare. The never-ending day traffic of trikes, jeepneys, and cars makes taking pictures of the tower with me in it, hard. I might just get run over if I insist to set-up the tripod, switch on the timer and run over in the middle of the street just so I can be in the photo.

When the Augustinians built the church, they missed to consider that their choice of the bell tower’s location is a sandy place, thus, the sinking episodes started ever since then. I crossed the street to read the plaque on the tower wall. It stated that when it was built and many years thereafter, a man sitting erect on a horseback can easily enter the main door but it’s not the case anymore. I, for one, standing 5 feet tall had to bend over to enter in. It’s speculated by the historians that the tower sinks one inch each year.

The sinking bell tower boasts that it was one of the biggest and the tallest bell tower, but according to google, it now stands 45 meters tall. I wonder how it looked originally. It must have been really gigantic.

And aside from the fact that this tower is sinking, it is also leaning towards the North which makes it also a leaning tower. Now, I am really having a European experience, I am imagining seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy only I am in the Philippine soil. The unpleasant sight of dangling and tangled cable wires make it unique, too.

And by the way, this tower is not just for tourism or picture taking purposes, to this day, the belfry still rings to call the Catholic public to hear mass in St. William’s Cathedral.


  1. Fiestang Pinoy those are my original photos. To this day, they’re in my camera, that’s why I badly wanted to be in it because I didn’t want people saying my photos aren’t mine. My camera is not dslr but at least it can snap me photos of my journey. I can show it to you from my camera if you want. Here’s one thing I can assure you, all my photos in my posts, good or bad, are and will be original because it’s not moral to copy, copying is cheating & I don’t like to cheat myself or the others 🙂 Thank you so much for reading my posts. I will post more as I have so many pics to upload both in the blog and in my external drive. Stay updated 🙂

  2. Dondon Reyes

    Nice info about Ilocos…more updates please 🙂

  3. Thanx for this Happy Tripper Emmy, looking forward for more from you 🙂

  4. hope someone can post the original photo.:)

  5. There's more in Ilocos Norte.:)

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