Located at a rather curious 85-meter-distance from the church proper, the bell tower of St Williams Cathedral is said to be the tallest in the Philippines at 45 meters. It is the most striking building that welcomes visitors into Laoag City in Ilocos Norte province.
The bell tower is a massive structure with a foundation spanning 90 meters and rising 4 levels up. Built by Augustinians sometime after the cathedral was finished in 1612, it displays ‘earthquake baroque’ architecture, reinforced by giant columns on each corner. Like many centuries-old churches in the Philippines — a few also found in Ilocos — its bricks were joined by a blend of molasses, the juice of exotic leaves, lime, and sand.
Unfortunately, the bell tower rests on sandy land. Its size weighing it down, the tower is believed to sink into the ground an inch every year. Locals would say people from centuries ago could mount on a horse and be able to pass through the tower’s arches.
Today, visitors from street level need to descend a few steps to reach the door and must stoop to enter, if at all permitted by the city council. Even so, the belfry is still used, accessible by a winding stairway.
The Sinking Bell Tower is situated in the middle of Laoag City, You can get anywhere in the city by hailing a tricycle.
It is an all-year round destination. The church, where the bell tower is located, can be included in a pilgrimage