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“Impressive and serene”
Review of Bantay Church

Bantay Church
Ranked #614 of 1,674 things to do in Luzon
Attraction details
Reviewed 6 April 2017

Philippines was the last country in South East Asia that I visited. I had been to Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia where Buddhism and Islam are the dominant religions and where Buddhist pagodas, stupas and Islamic mosque architecture dominated the entire skyline and landscapes. Here, in the UNESCO city of Vigan in Philippines, I was able to deeply appreciate the beauty of many of the Roman Catholic churches of great Spanish colonial architecture.

It was a relaxing 10 mins stroll from my accommodation at Henady Inn Annex and I was impressed with this marvelous Bantay Church and the Bell Tower. It was like a hidden gem uncovered in a lackluster village area near the highway of Vigan. I came here twice, once in the early morning before 6 am and once in the evening with my wife.

There was a mass gathering during the evening and as I walked into the entrance, the hymns and songs pervaded the air. Outside the church, two young men were selling bean curd (taho) in their containers. I bought a cup for 20 pesos and found it appetizing. The pseudo Romanesque and Neo Gothic design of the front façade of the church is impressive though the interior looks plain.

There is a Mary statue erected outside the church and the three building structures: the Church, the Bell Tower and the Mary statue with three distinctive color bands stand like the Holy Trinity guarding this beautiful place of the Augustinians. As I strolled my way up the slope to the brown brick Bell Tower, appreciated her structural beauty, strolled my way around her compound studded with bright colored, fragrant flowers and greenery and explored the Chapel by the Ruins in the backyard of the church, I was mesmerized by the serenity and peacefulness of this holy place.

There was a quotation by St Augustine which was printed on a banner hanged at the church compound that reads `Life is like a book. If you do not travel you read only one page.' I found meaning and relevancy in this short life philosophic phrase of St Augustine.

I like this church, like the honest and friendly people here, like the delicious local Malunggay Pandesal buns sold in a bakery not far from this church, love the `taho' sold in the church compound, love the serenity and peacefulness of this lovely place.

Thank soh_kien_peng
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed 7 October 2014

Saint Augustine Parish Church in Bantay Ilocos Sur, popularly named Bantay Church, is the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity housing the miraculous image of Virgin Mary as Nuestra Senora de la Caridad. Our Lady of Charity was crowned as Patroness of Ilocandia on January 12,1956. The church - established in 1590 - stands to this day as one of the oldest in Ilocos region.
The original structure was significantly damaged during the wars. Rebuild in the1950's, the present design was a grandiose mixture of neo-gothic and pseudo-roman architecture utilizing bricks and lime stone. Go inside and discover many interesting facts about the church.
Located adjacent to Bantay Municipal Hall, it is a few minutes drive from downtown Vigan. Take Quezon Avenue from Plaza Salcedo, towards Bantay. Turn right at Manila North Road, a few meters on the left side is the Bantay Church and Belfry. Commuters can hire a tricycle (with yellow plate BNY; blue plated-VGN are not allowed in Bantay) for "50 pesos per drop" rate or ride a horse-drawn calesa for 150 peso per hour.

Thank TravelBug1469
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 10 February 2014

As the name implies, Bantay Church (Roman Catholic) is in the Municipality of Bantay, rather than Vigan to which it is usually associated with (however, only about 15 minutes by calesa or horse drawn carriage from Vigan center). The church was named after its patron saint St. Augustine of Hippo, and was built by Augustinian Friars in 1590. It is considered to be one of the oldest churches in the Province of Ilocos Sur, and also goes by the names of Saint Augustine Parish Church and the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity (Nuestra Señora de La Caridad). It apparently has a colorful and checkered history, having been used as a lookout against pirates (belfry) and the military during World War Two.

The Church itself is striking because of its reddish color due to the use of building materials such as bricks and mud. It is a baroque-gothic in style and is reminiscent of Spanish architecture. In addition to the impressive and large nave, the church has some side chapels, and a section that resembles a small museum with old pictures, religious images, statues, and some paintings for sale (local artists?). The surrounds of the church has a private garden for contemplation and a well-known belfry (Bantay Tower) that attracts a lot of attention from visitors. Both the church and the bell tower are worth a visit if one happens to be in that part of the Philippines.

2  Thank Nafis A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 16 October 2013

By all means, visit Bantay Church, located near the historic town of Vigan. The church houses an exhibit hall of saints sculptures, images, and photos in the building adjacent to it. There is also a part on one side of the church known as "Church in Ruins" where one can enjoy the harmonious singing of the birds.

Never leave without climbing up the belltower where you will be treated with a breathtaking view of the church from above.

Thank Kiseki123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed 28 March 2017
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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