Ilocos Norte splendidly presents itself with a town that beautifully resembles the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. This tourist destination is within the bounds of Bacarra, Ilocos Norte. Bacarra is strategically bounded on the north; and by the municipality of Pasuquin on the east and Vintar on the southernmost part of Ilocos Norte. It has a total land area of 66.07 square kilometers and an approximate demographic data of about 27,827 as of 1995 and is still increasing up to this day.

The famous and regal Bacarra Church in Ilocos Norte.

The famous and regal Bacarra Church in Ilocos Norte.

Historically, the first settler of the town was said to be an Igorot descendant whose name was Bacsalandoc and who incidentally became its first chieftain over the years. Meanwhile, the initial site of the first Roman Catholic Church in Ilocos Norte was at the same place where his humble home was built. This was no other than but the majestic and towering religious sanctuary which is popularly known as the Bacarra Church. Bacarra had its first taste of genuine religiosity, when the Augustinian friars began their missionary tasks; despite of the fact that it was the encomienda of a certain Captain Castillo and Andres de Hermosa. During those years, this tranquil and captivating province had only one convent with two friars, who were preaching the Word of God to not more than 4,000 parishioners. But, God gave this place of spiritual nourishment the most priceless gift. The said monastery was granted a priory. This means that its parishioners had the right to vote in their provincial chapters.

As a result, she had the following visitas a year after. They were: San Nicolas de Vintar, Santiago de Pasuquin, Santa Catalina de Adang Vera and Lorenzo de Banguisan. Remarkably, in 1603 Bacarra became the grandiose visita of Laoag. After five long years, it was made into a vicariate under the supervision of the so-called provincial father prior to becoming an independent church in Ilocos Norte. Currently, this historical and glamorous place of worship is popularly known across Ilocandia as the Bacarra Church. Formerly, this was named as the Saint Andrew Church after its patron saint San Andres de Apostol. In the beginning, it was constructed during the later years of the 16th century. Fray Felipe Fernandez was the main man behind the creation of this finest spiritual rendezvous in the Philippines. He was an Augustinian friar. When the first version of the church was heavily devastated, a new and much sturdier one was proudly established in 1706 by Fray Diego de Mendrosqueta, Fray Miguel Abiol and Fray Antonio de Villanueva. However, the said temple was again rocked by a strong earthquake which paved the way for another overall modification. Currently, it newly-renovated church was finally erected by Fray Juan Martin around the mid -19th century.

Speaking of its precious materials, it was creatively fashioned from high grade indigenous materials. Unbelievably, it has no cement, granite stones and even adobe. Instead, its creative architects had used coral bricks out of sticky clays and molasses which were mixed with sablot leaves. These are the kinds of leaves that are combined with trees and then dipped in water. Through the years, the natives of Bacarra had joyously exclaimed the incomparable majesty of this prime tourist spot in the land of the idealistic Ilocanos. They proudly say, “Bowing Tower of Bacarra” Moreover, the convent of Bacarra Church constantly bears its eternal grandeur despite of the church’s dilapidated state. This exuding characterization is evidently seen from its all-brick paletada made of stucco materials for its exterior. Thus, if you are going inside the holy premises of Bacarra Church it has a floor area of 900 square meters which is composed of two levels. In addition, the end of the former awesome hallway has been converted to an azotea, with a sweeping staircase. To wrap up, the timeless Bacarra Church which is also known as the Belfry of Asia
is a priceless reality that the province of Ilocos Norte is a courageous reflection of the ultimate expression of faith and religiosity that can amazingly withstand the cultural evolutions and challenges for over a thousand years.

Category: Travel

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