St. William’s Cathedral & Sinking Bell Tower

Sinking Bell Tower

A chapel of wood and thatch was originally built on the same site when the Augustinian Friars founded the parish in 1580. Later in 1612, foundation for the replacement of the church was laid by the friars and construction of the cathedral with Italian Renaissance design began. The church was damaged by fire in 1843 and repaired through the efforts of the Obras Publicas under the supervision of Engr. Antonio de la Camara and Fray Santiago Muniz from 1873 to 1880.

St. William's Cathedral

The reconstructed church has a unique two-storey facade held by four pairs of coupled columns and was called the St. William’s Cathedral. The deeply recessed niche shows the image of Saint San Guillermo. It is the one of the biggest cathedrals in the country and became the seat of the Diocese of Laoag. In 1898 it was occupied by Revolutionarists and also by the American forces in 1899. The cathedral was the site of the Diocesan Congress in 1932 and 1949.

Located 85 meters away is its bell tower which has sunk to the grounds and leans slightly. The 45 meter high bell tower is one of the tallest edifice built in the province. When the tower was newly erected a person on horseback can pass through its door freely. Today, a person of average height could hardly pass without stooping.

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