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Laoag Church
Province:  Ilocos Norte
18° 11.642N   120° 35.593E
Listed in Gallery:   Old Church

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St. William's Cathedral is older than Paoay Church,as it was first built in 1590 by the Augustinian friars. The church was originally built using lime mixed with molasses for added strength, huge stones,gravel and sand. Wood was used for trusses to support the roof made of thatch materials (cogon grass). Roofing material was later changed to galvanized sheet (called taleb) made of whole bamboos. The structure was replaced in 1612 with an Italian Renaissance design,its 2-storey facade supported by 4 pairs of coupled columns. The image of St. William,Patron Saint of Laoag City was placed on the recessed niche at the top of the facade. It is said that the church suffered damages caused by a hurricane in 1640, an earthquake in 1706,and fire in 1843. Repairs were made in 1873,and it was finally restored in 1880. The Revolutionists occupied the church in 1890,as did the American forces in 1899.

St. William's Cathedral is also known for its sinking Belfry. The bell tower is located 85 meters away from the church. With its massive,solid and tall structure (45 meters high),the belfry is considered the tallest in the Philippines. It sinks an inch each year because of its weight and sandy foundation. The climate is so hot in Laoag,the soil has suffered desertification (soil degrades and is converted to sand). The tower has sank so deep that its entrance is already half-buried. Whereas before, the entrance is so high that a man riding a horse can easily go through it, now,one has to stoop to enter. Despite its sinking structure, to this date,the belfry is still functional.

Waypoint narrative by: Cyndy_Coronado 2008     follow Cyndy_Coronado on Facebook