Freestanding belfries are not an uncommon sight in Philippine churches. They are usually detached from the churches they serve to prevent damage from earthquakes and to serve other purposes like to oversee the town and its surroundings. The bell tower in Bantay, Ilocos Sur is one such detached bell tower. Sitting regally on the crest of a hill, the Bantay bell tower is one of Ilocandia’s most enigmatic sights in a region already filled with spectacular colonial architecture.
Overseeing not just the town but the colonial capital of Vigan nearby, the belfry provided sweeping views of the town, the neighboring mountains of Abra, and the sea alerting the town in case of pirate attacks. It is notable that this tower has come to be built in a town named Bantay which translates to guard.