Saturday, November 29, 2014

CRISOLOGO MEMORABILLA MUSEUM

The Crisologo Memorabilla Museum is a tangible proof that once, the Crisologos has established the most prominent political dynasty in Vigan. To continuously remind the glory once they had, they have converted their ancestral home into this strangely compelling family shrine which is located along Liberation Boulevard in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur.

Photographs depicting the life of the prominent Crisologos


Bingbong Crisologo’s parents were portrayed in the name of Floro Crisologo, his father and Governor Carmeling Crisologo, her mother, to have been famous politicians and his father was assassinated while his mother had successfully survived her separate assassination.

The master's bedroom of the Crisologos


The antiquated king size bed in the master's bedroom was stunning and displays an utmost elegance. Other furniture and fixtures of this ancestral house are simply elegant.

The long dining table


I find to see the very long antiquated dining table interesting and the age-old like-latrine toilet in the second floor but the feces would go down from the feasting pigs in the ground.

The dining table of the servants


The dining table of the servants is a proof that once social class was strongly observed most particularly with the rich families

The kitchen or what they call it "la cocina" during the colonial times


The museum charges no entrance fee except if you like to give donation for its maintenance. It is open to public for viewing from 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. from Monday to Sunday and even during holidays, though they observe a lunch break. Guests can be greeted upon entry in the museum but there is no guide to show you around. You will be left with your own devices and be guided only with labels of every item displayed. But the big prints of labels attached to items displayed are quite annoying.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

PADRE JOSE BURGOS NATIONAL MUSEUM

Padre Jose Burgos National Museum located in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, was once the ancestral house of Father Jose Burgos who was one of the three martyr priests known as GOMBURZA executed by the Spanish in 1872. It was built in 1788 and owned by his grandparents Don Juan Gonzales and Dona Florentina Gascon. The local government of Vigan has funded the museum to maintain its 19th century interior and its well-preserved kitchen.

A musical instrument housed in the museum


This museum houses an extensive collection of Ilocano artifacts, including a series of 14 paintings by the locally famed painter Don Esteban Villanueva depicting the 1807 Basi Revolt. Some other displays that can be found here are the weavings, Tingguian (Itneg) jewellery, musical instruments, pottery, photos of Easter processions and elaborate furniture and fixtures.

The facade of the museum


The original materials of the roof were made of clay tiles. But today, it has been replaced with corrugated galvanized iron sheets except in the kitchen where the clay roof is still well-preserved. The indigenous window system is made of several layers of sliding window panels. Suffused lights enter the spacious room through the capiz incorporated at the wood frame panels. The ventanillas are shielded by finely crafted wooden balusters. The diamond patterned persianas allow the breeze to flow into the interior of the house and at the same time shut out the brilliant sun.

The well-crafted bed


Indeed, the museum really showcases the rich culture of what life was then through its furnishings: from its hallway, spacious living room, well-crafted beds with canopies, musical instruments, bags, farming tools, kitchen and its wares and equipments, dining area for the mighty owner and the servants, veranda and azotea, the model of Pechili Trading Junk or the Chinese Shantung Junk – like a galleon used for fishing and trading and some diorama picturing the historical events related to some heroic scenarios of some Ilocano heroes, namely: the execution of the Fathers Burgos, Gomez and Zamora in 1872; the Battle of the Tirad Pass and a few others.

The dining room


For visiting tourists, the museum is open from Monday to Friday and by appointment on weekends and holidays. Museum hours are 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. then 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Admission fee is P20.00 for adult and P10.00 for 12 years old and below.

The model of Pechili Trading Junk or the Chinese Shantung Junk – like a galleon used for fishing and trading


Monday, November 24, 2014

VIGAN CENTRAL

The Calesa Parking Lot beside Vigan Cathedral


Established towns during the Spanish period in the Philippines followed the same architectural pattern where the church is the center of the town and fronting the church is a plaza. Other structures like the church convent, the municipal hall, parochial school, the market and other public domain structures are just within this vicinity and the residential houses are already on its periphery. Vigan City is one type of town that followed this design.

Vigan Cathedral and its bell tower


The Church and its fastfood vicinity


Part of the Plaza Burgos


Thus, Vigan Cathedral even at present still remains the center of activities of the city. Fronting the cathedral are fastfood outlets like Jollibee and McDonalds bearing fancy and dramatic architectural design. The right side of the cathedral is the queue of “calesas” waiting for tourists for an exhilarating ride in the city.

Just after a sumptuous lunch at Cafe Leona


Tourists are delighted with an array of delectable local cuisine that you will find in the city. In fact, you will not only feast on the attractions that you will see around but also with the fine and dining restaurants as well.

Cafe Leona's Signage


Our group had tried to dine at Café Leona for our sumptuous lunch. We gave the restaurant an overall rating of excellent to include the service, the ambiance, the facility not to mention their highly appetizing gourmet served. It was like a party where there is no tomorrow.

Daddy Jay and Mommy Josie savoring yummy empanada


For our snacks, we tried Vigan’s pride, the empanada in Irene’s Empanada just within the vicinity of the Heritage in which this empanada is emphasized to be the celebration of the Ilocos Sur cuisine.

The historic Plaza Salcedo


Plaza Salcedo is fronting the Vigan Cathedral and on other sides are the City Hall, Jose Burgos Museum and the prominent structure of McDonald and Jollibee.

A lavish dinner at Uno Grill of Grandpa's Inn


Dinner was even great as we dine in at the Uno Grill of Grandpa’s Inn. It was like a big feast where we brought the house down with scrumptious seafoods, We really savored charcoal grilled specialties of fish, seafood and vegetables though they also have grilled pork, chicken and beef. Indeed, that dinner of ours can be considered as real gastronomical treat for all of us. The ambiance was great as it is housed in an original brick wall with a relaxing atmosphere in a garden setting with so many ornamental plants planted in terra cotta jars (burnay).

PAGBURNAYAN IN VIGAN

Vigan City of Ilocos Sur is famous for its Heritage Village, a UNESCO Heritage site. However, tourists who visited Vigan also came to know that the place has high quality jars produced from their pot making industry that dates back to pre-colonial times when Chinese traders who opted to settle in Vigan introduced this craft.

The making of a pot photo courtesy by Leah De Leon in this link .


Tourists who wanted to see this craft can visit Brgy. Pagburnayan of Vigan. Thus, pot making here is called Pagburnayan where the word “burnay” to the locals, is an unglazed earthen jar with small opening. I can still remember when I was still a child since I grew up in Calbayong City of Samar when we used to have a jar to store drinking water and it is quite cold when you drink it even without putting some ice on it. Waraynons call it “bisô” for drinking water storage while the “tadiao” is the bigger one usually a water storage in “pantao/pantaw” or bath room.

Jars for Sale photo courtesy by Leah De Leon


These jars actually vary in sizes. Smaller ones can be used to store brown sugar, bagoong (fermented fish) or “dayok” in Waray, salt, tea drinking and local wine (basi). For the locals, burnay jars are also used in the fermentation of vinegar that comes from the sweet sap of the Arenga Pinnata, a sugar palm tree also known as “kaong.”

I did not visit this attraction in my last three visits to Vigan but I visited it the first time I was here. Unfortunately, by that time, digicam was not yet in use and thus the hard copies of pictures I kept were destroyed by Typhoon Ondoy. For purposes again of providing a one-stop convenience for my blog readers, I included this in my post.

Friday, November 21, 2014

VIGAN HERITAGE VILLAGE

Vigan City is indeed a pride of the Philippines as it was hailed as one of the New 7 Wonder Cities of the World with awarding ceremony held in Dubai on December 8, 2014 organized by the 7 Wonders International Organization where Vigan City was among the 1,200 cities from 220 countries nominees when the global search began in 2012. (Updated as of December 8, 2014)

The trip started with a Partas bus overnight trip boarding from its Aurora Boulevard Bus terminal at 9:00 P.M. It was an 8-hour trip arriving Vigan City at 5:00 A.M. the following day and we checked in right away at Green R Hotel located along Alcantara Street of Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. This was actually my fourth time to be in Vigan City.

Vigan Heritage Village: A UNESCO Heritage Site


Whenever I visit Vigan, its Heritage Village is always the first that I would visit. This place is considered as the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia which was included on the World Heritage List commemorating its cultural significance in November 1999.

Green R Hotel: An affordable accommodation in Vigan


Records revealed that this village was established in the 16th century when trade and community activity started to flourish along the Mestizo River, lasting up to the 19th century. The name “Vigan” was derived from a giant taro plant “biga” that grew abundantly along the riverbanks.

Wood carvings and crafts for sale


Looking at these old houses, you will see that they are made of adobe, pebbles, brick and posts. But these materials were not from the Philippines since they were brought from Europe through the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade. On the other hand, the construction works of these houses were done by Chinese laborers which is evident on their architectural design that reflects a unique fusion of Spanish European and Chinese culture.

Getting intimate with a horse of a calesa at rest


Strolling around the village, you will notice the cobble-stoned streets frequented by calesas or caruwaje carrying the mesmerized and excited tourists.

Calesa, by the way, is a ride pulled by a horse which is an alternative transport along the heritage and any part of Vigan City, During the Spanish era, calesa, is a ride used by common people while the Illustrados would normally have their prestigious “Caruwaje” A caruwaje is well-decorated also pulled by a horse normally with curtains, too.

Apparels, accessories and crafts for sale


Of course, it is really exciting to ride in a calesa. But walking through cobble-stoned streets of the village, will give one the opportunity to experience the place at its best getting all the details of the glorious past.

A furniture for sale


This village is indeed a proof that once for 333 years, our country has been colonized by the Spaniards and this is somewhat a remnant and legacy that the Spaniards left us from their glorious past in the Philippines.

Tourism industry in Vigan is so vibrant and they capitalized much on the rich historical value of the Heritage Village by housing souvenir shops and cafes. The shops sell Ilocos’ elegant and fancy ornaments which are beyond perfection in appearance.

While on souvenir shops hopping


Delicious and delectable local cuisine and delicacies and antique furniture and fixture are also being sold within the area.

Our group also tried to eat Vigan’s pride – the empanada in Irene’s Empanada just within the vicinity of the Heritage in which this empanada is emphasized to be the celebration of the Ilocos Sur cuisine.

Nightlife in Heritage Village


One may also consider to visit Heritage Village in the evening to witness its truly stunning ambiance most particularly to honeymooners where they would find this place to be truly romantic.

The Vigan Heritage Village also has some modern additional buildings. But despite the modernization of these establishments, their architecture is still correlated to how the Spanish constructed the houses centuries ago. Fastfood restaurants such as McDonald’s can be seen in this place and you’ll be amazed that they are constructed just like the Spanish houses.

HOW TO GET THERE

Take a bus from Manila via Partas, Dominion, Philippine Rabbit by 9 – 10 hours to Vigan City for a distance of 404 kilometers and another 10 minutes drive from the heart of Vigan City to Baluarte. Partas Transportation Company offers the best and comfortable ride with its air-conditioned buses equipped with only three seats across and have better reclining positions. You may check this link for Partas bus operation schedule

Alternatively, through by air which is flying from Manila to Laoag International Airport for three times a week for 70 minutes either by Cebu Pacific or Philippine Airlines. Laoag City is 2 and a half hours or 82 kilometers away from Vigan City.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

PAGUDPUD MUNICIPAL BEACH PARK

When we hear the word “Pagudpud,” we always associate it with those white beaches of Ilocos Norte dubbed as the "Boracay of North," not knowing that Pagudpud is a fourth class municipality and a coastal resort town of Ilocos Norte province, in the northern Ilocos Region of the Philippines, a part of Luzon mainland with a total land area of 194.90 km2 (75.25 sq mi) consisting of 16 barangays. It has previously been a part of its neighboring town of Bangui.

Saud long stretch of white beach


Maira-ira Beach is the northernmost tip of Luzon Island located 18°39′4.44″N 120°50′46.68″E. There are no ATM"s in Pagudpud. The nearest ATM is in Pasuquin which is about 1 and 1/2 hours from Pagudpud. Since Pagudpud is blessed with white sand beaches, then tourism is partly a significant part of its growing economy.

The Blue Lagoon Beach of Maira-ira photo courtesty by Beach Resort Philippine website


So, it is safer to say that most of the long stretch of white beach of Pagudpud is in Saud where it is called a Municipal Beach Park and other coastal barangays of the municipality. Saud is actually one of the 16 barangays of Pagudpud. And along Saud are a number of resorts like Polaris Beach House, Terra Rika Beach and Dive Resort, Saud Beach Resort and Hotel, Evangeline Beach Resort and many others. If you want to stay for an overnight or longer in the pristine beaches of Pagudpud, you may choose an array of accommodations in this link or simply have this link for reservation.

While enjoying my moment at Saud Beach Resort


Comparing the beaches of Pagudpud, it is not as white and fine as the sand of Boracay but it offers almost the same excitement for beach lovers.

A closer glimpse of the white sand of Saud Beach


One should also know that Pagudpud has a water falls in the name of Kabigan Falls located in Barangay Pancian where this one can be trekked for a maximum of 40 minutes to reach the spot through a very easy trail. The falls itself has a strong current and is spectacularly beautiful at dusk. I have not visited this place but my acquaintances in Saud Beach who visited the place highly recommended this one to us. They even told us that a one day tour around Pagudpud is not enough. Mabaga Water Falls and Bantay Abot Cave had been also recommended to us as must-see destinations.

Kabigan Falls photo courtesy by Arianne and Ahrel Goes Blogging


Apart from Saud Beach is the Blue Lagoon or the Maira-ira Beach. It is where the Hannah’s Beach Resort and Convention Center is located in Barangay Balaoi. On June 27, 2013, Hannah’s Beach Resort and Convention Center was also awarded by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources—Region I with the most-coveted and prestigious title of “The Most Outstanding Individual Initiative on Environment Management.”

Hannah's Beach Resort and Convention Center photo courtesy by Filipino Times News


PATAPAT VIADUCT OF PAGUDPUD

A refreshing stop at Patapat Viaduct


The Patapat Viaduct of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte is a 1.3 km elevated concrete coastal bridge highway by 31 meters above sea level constructed along winding mountainside in the northernmost section of Ilocos Norte. As per record, it is the 4th longest bridge in the Philippines where the longest is the 2.2 km San Juanico Bridge which connects Leyte to Samar. It is 16 kilometers away from Pagudpud town proper. If you happen to be here at Patapat Viaduct, then, you should not miss to experience Saud beaches.

This picture is through the courtesy of Pueblo Philippines


This highway is footed on the rock seashore just several meters along the picturesque mountainsides which gives motorists a spectacular view of the Pasaleng Bay. Its construction has solved the problem of landslides in the area which before was a peril to the motorists.

A photo taken at Patapat Viaduct on October 3, 2003


I still remember that wayback on October 3, 2003 when I rode in a commercial bus heading to Aparri, I asked the bus driver and the passengers that I be allowed to have a picture along the Patapat Viaduct where they all gave me a resounding “Yes” since I was only traveling that time alone. The bus conductor was the one who took the picture. This was the time after I just had my Batanes Trip and heading for Aparri heading for my Camiguin de Babuyanes Trip.

In my recent trip, we drove along this impressive in order for us to reach Saud Beach of Pagudpud, dubbed as the Boracay of the North. Prior to this, we spent the whole morning touring at Cape Bojeador Lighthouse and Bangui Windmills. We settled in Saud Beach for a refreshing beach swim.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

MARCOS MANSION AND MAOSELEUM IN BATAC

Coming from Paoay Church, we drove to the Marcos Mansion and Maoseleum in Batac City. We arrived there passed 4:00 P.M. and it was closed already. Fortunately, the caretaker, without us, asking on it, reopened the gate of the maoseleum and others who were waiting outside joined us inside.

The main door leading to the Maoseleum


The maoseleum is well-maintained, carpeted and airconditioned. Lights are colored violet and one may have that feeling that the room is really creepy with a background music very appropriately for the dead. Being alone inside would send one a spine-chilling feeling. Taking pictures inside the maoseleum is prohibited but the adjacent Marcos Mansion is equipped with the various old Marcos memorabilia.

Marcos portrait outside the Maoseleum


Personally, I am not a Marcos loyalist, but I give high regard to him since he is really a great person and he deserves respect like any other great men who died. With all those accomplishments, the more I respected and admired him. Whether we like it or not, he is not an ordinary person, politics aside.

Marcos' Office inside the Marcos Mansion


MARCOS MUSEUM IN SARRAT

The Marcos Museum is located in Brgy. San Agustin, Sarrat, Ilocos Norte, the place where the late President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos was born on September 11, 1917 to Mariano Marcos and Josefa Edralin, both school teachers from well-to-do families. The records and pictures shown inside the museum reveal that Marcos had lived here until he was 8 years old since they (their family) moved to Batac.

Our group at the facade of the Museum


Visiting this museum was an enriching experience for one somewhat travels back in time and see what is the typical house of well-to-do family in the early 19th century pictured in a traditional 2-storey “bahay na bato” constructed in a red brick ground floor for storage and the wooden upper level, with its hardwood floor, reserved for the living quarters.

Old photographs inside the museum


The posters and old photographs displayed in the museum can tell what has transpired in the life of the Marcoses like the Marcos family tree, musical instruments, license plates of Marcos used for his cars, the furniture and fixtures used, various documents and the deep well at the back of the house on its second floor.

The deep well at the back of the second floor of the museum


This would not have been equipped as a museum had it not with the initiative of former First Lady Imelda R. Marcos to renovate it in 1977 during his husband’s (Pres. Marcos) 60th birthday. However, this has been abandoned when the Marcos were exiled to Hawaii and was restored back after that.

The deep well gives a clean water


If you want to visit this museum, then observe the time and days it is open to the public for viewing which is specifically during Mondays to Saturdays from 8:00 A.M. to 12:00 Noon and 2:00 to 5:00 P.M.

The town of Sarrat is only 30 minutes drive west of Laoag City and is known also its exquisite old church of Santa Monica Parish Church where its belltower stands separate from the main church structure. Almost adjacent to it is a parish convent which looks very interesting.

KAPURPURAWAN ROCK FORMATIONS

I regret I was not able to visit this attraction when I visited Ilocos Norte. I am reminded of these rock formations when I visited the awesome and enchanting Biri Island of Northern Samar. The next time I visit Ilocos Norte, the The Sand Dunes of Paoay and this one will be of highest priority to visit.

Again, for purposes of reference and convenience of my blog readers, I included this post to complete the package of an Ilocos Norte tour.

This picture belongs to Boyet's Tour Blogspot


As this one is located in the municipality of Burgos where the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse is located, then, both should be scheduled one after another to save time. Having not visited yet the place, though I have seen some pictures of it, I am not really in a position to describe the place. The municipality of Burgos, was named after the martyred priest, José Apolonio Burgos y García, a Filipino mestizo secular priest, accused of mutiny by the Spanish colonial authorities in the Philippines in the 19th century. However, a little background would suffice for my reader’s delight. The sources of these information are coming from various blogs I read as well as the Wikipedia.

This picture belongs to Glenn Hufancia


Since its exact location is along Bangui Bay, then it is also close to the Bangui Windmills. On the other hand, the term “kapurpurawan” means white since all the rock formations you will see there are all white. One blogger said, looking at those rock formations seemed to be really magical. And visiting the place is like an event, the same that one would feel when visiting the Biri Island where every detail of the rock formation can tell one a different story.

From the early times, tourists can get closer on its rock formations. However, with some people leaving marks and vandalism on these rock formations, the local tourism management has now restricted some parts of it to be at the close encounter by the tourists. They can only be viewed or taken with pictures at a distance. But you don’t have to worry since some parts of it are still open to tourists to get close and experience its natural beauty through a natural touch.

As a consolation, there is no entrance fee charged here. Just be reminded that since it is an open with no shades of trees around, you must take with you some covering like an umbrella and equip yourself with wrench quenching drinks since it is really hot in here.

Friday, November 14, 2014

THE SAND DUNES OF ILOCOS NORTE

Visiting the Sand Dunes of Ilocos Norte will remain a dream for me. For the four times that I have visited Ilocos Norte, limited time has barred our group from visiting this site. Unfortunately, my travel buddies were either too tired that they wanted to go back to Laoag City for a rest or simply time was not enough to include this destination in our trip. The Sand Dunes of Ilocos Norte is just one of the two must-see destinations I missed to visit during my Ilocos trips.

Enjoying the sand dunes of Paoay picture courtesy by The Huffington Post


Though I have not visited this place, I included this in my post for a one-stop reading of my blog followers about the Ilocos Norte trip package. So that, they will know that this one is another must-see attraction of Ilocos Norte.

Sand boarding at the Sand Dunes courtesy by Owen Ballesteros


As a background, the Sand Dunes of Ilocos Norte stretches widely from the municipality of Currimao in the north and curves it’s way to La Paz in Laoag City then to Suba in Paoay and lastly in Pasuquin in the south.

The home of Ilocos Norte’s Sand Dunes in Paoay is located in Suba. Suba has the most extensive and unbroken stretch of coastal sand dunes compared to the other towns of Ilocos Norte. With an extensive stretch averaging to 800 meters wide, one will fell he is like in a real desert.

A land travel from Manila up to this point is a total of 13 hours. It is recommended that tourists will also try to catch sunset here. Reading from the testimonies of some bloggers, the Sand Dunes of Ilocos Norte offer the most beautiful sunset one may ever see in his whole life. Try it for yourself.

LAOAG CITY TRIP

My first visit to Laoag City dated December 3, 2001


Laoag City is a first class city in Ilocos Norte, the northernmost city of the Philippines. The municipalities of San Nicolas, Paoay, Sarrat, Vintar, and Bacarra form its boundaries. The foothills of the Cordillera Central mountain range to the east, and the South China Sea to the west are its physical boundaries.

A photo taken at the main gate of Fort Ilocandia dated December 3, 2001


Enjoying our moment in Fort Ilocandia


Early Christmas at Fort Ilocandia


What makes Laoag City accessible to tourists is its international airport which aside from having daily flights from Manila, there are also direct flights to/from Hongkong and Mainland China. Bus travel from Manila to Laoag is approximately 12 hours.

Inside Fort Ilocandia Resort and Casino


The first time I visited Laoag was in December 2001 as part of my Ilocos Sur-Ilocos Norte Trip and after that I repeated this trip package for thrice including this recent one. I had good memories of these trips and I find Laoag such a good place to stay for a vacation as it serves as the springboard to visit other tourist attractions of the province of Ilocos Norte.

The garden and fountain inside Fort Ilocandia


Group tours will find it easy to rent for a service vehicle to hop from one destination to another in Ilocos Norte for a minimum of two days covering all its major tourist destinations, namely: Fort Ilocandia Resort Hotel and Casino, Laoag’s Sinking Bell Tower and Saint Williams Cathedral, Paoay Church, Paoay Lake and the Malacanang of the North, Paoay Sand Dunes, Marcos Mansion and Maoseleum in Batac City, Marcos Museum in Sarrat, Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, Kapurpurawan Rock Formation, Bangui Wind Mills, Paraiso ni Anton, Patapat Viaduct in Pagudpud, Saud Beach of Pagudpud. One needs to have a good haggling skill to get a chartered vehicle for a day or two. For backpack travelers, a jeepney would be cheaper where you can find them in queue in bus terminals.

The facade of Java Hotel


The 18 hotels of Laoag city as you can see in this link can be a useful guide for the reservation of accommodation of visiting tourists. This link can be of great help to tourists who wish to stay in the city. Of course, the best of them all is the 5-star Hotel of the Fort Ilocandia Resort and Casino located in Barangay Calayab which is outside the city proper. Within the vicinity of Fort Ilocandia is a picturesque “lagoon”. A beach is also near outside Fort Ilocandia with cheaper accommodation facilities and restaurants where backpackers will find it a better alternative.

Saint William Cathedral's altar


Another hotel in Laoag which impressed me was the Java Hotel located at Bacarra Road, Brgy. 55-B Salet Fariñas Caltex Station, Laoag City but as backpack travelers, we opted to stay at Texicano Hotel located at corner Giron and Rizal Streets of the city.

The city itself showcases a taste of rich history which can be seen through its Sinking Bell Tower. The structure of this bell tower is claimed to be the most solid and tallest bell tower in the Philippines. It has a massive 45-meter (150 foot) bell tower which was built by the Augustinians in 1612. Located almost a hundred meters away from the St. William's Cathedral, the tower has sunk to the ground and leans slightly to the north.

Laoag Cathedral, canonically known as St. William Cathedral was built in 1612 by Augustinian friars to replace a wooden chapel. It is known for its Italian Renaissance design and its Sinking Bell Tower, which sinks into the ground at a rate of an inch a year.