Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Sanctuary of a Humongous Bell in Asia: Sta. Monica Church

Disclaimer: Photos are taken by: Antonio Carranza Jr.


            Sta. Monica Church is the home of the biggest bell in Asia. The church is situated in the Town of Bamban which is now known as the Municipality of Pan-ay, Capiz (15 to 20 minutes drive away from the city). The original structure of the church was built between 1692 and 1698 but then it was rebuilt in 1714 and 1875 due to some unforeseeable situations (e.g. typhoons).


             The grand structure of the church is made up of coral stone which is 70 meters long, 25 meters wide and 18 meters high; the walls are 3 meters thick and the floor is covered with marble. The church has a 5 story belfry which serves as the haven of the largest bell in Asia.


            The bell was made in the 19th century from the donation of 70 sacks of coins of the town people. It measure 7 feet in diameter, 5 feet in height, and weighs 10, 400 kilograms. Thus, making the locals call it as “Dakong Lingganay” which means big bell.


             On the other hand, on the exterior part of the bell you can find an inscription that states: Soy la voz de Dios que Ilevaré y ensalzaré desde el principio hasta el fin de este pueblo de Panay para que los fieles de Jesus vengan a esta casa de Dios a recibirlas gracias celestials; meaning (I am God’s voice which I shall echo and praise from one end to the other of the town of Panay, so that the faithful followers of Christ may come to this house of God to receive the heavenly graces).


Experience:


            After pigging out for lunch with Anton (my travel blogger buddy) at Baybay, Roxas City we decided to visit and have a tour of the stunning centuries old Spanish colonial church of baroque architecture – Sta. Monica Church in Pan-ay, Capiz.


            From our jump off point, we asked a tricycle driver to take us to Pan-ay church and how much would it cost us to reach the place. The driver charged the two of us P 60.00 which I considered cheap. We also asked him to wait for us so that he would still have passengers in going back to the city and be assured of an additional income.


            So finally, we reached Pan-ay Church. Anton was amazed at the church’s appearance. He said, the church is not that good looking on the photos that he had seen but in reality it was stunning. After that we took pictures of everything. As we tour the place, we saw a group of people who were also touring the church. They even invited us to join them on their tour together with the local parishioner tour guide.


            So as the tour started, the tour guide told us the brief facts about the church. He also allowed us to take pictures after sharing to us some ideas. Here are some of the brief facts that he gave:

The original chair of the church was made of Molave tree.

The present images of the Station of the Cross were recycled from the original chair of the church.
           
            He also gave us the chance to climb the 5 storey belfry, with 67 steps, which houses the largest bell in Asia. While on the topmost part of the belfry, you can see the 360˚ breathtaking view of the town.


            After spending some time on the top and taking some souvenir photos, we decided to go down and roam around the church. There we started to have some loads of picture taking. We were able also to visit the old Spanish well located at the right side of the church, behind the Museo de Sta. Monica.


            However, our adventure was not complete. We left the church without entering their museum. The tour guide did not allow us to enter it of which I do not know the reason why. Nevertheless, our Sta. Monica Church experience was truly magical and really captivating. The trip after all, was worth all the effort we’ve exerted.

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