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Bacarra Church

Bacarra Church is a Roman Catholic church located in the municipality of Bacarra, Ilocos Norte, Philippines under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Laoag. The church was founded by the Augustinians, who dedicated it to St. Andrew.

Bacarra Church
San Andres Apostol Parish Church
Iglesia Parroquial de San Andrés Apóstol
Bacarra Church Bell Tower.jpg
The leaning bell tower of Bacarra
Bacarra Church is located in Philippines
Bacarra Church
Bacarra Church
Location within the Philippines
18°15′02″N 120°36′42″E / 18.250495°N 120.611788°E / 18.250495; 120.611788Coordinates: 18°15′02″N 120°36′42″E / 18.250495°N 120.611788°E / 18.250495; 120.611788
Location M. Castro Street, Brgy. Sta. Rita, Bacarra, Ilocos Norte
Country Philippines
Denomination Roman Catholic
Dedication Saint Andrew the Apostle
Status Parish church
Functional status Active
Heritage designation National Cultural Treasure
Designated 1973
Style Church building
Completed 1593[1]
Archdiocese Nueva Segovia
Diocese Laoag
Province Nueva Segovia
Archbishop Marlo Mendoza Peralta
Bishop(s) Renato P. Mayugba

The church was declared a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, and a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines. It is known for its centuries-old, domeless, leaning bell tower.



The Augustinians founded the town of Bacarra on September 18, 1590 and began their missionary activity on land owned by a chieftain the Spaniards named Castillo and a certain Andres Hermosa.[2][3] Baccara was established as a mission center for the Apayaos.[2] The Augustinian mission was run by two priests serving a population of 4,000.[3] The church and an adjoining convent were established in 1593[1] on the site where an Igorot named Bacsalandoc, first settler of the town and chieftain, had erected his hut.[3] The church site is now located in the center of town.[4]

The town became a visita of Laoag in 1603 and an independent parish in 1614.[3] In 1782 a new church on the site was inaugurated by the Augustinians.[1][4]

In 1973 President Ferdinand Marcos declared the church a National Cultural Treasure through Presidential Decree No. 260.[5]


Bell towerEdit

The Bacarra church is famous for its centuries-old, domeless or "beheaded" belfry known as Torre ti Bacarra.[3][6] The structure stands three stories and 50 metres (160 ft) high.[7] The original bell tower, which is detached from the main church building and made of coral bricks, was erected in 1828.[8][9] However, periodic earthquakes from 1931 to 1971 caused the dome to start leaning.[8][9] The entire dome was toppled by the 1983 Luzon earthquake.[1] Restoration of the church was completed in 1984 at a cost of 3 million.[1]

The tower is also known as the "Acrobatic Bell Tower of Bacarra".[10]

Church museumEdit

The church museum, known as Museo de Bacarra, is housed in the former church convent. The two-story restored convent, which dates to the Spanish colonial era, features religious artifacts from archival photos and documents and church relics and cultural artifacts mostly contributed by the people of Bacarra.[8] A mysterious underground staircase leading to three tunnels – believed to be connected to the Bacarra river, the church tower, and the altar – was uncovered at the back of the old convent.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Tourist Attractions in Bacarra". 2010. Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Galende 2007, p. 30
  3. ^ a b c d e "Bacarra". Official Website of Ilocos Norte. Local Government Unit of Ilocos Norte. Retrieved September 11, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Bacarra Church and Convent". Municipality of Bacarra. Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  5. ^ "Presidential Decree No. 260 August 1, 1973". The Lawphil Project. Arellano Law Foundation. Retrieved September 5, 2014. 
  6. ^ Arzadon, Christina (November 20, 2012). "Bacarra Museum: New Oasis of Religious, Cultural Artifacts, Mysterious Underground Garden Near 'Beheaded' Belfry Ruins". Ilocos Sentinel. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  7. ^ Coseteng 1972, p. 73.
  8. ^ a b c d Arzadon, Christina (November 21, 2012). "Museum hopes to put Ilocos town on tourism map". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved September 11, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Legarda, Benita (1960). "Colonial Churches of Ilocos". Philippine Studies. Ateneo de Manila University. 8 (1): 121–158. 
  10. ^ Esguerra 2012, p. 228