One of Laoag's famous monuments is known as the Sinking Bell Tower. Built around 1707 by Augustinians after an earthquake, it is one of the oldest and most massive bell towers in the Philippines. Standing at 45 meters ( feet) tall, the structure is of the earthquake baroque style, constructed of locally manufactured bricks, joined with molasses and plastered with lime stucco. The massive base whose foundation is 90 meters (300 ft) supports its graduated upper tiers and is topped with a dome and cross.
Like other earthquake-proof baroque style buildings, the tower has sturdy buttresses and is separate from St. William's Cathedral, which is actually 85 meters (279 ft) away.
Built on sandy soil, the tower has been sinking at a rate of 2.5 cm (one inch) per year, thus lending its landmark name. At one time, a horse-mounted rider could once enter the vaulted door quite easily; now even a person of ordinary height would have to stoop. Despite its sinking status, the tower still performs its function of calling its Catholic members to mass via massive bells.
When I visited the Ilocos Norte town, entry inside the tower was not permitted.