The town of Bantay in Ilocos Sur is best known for its 1590 church and bell tower, which was also the site of a battle fought by the revolutionary Diego Silang and his men against the troops of the Spanish colonial government in 1763.
Named St. Augustine Church, after the Augustinian friars who established the parish, the church is also the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity.
The bell tower stands on top of a hill some distance away from the church.
Tourists are allowed up the tower (using some scarily rickety stairs), where the guide will invariably point out that the historic bell was used in the filming of the popular local action fantasy movie Ang Panday (The Blacksmith). Unfortunately, I can no longer remember if he was referring to the 1980 film starring the late Fernando Poe Jr. or the 2009 and 2011 films starring Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr.
According to an Ilokano friend, the word bantay means "hill" in their language. The word also exists in Tagalog, where it means "guard" or "to guard," which is also appropriate because the tower has commanding views of the town, the not-so-distant West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), and the distant Cordillera mountain range.