Biggest Bell in Southeast Asia & 3rd in the World
Finally , I have literally embraced Southeast Asia’s biggest bell and 3rd biggest in the world, the one in Sta. Monica Pan-ay, Capiz.
I was not feeling well after ending my three-day seminar for the Negros Women for Tomorrows Foundation (NWTF) held in Capiz, but I didn’t say no when I was offered to visit the place. I knew that NWTF would always accommodate me each we had the seminar because they knew that I blog and I love to see places—-my never ending appreciation to you , Ms.Mercy Paniza and Ms. Manilyn for making my job easy by effectively facilitating our seminar and for bringing me to Sta. Monica Church.
I was impressed by the grand structure of Sta. Monica Church — made of coral stones and measured 70 m long ,25 m wide and 18 m high. The walls were amazingly three meters thick; the floor was covered with marble. Its structure was shaped in the Latin cross with one large central altar and four lateral ones, each one fitted with gorgeously decorated and gilded retablos of hardwood, decorated with various polychromed statues of high artistic quality .
The biggest bell in Asia is cast in the 19th century from 70 sacks of coins donated by the townsfolk. It measured seven feet in diameter, five feet in height and weighs 10,400 kilograms. The people of the town affectionately call it “Dakung Lingganay, vernacular term for”big bell. The “biggest bell’s ” booming sound can be heard eight kilometers radious. It is seven feet in height and diameter weighing 10.4 tons. According to the town’s folks the bell was manually enshrined because there were no cranes nor any other lifting machines available at that time.The “Biggest bell” was cast from 70 sacks of coins collected from the townspeople through a quota system . It is said that each Cabeza de Barangay and well-off Families were required to donate one sacks of coins or at least one half of It. The bell was Completed on December 12, 1878 There were also eight smaller bells to echo the different celebrations and solemnities of the Church.
Unlike its Baroque interior,the facade of the church was simply decorated by pillars and horizontal ledges with niches for the life-sized statues of the Augustinian saints, Tomas de Villanueva and Monica.
That was Sunday when we visited the place and the mass was ongoing. So silently, we proceeded to our main objective to see Asia’s biggest and 3rd Largest in the world Bell. The door was locked and one needed to ask permission to climb the belfry which was very good because the one in charge would tell you the story about the 3-century old church.
The stairs to the belfry were originally in hardwood, but they decided to change it into steel for security reasons. The main beam holding the “biggest bell” was still there but it was already been reinforced by a concrete structure.
The Old Spanish Well… still functional
How to Get there:
Roxas City takes 45 minutes by plane and 16 hours by boat from Manila and it takes 2 hours from Ilo-Ilo and 3 and half hours from Caticlan. 4 hours by Ro-Ro (roll on – roll off) from Manila if you wish to travel by bus. Then another 20 minutes travel by land transport from Roxas City to Panay where you can see the Sta Monica Parish Church.