Bell tower at twilight

IF there is one structure that always catches my attention on the historic island of Tinian, it is this old bell tower or what has remained of it at the back of the San Jose Catholic church.

I’ve been at the island several times and have seen and photographed this old bell tower countless of times before, but a couple of weeks back, it was a different visit because I had the chance to stay around until darkness has fallen.

The ruins of the old bell tower looks out of place in a modern surrounding, with but the contrast added to the major attraction. I would have wanted to go up the bell tower and explore this ruined building up to the topmost area but the tower is closed to the public.

I was told the structure used to be open for the public and despite its sturdy look, it has become too dangerous.

The inscription on the doorway of the bell tower says it is dedicated in memory of Father Marcian Pellet, OFM, and his faithful followers on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee on December 12, 2006. The old church was built by Father Pellet and parishioners in 1936.

Looking at the bell tower in broad daylight with its colorful flowers surrounding the base, seeing the pieces of steel and metal sticking out of the cracked concrete is quite an experience, but seeing the structure with the darkness falling is altogether a different story. One experiences different feelings when you look at the dark silhouette of the bell tower casting eerie shadows. If not for the bright lights from the church windows and the houses and buildings in the immediate vicinity, I would have second thoughts about going near the structure at night.

The bell tower is one of the must-visit historical sites on Tinian and continues to get thousands of tourists from all over the world each year, along with all the other historical sites and World War 2 ruins and relics scattered all over the island.

The next time you visit Tinian, visit the bell tower and wait until the sun sets and you will experience what I mean. To get there, fly via Freedom Air for $69 per person, or board a charter a flight with Star Marianas Air.

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