The Jaime L. Cardinal Sin Ground Belfry stands proudly in the middle of Rufino J. Cardinal Santos Bell Garden located on the left side of Manila Cathedral Basilica. As the name implies it is dedicated to the memory of His Eminence Jaime L. Cardinal Sin, the second longest serving Archbishop of Manila. He served from 1974 to 2003. To the curious mind, Archbishop Michael J. O’Doherty, SEC outlasted him by four years (1916-1949).
The Jaime L. Cardinal Sin Ground Belfry is home to Seven Big Bells, the largest of which is probably the biggest bell in the Philippines. According to the marker found on the outside wall of the Ground Belfry structure, the Seven Big Bells were foundered by Friedrich Wilhelm Schilling, one of the best bell-founders in Germany after World War II. The Seven Big Bells were originally located in the Bell Tower Belfry, but were relocated to decrease the pressure on the Bell Tower Belfry. After all, the Seven Big Bells collectively weigh 17 tons. Recently, the Seven Big Bells rang the longest when Pope Francis visited Philippines. If my memory serves me right, they continuously made their holy sound for 12 minutes straight.
Aside from the Seven Big Bells, the Jaime L. Cardinal Sin Ground Belfry has other residents. One of which is the Manila Cathedral-Basilica (MCB) Tower Clock Mechanism. According to its marker, the MCB Tower Clock Mechanism goes with the Seven Big Bells in their previous home. Tower clock mechanism is used to sound the bells at exact times to signal the start of prayer. The MCB Tower Clock Mechanism has one clock face to show the time.
Another occupant of Jaime L. Cardinal Sin Ground Belfry is the Archbishop Gabriel M. Reyes Audio-Visual Room (AVR) Souvenir Shop. The AVR Souvenir Shop is dedicated to Most Reverend Gabriel M. Reyes, D. D., the first Filipino Archbishop of Manila who served from 1949 to 1952. In reality, the AVR is just a huge TV screen that is supposed to show the history of Manila Cathedral.
The Souvenir Shop is a haven for Manila Cathedral visitors. It offers a wide array of religious products, from rosary beads to framed images of saints. It has well-crafted small and big images of Jesus Christ, Mama Mary and Filipino saints like Lorenzo Ruiz and Pedro Calungsod. Also, it has books and other literary pieces in Filipino, English, Spanish and Italian. The shop has friendly and helpful personnel.
Manila Cathedral and Jaime L. Cardinal Sin Ground Belfry are fitting places to visit this Holy week.
For those interested to see more religious images, please read this.
Thank you to Glenn for being accommodating. Thank you, Pats for taking the photos. 🙂