Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Viaje Ilocandia | Old Vigan

It is not my first time to breath in the Ilocos air. Right after our first Baguio trip in 1996 we drove our way to Laoag City, Ilocos Norte. I was only 4 back then so I remember only a tip of the iceberg, the road trip, few walks, old ancestral house, old people, and fields too. Too much little for a big story.

April 14, 2010 - At exactly 9 in the evening, the Florida bus left the terminal at EspaƱa blvd. in Manila. My friend already made a reservation so the seats are no more a problem. The bus is fully equipped with TV, comfortable seats and a restroom. Not bad for a 600 peso fare from Manila to Paoay, Ilocos Norte. Extremely excited, inexplicable feeling, my first major trip without my parents.

Wih, Roan and me
us at Marsha's

Me, Wih, Roan, and Bon will be staying at the house of lola Maming, Majo's lola, at Paoay, Ilocos Norte. Lots of expectations, stranger to their place. We slept all night, "it will be a very long trip" said Majo. Around 12 midnight, we were at Hacienda Luisita, Tarlac. Then I slept again in my chilling seat. I woke up, not noticing the time, when the bus stopped at Marsha's Delicacies. We grabbed the opportunity when there were too few people aboard, took pictures and drained my bladder. Then I slept again. It is getting brighter outside, the passengers are starting to unload the bus. We're a few minutes away from our destination.      

April 15, 2010 - Day 1
We were in front of the Paoay Town hall when we went down the bus around 6 AM and Lola Maming's house is a few minutes distance from this place. Our ride was there already waiting for us. Majo's uncle then drove us to their house and for the first time, I saw the UNESCO World Heritage Site old Paoay Church, I was astonished. Finally we reached the house, the Abundo family welcomed us warmly.  

relaxed and overjoyed

First things first, we had our breakfast in an Ilocano way. Flavorful longganisa, crispy bagnet, steaming rice, and a cup of hot chocolate. Yum, the best way to start your busy day. The next thing we did is planning. We planned our activities for the day, our destinations, our trip.

Our first destination, Old Town Vigan.

10 o'clock AM, we left for Vigan City. At first, I thought the Paoay-Vigan distance is as far as Manila-Alabang distance, but it is way more than than that. We can't do anything but sleep during the long road trip.

We reached Vigan by 12 noon while the sun was at its peak. It was lunch time so we went to McDo for fast food. At the counter, the lady asked my orders in Ilocano, of course I don't understand so I talked to her in Tagalog. After we had lunch, the Vigan tour commenced.   

our pilot and Majo's uncle
Bon in front of Vigan Cathedral
For 300 pesos per 3 persons we rode a kalesa.

First stop, The Bantay Bell Tower. A donation box is placed at the entrance, any amount will do. It is an old bell tower, very well preserved on top of a hill. I have not seen a marker there so I cant tell the history behind this tower. I even tried to open the gates but its locked, there's no way I can view Vigan from top of tower. So we just jumped around, took pictures and we're ready to go to our next stop.

us with manong kuchero
the groto
at the foot of the tower
the Bantay Bell tower
Manong kuchero then brought us to our next stop, at Burnayan (local pottery). I guess its their lunch break, no one's out to make clay pots, bad timing for us. But they have a souvenir stand, booh yeah, souvenir shirts. The quality shirts cost 150-250 pesos.  

A few whip on the horse and we're on our 3rd stop, the Hidden Garden. I'm a biologist so I do appreciate this vast collection of plants. They have a restaurant there but too expensive for us who have a very tight budget.
Ivan at burnayan
the hidden garden
Wih and the well
Then to our final stop, the Calle Crisologo. We were completely stunned by this old place. It's another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walking through this street is like having a glimpse on a 16th Century Spanish Colonial town. It is indeed the oldest, best preserved example of a Spanish colonial city in the Philippines. I got goosebumps when I first saw this place. The only bad thing is that the museums were not open. Though we still enjoyed the place by just strolling around and taking tons of pictures.

the Calle Crisologo

great place, great smile

seems lost in time

kalesa ride

The kalesa took us again to Vigan Cathedral at around 3 PM, end of our tour.

At 3:30 PM, the Abundo car fetched us. We're now heading to the city zoo, The Baluarte. This 80 hectares land, owned by Governor Singson harbors a number of different species of animals. I became so thrilled by the animals moving around freely, I thought they were trained so well. So I posed beside a hornbill, without thinking that it almost bit my head.  I also fed a camel, I was snapped by doing so. Majo's uncle treated us with a round ride of the horse-drawn cart.

Roan in Baluarte

the hungry camel

me, Roan and the horse
Dino in Baluarte

Before the clock strikes 5, we were on our way back to Paoay. We really had a great time in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.

On our way back, we stopped by the Pangil beach. The reefs there are a great spot for sunset viewing. I even discovered a brittle star haven. We waited there 'til 6. A very nice way to relieve one's self from the stress of the day.

Pangil Beach Sunset
dancing silhouette of Roan and Majo 
Bon and Wih

Brittle star

Before the day finally ends, we had a great mirienda in front of the old Paoay church. A yummy special miki. And there we saw a historical figure.  

 End of Day 1.

Viaje Ilocandia | Old Vigan - Part 1
Viaje Ilocandia | Going Up- Part 2
Viaje Ilocandia | Food Trip Day - Part 3
Viaje Ilocandia | Pasalubong Express - Last Part
Untold Story | Stange Encounter

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