Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Travel Diary: Ilocos Sur Day 1

Went back to Ilocos after more than a decade! I can still remember the memories during my first visit back when I was 8 or 9 years old. Yes there are some changes, they're inevitable; but the culture and old time feels remain the same. I love Ilocos because of its beautiful sites, historical places and food!

The first place we visited was the Bantay Bell Tower. Built in 1591, the tower is said to serve as the community’s lookout point to alert them of possible enemies during the 1st and 2nd World War. It became more popular to local tourists because some scenes of the well-known Filipino movie, “Panday” starring the late Fernando Poe Jr., were shot at the said place.

The hole is where FPJ removed the sword. The production team just widen it out for the sword to perfectly fit in it so that the scene would be more realistic.

Also on the same place, few meters away from the tower, is the Baroque and Gothic inspired architecture of St. Augustine Chapel. Considered as one of the oldest parishes in Ilocandias, the church houses the miraculous image of the Virgin Mary (Nuestra SeƱora de La Caridad) and St. Augustine of Hippo the Doctor of Grace.

Another church we visited was the St. Paul Cathedral. Its architecture is also Baroque inspired. The main purpose of such is to strengthen the structure against earthquakes. The fact that the church’s original interior walls have remained complete is a proof that the architectural design is effective. Neo-Gothic, pseudo-Romanesque and Chinese craftsmanship can also be observed.

Always remember: When paying a visit in a church for the first time, make a wish.

Cool tricycles I saw while walking along the street. That red bumper tho!!

After visiting churches, we then headed to my favourite place in Vigan, the Heritage Village. Wikipedia says “it is one of the few Hispanic towns left in the Philippines, and is well known for its cobblestone streets, and a unique architecture that fuses Philippine and Oriental building designs and construction, with colonial European architecture.” This particular street only allows one type of vehicle to pass through it: Kalesa.

Battle of the old school and modern vehicles. The latter had to give way.

View while riding Kalesa. The kutchera that took us to different places is the same kutchera that accompanied Kris Aquino during her Kris RealiTV in Vigan. I JUST HAVE TO SHARE IT.

Manang (their version of “ate” or “nay” – our terms of endearment to random people) first took us to Burgos Museum. It is the ancestral house of Fr. Jose Burgos. It contains memorabilia of the martyr priest with preserved collection of archaeological equipment and antique collections of historical events in the Philippines.

Coffins during the old times. It is said that when a body cannot fit in it, it has to be chopped into parts. RUTHLESS.

Ilocos Hall of Fame. Contains photos of well-known contributors and heroes of Ilocos.

Replica of Garrote - the instrument used in the execution Padre Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos and Jacinto Zamora (GOMBURZA).

Dining area. That thing hanging on the ceiling served as fan - the household help pulls the string attached to it to produce air. Only nobles had it back then.

Dirty kitchen. All the equipment present here are real ones used by the Burgos family. The pot hanging in between the window and door served as refrigerator. It is hanging on purpose: to cool the food (there's a direct airflow from the window on the left part of the photo, not seen though) and to prevent ants from reaching the food.

Crisologo Museum. This used to be the residence of Floro “Flor” Crisologo, a former congressman who worked towards the approval of the Tobacco Law and the institution of the Social Security System, and his family. In memory of him, his family decided to to turn his home into a museum which contains his memorabilia such as items relating to his murder (he was assassinated at Vigan Cathedral while standing on the communion line. The murder remains unsolved and is believed to be politically related.)

I can still remember the first time I had my picture taken with this caruaje! We were still using film camera back then..

Governor Carmeling Crisologo was ambushed but survived in this car on May 10, 1961 at Bacsil, San Juan, Ilocos Sur.

Owned by Chavit Singson, Baluarte is a mini zoo that houses endemic animals from Philippines and abroad. I love that the animals are freely moving around the area and are all tamed! We are lucky enough to arrive just in time for the animal show! The place is continuously being improved.

This road runner kept on pecking on air, as if catching an invisible prey.

Photo opt with Peter Parker himself channeling the Growling Tigers

Paoay Church has got to be my most favourite of all the churches we visited. I just love everything about it – from architectures, interiors and all. It was selected by UNESCO World Heritage Site as one best example of the Baroque Churches of the Philippines.

These buttresses on the side and back part of the church are the main highlights of the structure. It's the same as those of Cambodia's temples. I almost posted a pic with the caption "here at Cambodia." LOL

We then went to Paoay Sand Dunes. Ahh one of the best parts of this trip! Rode on a 4x4 and roamed around the sand dunes! I left my camera and cellphone coz I thought it would be risky so here’s the only photo I’ve got! We stopped in the middle of our ride to try Sand Boarding. I enjoyed a lot!! I stumbled and all but it was awesome! I wish I had photos to share! Ahhh regrets of not bringing my camera with me.

Ended our first night by swimming at the pool in our hotel. <3

Can't wait to share my 2nd and 3rd day of adventure!!


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