Nine sleepless hours has passed already since we left Manila at around 9:45pm to the north of Luzon, and I could hardly believe I’m still energetic! I never even felt the slightest urge to lie down and doze off for hours and hours in the van.I did try closing my eyes but I couldn’t help myself to look at the window every now and then. I don’t know why, it could be due to the excitement of seeing Ilocos once again, and with more destinations this time from Ilocos Sur to Ilocos Norte. Plus I got more perked up seeing a lot of vehicles heading north like us,it made me realize that a lot of tourists both foreign and local are drawn to the much talked about sights that the northern Philippines has to offer.
We arrived at Ilocos Sur at around 5:30am, and I could already see that faint light in the horizon signalling that the summer sun is coming out very soon. And I know that in less than an hour we’ll be very near our first stop too. And yes, before even the sun came out of the mountains, we already reached the very first destination of our Ilocandia adventures!
Now here are the first set of photos and some significant details of the places we’ve been to from our trip:
Bantay Belfry and Saint Augustine Church:
The picturesque bell tower in an elevated mound is called the Bantay Belfry because it is located in the Bantay district of Vigan along the national highway. It It was built in 1591, and is said to be a watchtower that helps in alerting the town against possible enemies.
Within the grounds of the belfry is the maroon and white, neo-gothic St. Augustine Church which was built in 1590 and still well preserved. It is said that the grounds of these historical edifices are where Diego Silang and his troops were said to have fought the Spaniards circa 1763.
This complex is owned by Mr. Chavit Singson, a well-loved son of Vigan who is very well known in the Philippine political scene. Baluarte which means bastion or stronghold in english is where the former governor’s multi-storey house with golden glass windows is located in a private area within this multi hectare tract of land. The imposing home offers a grand view of Vigan and the South China Sea. However, the area open to the public has plenty more attractions to offer. There are cages for tigers; and colorful birds like parrots, geese and peacocks; reptiles such as iguanas and snakes; as well as deers and goats. There are also small horses with carriages for visitors to ride. But for me the main attraction that day would be the ostrich roaming free who doesn’t seem to care while people are somewhat scared and are trying to stay clear of his/her path haha!
Floro S. Crisologo was a congressman who authored the laws behind the creation of the North’s first state university, the University of Northern Philippines, and the establishment of the Social Security System.
On a Sunday in October 1970, Congressman Crisologo was shot in the head by an unidentified gunman while he was inside the St. Paul’s Cathedral. His family made sure that the life and death of their patriarch will not be forgotten through the establishment of the Crisologo museum.This large ancestral house is a sort of a time machine which offers a peek at the Crisologo family’s affluent life at home in the past through their well preserved antique collections and mementos from books, dresses, shoes, framed photographs, to perfume bottles. Aside from these curios it also reminds people about the Crisologos fateful past through a bloodied garment of the late congressman, and an old rusty chevy where his wife Carmeling ( former Governor) was unsuccessfully ambushed in 1961.
The earthenware jars made from grade -A clay abundant in western part of Vigan is called burnay, and are much sought-after by foreign and local visitors. The industry of burnay making dates back to pre-colonial times when immigrants from China came to settle in Vigan.It is made with just the use of the potter’s skillful hands,pottery wheel and kiln. Its earlier use were for salt and brown sugar containers, tea drinking,water, as well as local wine (basi) and bagoong (fermented fish) which locals say tasted better when stored in burnays.
Now these are just the first set of our Ilocos adventures. Interesting isn’t it? The next set will be on my next post very soon!. 🙂