June 6, 2011

North bound trip

It was just another ‘Out of the blue invite from a good friend… but that North bound trip was pretty well an answer to a prayer.

All I ever desire back then was to ‘take hold of freedom’ and ‘experience how it feels like to be free’ (again) even in the simplest way that I could. I wanted a break from the life I had... from the path I’ve chosen. My life was a mess and everyday felt like a waste then. Prior to our unplanned get-away, I had already challenged myself to go to a place I’ve never been my entire life (I should be alone) to prove that I still had the nerve to be me—that I can make my own decision… that I can still meet and talk to people…that there is life other than mine…

The travel was good but unfortunately the way of life remained just the same back home...but still, My stay at Vigan was a really good experience. I enjoyed and I managed to set my burdens aside--felt so free when I was there.

Vigan, a city influenced by the Spaniards (?!?). Believe it or not that was my first time to hear "VIGAN CITY". I never knew the place exists. ( because I never paid attention to my history and geography class!) So I was a little bit surprised when I heard from the man inside the ticket booth that it is a ten-hour bus ride from where we were (Quezon City).

The excitement was there in the face of being a stranger. The first thing I asked myself was “Is this Vigan?” The place was a typical of a small town having regular folks…it was around six in the morning when we arrived. From the bus terminal, a tricycle rode us to Grandpa’s Inn, a charming old residence that was converted to accommodate travelers and guest. It only cost us 800php/night (I think) for a decent room with amenities that includes a clean comfort room, two comfortable beds, a ceiling fan, and a television—good enough for us.

*traveling back in time, sometime in December 2009*

Shanna’s itinerary is of great help, we know where to go and what to do thus maximizing our stay with a whole lot of fun .And this proved me wrong... Vigan is not at all a typical town.

Indeed a very convenient checklist...
I know! I said it was unplanned...it really was
but that doesn't mean one of us did not anticipate a North bound trip.
Having a checklist is a good idea.
So let the tour begin...
 Calle Crisologo
We enjoyed the walk through the four blocks of cobblestone streets lined with heritage houses. I never really realized the "four blocks of cobblestone" until I read the city's commercial site on-line.
The houses are simple but very detailed in architecture which have been turned into stores and museum...
you can visit the street anytime you wanted but for me it was great during evening when the street transformed into 18th century-like ambiance.whoa! Time travel!!!
in addition, it is also nice because the place is cozy for lovers...sweet :)
Vigan Houses, most was converted to commercial buildings. We never really ate at famous resto and fast food. We contented ourselves eating in Carinderias which served famous Vigan foods (especially longganisa and Lutong-bahay foods--very Pinoy) in cheap amount. 60php already mean a heavy meal... a very heavy meal...
Calesa ride
A fun ride around the city and the surrounding town.
We paid 300php for (more than) three-hour service, worth it!
we're lucky enough to meet a friendly cochera who then became our tour guide for no extra charge...
In general, Locals of Vigan are very accommodating... it's like a home away from home.
the governor's fortress owned by Gov. Chavit Singson
I think  the place was still on the process to improvement during our visit...
It  features a mini zoo with exotic animals and the one I enjoyed--butterfly garden!!!, 
a small calesa... yes! having a small horse... a donkey I think, gave us a free-ride so we can get closer with some of the free animals like deers and ostrich...scary though but still fun
Father Burgos Museum 
The ancestral home of Father Burgos, one of the three martyrs who died by strangulation 
Inside were well taken memorabilia and photographs, family antiques, Father Burgos’ quarters and a mini library containing his student Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere which we argued if it is authentic. 
We were, by the way, guided by a tourism graduating student.
These men showed us how a burnay is made while we talked to the owner.
Accordingly jars were not only for decors but also useful among salt-making business as their storage...

"The making of burnay is done with just the use of the potter’s skillful hands and use of pottery wheel and kiln. Fine sand is used to temper the clay, which once fashioned into the desired shape is placed inside high-temperature ground kilns made from brick and clay."
Shrine of our Lady of Charity
Saint Agustine Parish Church
One of the oldest churches of Ilocos Sur
Since it was my first time I offered a little prayer...  
Bantay Belfry/ The famous bell tower
I've seen pictures of friends beside the bell but I never knew it was in Vigan...
located in the Bantay district of Vigan 
It was said to be the people’s watchtower, part of the city’s defense that helps in alerting it against possible enemies.
At the top of the tower I was amazed by the panoramic view of the Vigan community...
I'm so in love with the place
This garden is no longer a secret to us...a private-owned tourist attraction that displays and sell very expensive variety of plants, serves coffee, and a good hang-out too.
 Crisologo Museum
The last of all the Museums we visited owned and maintained by Crisologo family

Villa Angela Heritage House

Again, I never knew the history of the place until the visit. They said, Tom Cruise was one of their guests (not really a big deal to me). Then it also display the wooden carriage used by Irene Marcos on her wedding.

A visit to Vigan will not be complete without tasting its famous Vigan empanada and Royal bibingka...
Empanada cost thirty-five pesos each which is quite expensive for me to have as many to fill my hunger

After a day of tour...We had a little good time at the bar then transferred at Grandpa's resto because there was one not-so-kind-woman who pissed us.
  And here's more of the fun we had...

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