Saturday, December 28, 2013

blog chain: all i want for christmas 2013

Paskong pasko, parang gusto kong sisihin si Zai sa pagta-tag sa 'kin. Haha! Kidding aside, thanks Zai for tagging me. :) 3 years and several blog chain tags after, I'm doing my first one. I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize to everyone who at one point chose to tag me only to get disappointed with my laziness. I'd also like to thank Zai again for inspiring me to finally abide to this thingamajig. And thank you dear readers for letting me carry on with my speech. I love you all! Hehehe.

Straying away from my silliness.. here are six things I want for Christmas.

1. Mitch Albom's First Phone Call from Heaven -  'Cause I'm collecting his books and this one is his new masterpiece. I cried to 'Tuesdays with Morrie", just so you know - and I don't cry easily.


2. The Perfect Denim Jacket - What are the odds that someone else will find this for me when I myself can't find it? Meehh. Well, maybe, Santa can. Or Papa Jesus?


3. Round Neck Pocket Tee in White from Charlie - I'm specific like that. :P I was about to buy it sometime last month but I got lucky - the last piece of my size was damaged. I left my phone number instead and the staff promised to send me a message when new stocks arrive. Guess what? I lost my phone a week back. For real? YES.

4. Cut-off Shorts - 'Cause I need more shorts in my life and cut-offs are sexaayyyy. ;) I'd love to have it in white, black and denim. Printed ones as sweeteners will be highly appreciated too.


5. Leather or Suede Fringed Boho Bag in Rust - Mine's retiring already, to think it's only been a year and it's freakin' Aldo. I want a new one, Santa please? But we don't have a chimney so knock on our door na lang, ha? :P


6. Phone - Please see item #3. Need I elaborate? :'(

I'm Tagging: NO ONE!
Tadaaah! 'Cause Christmas is obviously over.

Here are the rules anyway
1. Make a post entitled, "All I Want For Christmas 2013," and please use the photo above.
2. List 6 things that you want to receive as a gift.
3. Tag 3 friends who will make the same post (no tag backs).
4. Send me the link so I could check it too (optional).

Thursday, December 26, 2013

ilocos sur-ilocos norte: itinerary, expenses and some link loving ♥

Whattup guyz? As promised, here are more details on our public tour package from Parana Tours and the usual itinerary, expenses and blog post links.

Parana Tour Public Tour Package (P3750/pax, 10-12pax/van)
  • Inclusions
    • 3 Days &  2 Nights Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte Tour
    • Van Transfers, Manila-Ilocos-Manila (Brand New Toyota HiAce Commuter 15 Seaters)
    • Standard Resort Accommodations (Maria Exaltacion Lodge, Cathy's Beach Resort or Klasik Beach Resort
    • Entrance Fees & Local Guide Fees
    • Gas, Toll Fees & Driver's Meals & Accommodation
    • Taxes & Surcharges, with Official Receipt & Itinerary of the Tour
    • Freebies (side note: can't exactly remember if we had any. meeh.)
  • Reservation & Payment Details
    • Reservation fee of 1000 php per pax must be deposited at least earlier than or 2 weeks before the scheduled tour dates.
    • Send the scanned copy of deposit slip on the given email address ( attached with information chart. (side note: they'll be sending the chart as soon as you inquire.)
    • Please keep your deposit slip for it will serve as your receipt for your down payment.
    • Please settle your balance before departure on the chosen pickup point of participants (always ask for the official receipt).
    • Reservation fees are non refundable but transferable to a replacement/proxy participant.
    • In-case of a last minute back-out or no show, the participant's group will be responsible for the payment of his/her balance.
    • Reservation fees are only refundable if we cancel due to target slots were not filled (participants will be advised 3 days before the trip).
    • In-case of weather issues Parana Tours will reschedule the trip at least a week after the client’s target date.
    • Children (3-7 years old) are entitled to a 50% discount of the package price.
    • Different rate applies for foreign nationals.
    • Account Details:  7570028772 Parana Tours BDO San Pedro Rosario Branch
  • Other Reminders
    • Meals are not included for personal preferences.
    • Always remember to pack light, only 5 kilos of baggage is allowed per participant. (side note: they didn't check our baggage. :P)
    • Driver/tour coordinator's contact details will be sent 3 days before the trip thru SMS or email.
    • Print and sign the tour voucher/contract and present it to the assigned driver/tour coordinator before full payment (ask for official receipt).
    • Group tour van seating arrangement is on first come first served basis, please come early to your assigned pickup point.
  • Contact Details
    • Parana Tours
    • Blk 2 Lot 8 Phase 2-C Pacita Complex 2 San Pedro, Laguna
    • (02) 847-4415  
    • 0917-8242223 
    • 0949-1244654
itinerary from Parana Tours

Here's the catch: There were differences between our actual itinerary and the one provided by Parana. For one, we didn't get to visit the Sinking Bell Tower in Laoag. Also, we visited Bangui Windmills on the third day instead of visiting it on the first. Then the time slots. Soo.. this is where my precious stories come in. Hehehe. ✌ Check out the links below to find out what actually transpired during our 3-day Ilocos Tour. Enjoyy!!

Monday, December 23, 2013

day3: ilocos sur - calle crisologo tour

This is gonna be quick, I promise!  Nape-pressure lang naman akong tapusin itong Ilocos series ko bilang Pasko na. Well technically, Christmas is still two days from now, pero kasi parang bukas na rin yun eh. Dba? Did you get my twisted logic? Hahaha! Anyway, here's the last leg of my Ilocos Series.

From San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, we headed straight to Vigan to tour Calle Crisologo. We got there at around 3pm. We were in Vigan during our first day but I guess they purposely placed the said street last in the itinerary because it's where you can buy a lot of souvenirs and pasalubong. Who would want to tow around tons of kornik on the first day, right? Pero dahil nonconformist kami, we bought on the first day somewhere in Batac and we were poor by the time we were in Calle Crisologo. We only had dirty ice cream aside from the shirts Monique and I bought in Island Souvenirs. We took photos na lang as we strolled the street.

Calle Crisologo (and our official photographer)

foursome ❤

Googled Facts: (1) It's located in the city of Vigan, province of Ilocos Sur. (2) It is also known as Mena Crisologo Street. (3) It is covered by the Vigan Heritage Village along with Plaridel Street. (4) It is lined with Spanish Era ancestral houses and cobble-stoned streets, which led to Vigan's inscription in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. (5) Tourists can buy souvenirs and even ride a calesa (horse-drawn buggy) in Calle Crisologo.

Although we finished early, we had to wait for the others to arrive. We left Vigan at around 5pm, stopped by the popular Marsha's Delicacies and from there.. borlogs na ko. I was asleep the whole time we were in transit and I when I woke up, I was shocked to find out that we were in Trinoma {our drop-off point} already and that the other groups were alighting from the van already. I was even more surprised to find out that my friends were asleep too. Buti na lang hindi umabot sa point na gigisingin pa kami ni manong driver. Hehe. Or worse, madali kami sa garahe. Aguuuyy! We parted ways in Trinoma to finally head home and get our much deserved rest.

Up next: Our itinerary and expenses; also the complete details of the package we availed from Parana Tours. For the meantime, enjoy the holidays you guys! :*

*photos from Tiny

Sunday, December 22, 2013

day3: ilocos norte - bangui and burgos tour

day2: ilocos norte - pagudpud tour

Third day, we left Pagudpud at around 8am to visit two more municipalities of Ilocos Norte - Bangui and Burgos. We had breakfast at a random carinderia before that. I wrote it down as Mang Nards but I've been reading posts about a certain Papa Nards, so whatever. I've always been a bad blogger anyway. :P

Few minutes past Pagudpud's border, we were in Bangui WindmillsKasumpa sumpa ang init ng araw to think it wasn't even noon yet. I asked Tiny {slash Mark, am I confusing you already?} to take a few snaps of me in front of the gigantic windmills and off I escaped back to our van. I really, really abhor sweating, that's why. They were even teasing me from time to time about being fresh again 'cause I kept on fixing myself after each stop/activity. #maarteproblems

Googled facts: (1) It's located in the municipality of Bangui, province of Ilocos Norte. (2) The windmills, officially referred to as the NorthWind Bangui Bay Project, were a project by the NorthWind Development Corporation as a practice of renewable energy sources and to help reduce the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. (3) The wind farm uses 20 units of 70-metre (230 ft) high wind turbines, arranged on a single row stretching along a nine-kilometer shoreline off Bangui Bay, facing the South China Sea. (4) Phase I consists of 15 wind turbines and was inaugurated on June 18, 2005. Phase II, was completed on August 2008, and added 5 more wind turbines.

Bangui Windmills

10ish we were in Kapurpurawan We had to trek a little to get to the rock formations. The others opted to ride a horse instead but where's the fun in that? Tell meee! Hahaha! I obviously miss trekking sooo bad. Going back, I was astonished when I finally saw the rock formations. Mother Nature is the awesomest of all awesome, kung pwede lang kaming mag-fist bump! Kidding aside, Kapurpurawan is really a must see. It'll make you realize how nature has so much to offer and it's only up to us to make the most out of its surprises.

Googled facts: (1) It's located in the barangay of Poblacion, municipality of Burgos, province of Ilocos Norte. (2) The term Kapurpurawan is from the ilocano word "puraw", which means white, obviously because of its color specially on broad daylight when the sun touches the natural sculpture. (3) It was formed thousands of years ago by accumulation of particles deposited to the shore by the forces of sea waves and wind with the aid of gravity and time. It is a very long process known as sedimentation.

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

photos from this collage stolen from Keeping Traces

An hour after, we were in our next stop in Burgos - Cape Bojeador Lighthouse. Only I and the two boys went down from the van 'cause Monique was tired already. I told you, our two first stops were draining. Yung tipong feeling mo, ginagawa kang daing. Pwede ring tuyo. Hehehe. Anyway, we didn't climb up the lighthouse. I didn't know what was the guys' reason but as for me.. the Indian mangoes downstairs caught my full attention along with the different Ilocos-themed trinkets being sold. They made me forget I was with two other creatures so I wandered alone.

Googled Facts: (1) It's in the barangay of Paayas, municipality of Burgos, province of Ilocos Norte. (2) It is also known as Burgos Lighthouse. (3) It is a cultural heritage structure established during the Spanish Colonial times. (4) It was first lit on March 30, 1892, and is set high on Vigia de Nagpartian Hill overlooking the scenic Cape Bojeador where early galleons used to sail by.

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

Our last stop in Ilocos Norte was in the municipality of San Nicolas. We had lunch at Robinson's Mang Inasal. I honestly do not know whose idea was that pero sobrang bright ha, of all places. Whooaa! :P After lunch, we had to wait for the others {our van mates, remember?} to hit Ilocos Sur again. We left past 1pm but that would be for another blog post. I was kind of torn between squeezing the rest of my Ilocos stories here and watching Rain or Shine's victory over Petron Blazer. The latter obviously won. Click here to watch with me. Want some popcorn too? :)

*photos from Tiny

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

day2: ilocos norte - pagudpud tour

day1: ilocos norte - batac and paoay tour

We woke up early the next day 'cause we were supposed to start trekking Kabigan Falls at 7am. But you know how life happens sometimes and at around 7:30, we were still waiting for our Food in Apo Idon. Medyo malas talaga kami during meal times. We hurriedly finished our breakfast so past 8am, we were leaving the restaurant already. We had to wait for the others though.

Apo Idon Restaurant

9am, we were on our way to Kabigan Falls. My inner mamumundok self was rejoicing! But being the good friend that I am, I made a conscious effort to hide it a little. Don't tell her that I told you pero mamatay matay kasi sa pagod si Monique. Hahaha! Peace, teh!

The trail was really easy and we only had to walk for 30 minutes. It was just fitting 'cause I wasn't impressed with the falls. It doesn't take much to impress me when travelling; it's just that I've seen Sagada's Bomok-ok Falls already and it kind of set the standards. Sorry, Kabigan Falls. Magkabigan pa rin tayo, ha? #waley

Job, Monique and I dipped in the cold water while Tiny willingly took photos of us. Let's just say he's more of a photographer than a swimmer. *insert Boracay private jokes here* Hehehe. Monique swam all the way to the falls and since she made it to other side alive, I followed too. Booyy, it was no joke swimming against the water, for the lack of a better term, force. I made it though, I made it. ;)

Googled Facts: (1) It's in the barangay of Balaoi, municipality of Pagudpud, province of Ilocos Norte. (2) “Kabigan” was derived from the Tagalog word “Kaibigan” which means friend. The falls was given that name because the water from the river and the falls are magkaibigan. {really now?} (3) The 80-foot Kabigan Falls is accessible via a 30-minute, 1.8-kilometer hike from the national highway through a forest trail, the falls drop into a natural pool suitable for swimming.

trail on the way to the falls

Kabigan Falls

Probably because we weren't on track with the itinerary, we went to Blue Lagoon first before exploring the rest of Pagudpud - Patapat Viaduct, Bantay Abot Cave, etc. We left Kabigan at around 10:30 but it took a while before we were able to settle in Blue Lagoon. It was almost twelve when we found a nipa hut of our own. The guides suggested that we share nipa huts with the other guests but they obviously didn't like the idea - me neither, you selfish bitches. Hahaha!

On the way to Blue Lagoon, we bought lobsters for paluto. Everyone did the same so it was another waiting game for lunch. I waited in our nipa while the three of them roamed around the beach. I was starving by the time our food was served. A good mood definitely compensates, I could have run amok. Haha! I kid. :P

lunch by the beach

We wanted to try Hannah's zipline but it wasn't functioning as it should that day. The cables weren't stretched enough thus the pulley stops halfway through. Each guest will only be pulled by a staff to reach the other end of the line. And korni dba? So after lunch, the lolos slept in the nipa while Monique and I toasted ourselves under the sun for more or less an hour. I will never, ever get my fair complexion back but who cares.. YOLO! :P 

Googled Facts: (1) It's in the barangay of Balaoi, municipality of Pagudpud, province of Ilocos Norte. (2) It's also known as Maira-ira Beach as it is located in Maira-ira Point, Sitio Malingay. (3) Access to this public beach is from a secondary concrete road on the north side of the Maharlika Highway just before approaching the Patapat Viaduct.

Blue Lagoon

4ish, we left Blue Lagoon. It was a quick drive to our next destination - Bantay Abot Cave. There are two things I won't forget about the place. For one, there's a kid with muffled speech who kept on insisting that he'll be the one to take our photos. We knew he's doing that for a living so even if our driver can do that for us, we let him took a few snaps. I felt pity for the kid not just because he had to earn a living at his very young age but also because he gets bullied for the way he talks. I'm a laitera myself but there's no way I can ever poke fun at someone who has a disability. Aren't they easy to spare? On a less serious note, the other thing I won't forget was how I struggled to keep the other half of my dress in place. It's a little embarrassing. 

Googled Facts: (1) It's in the barangay of Balaoi, municipality of Pagudpud, province of Ilocos Norte. (2) In Ilocano, bantay means mountain while abot means hole, so there you go mountain hole. (3) Bantay Abot Cave is not really a cave but a hill that was wrecked by an earthquake in the 80's leaving a hole in the middle. The top of the cave is covered with lush green vegetation adding to the beauty of the cave.

Bantay Abot Cave

the other side of the 'cave'

30 minutes after, we moved to Patapat Viaduct. I was tired at that point and all I wanted was to lean on the bridge. When our driver initiated to take photos of us in the middle of the road, I passed. Tiny's the only one who was able to convince me after saying "para sa kin" in a nananakot voice. Akalain nyo yun, nasisindak din pala ako? Hehehe. Kidding aside, it was just my way of making it up to him for being our resident photographer.

Googled Facts: (1) It's located in the barangays of Balaoi and Pancian, municipality of Pagudpud, province of Ilocos Norte. (2) It is the 4th longest bridge in the Philippines. (3) This coastal bridge is elevated 31 meters above sea level and traversing a distance of 1.3 km, connecting the Maharlika Highway from Laoag, Ilocos Norte to Cagayan Valley.

Patapat Viaduct

We left around 5pm and headed to where we can buy pasalubong and souvenirs. Job and Tiny bought a picture frame decorated with windmills and said they're going to print a photo from the trip to place there. Monique said they printed photos for us but I still haven't gotten my copy. The disadvantage of leaving Eastwood. Meeeh. 

I also saw Paraiso ni Anton at the other side of the road but we didn't get to visit it, along with Bagong Lipunan. Well, at least I had a glimpse of the former. 

Paraiso ni Anton

We were back in our crib 6ish. I took a nap while the three of them checked out Saud Beach and took silhouette shots while the sun sets. At around 9pm, we went back to Apo Idon for dinner. After, I almost dozed off again but I fought for my right to freshen up before finally hitting the sack. Wheew! I'm such a lola!

*photos from the third, sixth & seventh collage from Tiny;  first photo in Kabigan & my photo in Patapat Viaduct from Tiny too

Friday, December 13, 2013

day1: ilocos norte - batac and paoay tour

It was a quick drive from Ilocos Sur to Ilocos Norte. At around 12:30pm we're in Batac already specifically in Sikat-Tuna Inihaw Restaurant. Ughh!! That restaurant! It took us more than an hour waiting for our food. If you know me that well, you might have guessed that I complained. Ha! I did! The owner ended up explaining to me what's causing the delay. Turned out, some of their employees didn't report for work that day. She apologized and it seemed sincere kaya nakalma naman ang lola nyo. Don't get me wrong though, I know I'm not the nicest person one could ever meet, but I'd like to believe I'm pretty rational. I show appreciation when it's needed but I voice it out too when I'm not getting what I deserve. Should be that simple!

welcome to Ilocos..

Past 2pm, we were in our first destination {I mean in Ilocos Norte} - Marcos Museum and Mausoleum. Taking photos inside the mausoleum is prohibited. Common sense, the departed ones deserve to be treated with our utmost respect. And the late president is getting just that. Inside the mausoleum are the presidential seal, Philippine flag, floodlights {it's dim inside}, tons of flowers, red carpet walkway and uhhm strict security. Guests should line up as they enter on one side and must keep walking towards the exit on the other side. Really quick viewing. We didn't visit the museum though.

Googled facts: (1) It's in the barangay of Lacub, city of Batac, province of Ilocos Norte. (2) The embalmed body of former president Marcos is laid out in a mattress, air-sealed in a glass coffin and lit by floodlights. (3) The odyssey of his remains began when the government of former President Corazon Aquino denied Marcos' return to the Philippines. Thus Marcos' remains was interred in a private air conditioned mausoleum at Byodo-In, a Japanese Buddhist temple, on the island of Oahu. (4) In September 1993, Marcos' remains were finally taken to the Philippines. The newly elected president Fidel Ramos, second cousin of the late president, allowed Imelda Marcos to bring her husband's body home but refused her demand for a hero’s burial.
Marcos Museum and Mausoleum

From Batac, we then headed to Paoay. We were in Paoay Church at around 2:30pm. I started with a short prayer inside then I joined them in the never ending picturan. It was even drizzling then but as the famous line goes - nothing can stop us!

Googled facts: (1) It's in the municipality of Paoay {well, obviously} and in the province of Ilocos Norte. (2) It's also known as the Church of Saint Augustine. (3) Its construction began in 1604 and was completed in 1710. (4) It's a prime example of Earthquake Baroque architecture. (5) In 1993, the church was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as one best example of the Baroque Churches in the Philippines.

Paoay Church

Next stop: Malacañang of the North. We were there 3ish. As soon as we got inside I started roaming around alone. As much as I enjoy the company of my friends, I need to be alone from time to time too. Abaa, ang laki na nga ng naimprove ko from being the socially challenged ugly little girl. Hehehe. I bumped into them accidentally in the second floor and it was the death of my me time. After the tour, we stayed a little longer around the vicinity for an empanada session, we left quarter to four.

Googled facts: (1) It's in the barangay of Suba, municipality of Paoay, province of Ilocos Norte. (2) Malacañang of the North was the residence of late president Ferdinand Marcos and his family when they are in the north. (3) After Marcos was deposed in 1986 and died a few years later, the palace was transformed into a museum of the late president’s memorabilia. (4) It is now managed by the Department of Tourism.

ang dumi ng salamin. bow

Malacañang of the North

Our last, and my favorite destination.. Sand Dunes! Yeeyyy!! Sabi naman sa inyo adventurous ako eh. Kayo lang kasi, ayaw nyo maniwala. I swear it was my favorite among the eleven places that we visited, restaurants included. I remember how I felt exactly; I can't contain my excitement. Then, in a snap of a finger, I was pissed. We were assigned an ugly 4x4 ride, and I don't mean the bulok kind of ugly, it was ugly in a way that it doesn't look like the usual 4x4. While the boys were okay with it, Monique and I sneakily turned into little monsters and insisted on what we want. Sorry, boys! A girl's got to do what a girl's got to do. ;)

Googled facts: (1) 4x4 ride is more correctly called as off-roading. (2) Off-roading is the activity of driving or riding a vehicle on unsurfaced roads or tracks, made of materials such as sand, gravel, riverbeds, mud, snow, rocks, and other natural terrain. (3) Dune Bashing is a form of off-roading on sand dunes.

How was my dune bashing experience like? It was a thrill of a lifetime!! Yes, I've done other risky activities in the past, but this one.. this one?? Parang kasalanan ko kung mamamatay ako. Haha! All manong driver had to do was to drive {and make it exciting} while us, his passengers, kinailangan naming magkapit tuko para manitilang buhay. Hahaha! Ang hirap nun ha! Kidding aside, it didn't scare me at all, it's just that.. ang hirap talaga kumapit. Hehehe.

Paoay Sand Dunes

Our next activity was sandboarding. It wasn't originally included in the package that we paid for pero nagmakaawa kame kay manong driver. Bukod sa sadyang busilak ang puso nya, nangako na rin kame ng pordaboys. Hehehe. We agreed to lessen the time of our 4x4 adventure in exchange of a quick sandboarding experience - two tries each exactly.

Having said we only had two tries each, syempre hindi successful ang sandboarding stint ko. I'm a self-confessed slow learner when it comes to physical activities but I make up for it through perseverance. Unfortunately, hindi ako nakapagpersevere this time bilang limited ang bonding moment namin ni manong. Nakooo, nadagdagan na naman ang frustrations ko sa buhay. I suggest you watch the videos below to understand how much of a failure I am. Hahaha!

first try

second try

'cause you have to be able to laugh at yourself ❤

After almost an hour and a half of messing with the sand, we headed to Saud, Pagudpud to check-in. We bought food on the way 'cause apparently there's nowhere we can buy food from in Saud that late. We had roasted chicken and rice. We borrowed utensils from our accommodation and ate in the front porch. Comfiest meal of the day - oh well, I was in pajamas.

Speaking of our accommodation, it wasn't bad at all. I knew it was going to a budget one as it's included in the package but it was surprisingly good enough. We were only four in the group but the room we got can squeeze in up to six people, seven even. Monique and I shared the bigger bed while Job and Mark shared the double deck.

Here's a funny story: Supposedly, Job will use the upper bunk and Mark, the lower bunk. Then we heard Job ask for a blanket from Mark. The latter gave the blanket obviously annoyed. Turned out, there was only one blanket in their bed. Job found out and felt guilty so ang ending? Tabi rin sila natulog. Haha! I swear I'll never forget how they exchanged lines. I was so amused with the two as usual. Hehe. ✌

We chitchatted our way to sleep and that was the end of our first day in Ilocos. Ang sarap lang matulog ng hindi nagsisiksikan, see previous post. :P

*vids & photos from Tiny except for those in the first & second collage; and my selfie too

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

day1: ilocos sur - santa, bantay and vigan tour

Breaking news: I finally got the photos from our Ilocos trip last May. I'll do the math for you, that's seven freakin' months ago! 

We availed Parana Tours' services. That's P3750 per pax for 3 days and 2 nights, public tour. Meaning we shared our ride with strangers and explored Ilocos together like oneee biigggg happy family. Oops, I wasn't able to hold back that sarcasm. :P I'll post more details on their public tour package towards the end of my Ilocos series, along with our itinerary and expenses. That's my subtle way of forcing you to stick with me until I'm done. Desperate moves by yours truly.

We left Manila Thursday night. We were fetched in Trinoma at 9pm and after an hour, we were off to Ilocos. The bloopers made the 8-hour drive entertaining. Up until now, we make fun of each others mishaps that night. For one, Tiny's seat {rightmost, last row} didn't have a backrest. Imagine how difficult it is to sleep in a moving van tapos wala ka pang sandalan. Nakooo, trahedya! He kept on cracking jokes about his unfortunate situation but it didn't surprise me that he wasn't seriously mad about it. He's honestly one of the calmest person I've ever met. Naks!

I myself had issues too. I kept on whining the next morning how I wasn't able to sleep comfortably 'cause Job was leaning on me. I even bent forward once para mahulog na lang sya. Hahaha! Apparently, he remembered that. Buking ang sama ng ugali ko. Monique on the other hand was complaining that I was leaning on her too and that she can feel both mine and Job's weight. Guys, yung totoo? Magkakaibigan ba talaga tayo? :P


We arrived at our first destination as planned - 5:30ish. It was Quirino Bridge also known as Banaoang Bridge. It was damn cold when we went out of the van. I lasted for a few minutes outside then I found myself rummaging through my stuff for my cardigan. Hehehe. Brrr!!

Googled facts: (1) It's in the barangay of Banaoang, municipality of Santa and province of Ilocos Sur. (2) It was named Quirino Bridge after the late president Elpidio Quirino. (3) It connects the municipalities of Santa and Bantay {our next destination}. (4) It crosses over Abra River.

Quirino Bridge/Banaoayan Bridge

Looking at the itinerary, our second destination was supposedly Hidden Garden. Can't remember what exactly happened but at around 6am our lazy asses were climbing the stairs of Bantay Bell Tower. We stayed there for a while bilang sayang naman yung inakyat namin then we eventually went down to make way for the other guests. We hammed for the camera as soon as we got down. Can I just say I love my hair in the next set of photos? :)

Googled facts: (1) It's in the municipality of Bantay, province of Ilocos sur. (2) Its church, Bantay Parish, is also known as St. Augustine Parish and Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de la Caridad. (3) They were built by Augustinian Friars, the church in 1590 and the bell tower in 1591. (4) The bell tower is said to be used as a watchtower for invading enemy forces during World Wars I and II.

Bantay Bell Tower

Finally at around 7am, it's breakfast time!! We ate at Lilong and Lilang Restaurant inside Hidden Garden. Hidden Garden pa ang tawag, dami dami naman nakakahanap. Tse! Hahaha! That's my poor sense of humor right thurr!

Anyway, I wasn't impressed with my meal, much more with their service. We waited too long for our food and it wasn't even worth waiting for. The only thing I was thankful for was that I got to freshen up. Not just the hilamos kind of freshen up, I took a half bath for P75 - towel and soap included.  I needed to put my hair in a bun from that point forward because Ilocos was already starting to toast us.

Googled facts: (1) It's in the barangay of Bulala, city of Vigan, province of Ilocos Sur. (2) It was originally opened as a garden store in the early seventies then eventually transformed to a full-blown restaurant. (3) Here's their official website: Hidden Garden Vigan

Hidden Garden
Lilong and Lilang Restaurant

9ish, we were in Baluarte. The first thing we did there was to ride a kalesa. After all, it's free. Plus the horses didn't stink! Halleluiah! We visited the butterfly garden next. You'll hardly be in awe if you've been to Bohol's Simply Butterfly Conservation Center. We also had a close encounter with a snake. Job and Monique carried it, Tiny tried but jumped out of fear {Hahaha! Peace, Tiny! :*} and me? I'm the greatest of them all. I didn't even touch it. Bleeh. :P There's this colorful bird too that they bravely placed on their shoulders. Me? The greatest of them all? I just stood beside it for a photo op then ran away from it as fast as I could. Eeep!

Googled facts: (1) It's in the barangay of Salindeg, city of Vigan, province of Ilocos Sur. (2) It's owned by Chavit Singson, the governor of Ilocos Sur. (3) It started off as a rest house back in 1991 with domestic animals like monkeys, chickens, large lizards and rare bird species. It was then developed to accommodate more guests. (4) More on their official website: Chavit Singson's Baluarte


Butterfly Garden

After an hour, we moved to Crisologo Museum. I'll admit I'm not a fan of walking around museums and other 'chill lang' activities but it's still worth visiting. Not just for the heck of it, not just for photos sake, pero yun man lang may maiuwi ka na kahit konting additional knowledge. Kahit konti lang naman. Hehehe. I especially loved how the guide inside was so accomodating. She's an old woman who probably witnessed the history of the Crisologo family so you can really feel how passionate she is with what she's doing. Hats off to lola!

Googled facts: (1) It's in the city of Vigan, province of Ilocos Sur. (2) The museum used to be the residence of Floro Crisologo {a congressman} and his family. (3) They turned their home into a museum after Floro Crisologo's assassination. (4) The museum is still managed by the Crisologo clan along with the National Historical Institute and National Museum of the Philippines.

Crisologo Museum
alam kaya nila na kay CARMELING yung name plate??

We didn't stay long at Crisologo Museum so at around 10:20am, we were already in our next stop - Burnayan. It was also a quick visit. We watched a jar making demo, took photos in front of the finished jar, stayed outside for a while then off we go. In between, I had a quick chat with another aged woman. She told me that the broken jars are being sold and used in salt drying. I was moved by how nice she was to me. Are Ilocanos known for being sweet? Wait, lemme ask my father.

Googled facts: (1) It's in the barangay of Pagburnayan, city of Vigan, province of Ilocos Sur. (2) Burnay means earthen jars. (3) The jars are used for storing locally made vinegar, local wine (called basi), and fish sauce (bagoong); and as decorative ware.

Mark's edit. Sowshaal noh?

Quarter to eleven, we were leaving Ilocos Sur already to spend half of the day in Ilocos Norte. That would be for another post though cause mom's been calling me for dinner.

*photos from Tiny