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


Aiza said...

Kulit mong mag blog! Nakakatuwa at nakakaaliw. hehehe. :)

I miss Ilocos na! Looking forward for your 2nd post.

ZaiZai said...

Wow Ilocos! I have always dreamt of going on an Ilocos tour :)

The package seems reasonably priced - though I could imagine how difficult it is sleeping in a van tapos nag dadaganan pa kayo hehe :)

Lovely pics as always! Looking forward to day 2 :)

Czarina Mae said...

OMG you make me really want to visit these places and other countrysides in the Philippines. Hehe. Can't wait for the next parts of your trip!

Melgie Campbell said...

I never been to Ilocos, but after reading your blog and seeing those fun pictures.. It makes me wanna go there now. I love your blog!. Do you mind following each other? Let me know
http://pinayexplorer21.blogspot.com or
You can follow both blogs if you want. I'm waiting

Olivr said...

ilocos is the heaven of the north. been there nung elem at hs days ko. pero nalayo nung college dahil sa south luzon na nag-aral. I missed the good ol'days. :)

Olivr said...

ilocos is the heaven of the north. been there nung elem at hs days ko. pero nalayo nung college dahil sa south luzon na nag-aral. I missed the good ol'days. :)

Joy said...

Hi! Dropping by to thank you for visiting and following. Seems that you had a very nice together with your friends. Keep in touch:)

Irene said...

Looks like you had a lot of fun even if it was such a long trip! :-)

Shayne ♥ said...

my parents hometown is in ilocos norte so ive been there countless times na ^^ im excited to see your next post. i hope you went to the old malacanang palace and fort ilocandia, its a nice place to shoot OOTDs haha ^^

June | Life and Spices said...

Hahahaha, bawing bawi ka sakin ngayon! Tawa ako ng tawa sa post mo.

I can imagine the stress of travelling for 10 hrs tas di kagandahan upuan mo.. Ansarap manapak.

Tas tru the food at Hidden Garden is not that great. Yung tipong mairaus mo lang ang gutom mo.

At the HAIR?? hahahaha,

Jhanz said...

Ang sexy naman! :D Hehe! Gusto ko din maglagalag sa Ilocos!

Melgie Campbell said...

Hello! Thank you for following my blog, I followed you back. Keep on touch! Apple:)

Apple Borbon said...

@miss 'c. thanks sis! oo nga, nakakamiss ang ilocos.

@zaizai. ilocos was worth the difficult transit. it's a must-visit, i promise. :)

@czarina mae. you should, it's more fun in the philippines. hehe

@melgie campbell. yaay! thanks dearie.

@olivr. you should visit ilocos again. :)

Apple Borbon said...

@joy. i will po.

@irene. thanks for dropping by. i'll visit your blog later. :)

@shayne. malacanang of the north, yes. fort ilocandia, no. sayang naman. it wasn't in the itinerary eh. :(

@june. isang karangalan ang mapatawa ka rin. hahaha.

@jhanz. goooo. :)

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