Calesa in Vigan
I was so happy to see this set of photos while organizing all my photo files in the computer. It was December 2004, not sure exactly when but I think it was after Christmas, when my auntie took us to join her with her family-in-law in a trip to Ilocos Region. I don’t really remember our exact itinerary but it covered the provinces of Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte. All I know is that we visited a number of old churches which this region is famous for.
My Aunt and Uncle and their Alipores minus me at Pagudpud Beach
We left Manila midnight to arrive in Ilocos early morning. One big bus was rented for the whole Del Mundo family plus guests like us. It was uneventful journey as everyone tried to get as much sleep as possible for the hectic schedule in Ilocos. Of course a family trip wouldn’t be complete without the occasional chikahan. Good thing, our bus was equipped with tv and video player so there were movies and videoke sessions along the way.
Our first stop was Ilocos Sur. I can’t remember our exact itinerary but we stayed over night in this province. Compared to Ilocos Norte, interesting spots in this province can be covered in just one whole day. We visited old churches, the Baluarte Zoo of Gov. Singson, Burnay Pottery Village and tried the yummy Ilokano delicacies.
Sta. Maria Church, Ilocos Sur
Singson’s Baluarte Zoo
Of course, a trip to Ilocos Sur wouldn’t be complete without the Vigan Heritage Village tour in a calesa. The Vigan Heritage Village is a UNESCO Heritage Site. It is a cluster of old Spanish houses and depicts the typical Filipino town during the Spanish time. A tour in this village is like travelling in a time machine that takes you back to the colonial times… old stone houses, cobbled streets, and calesas. At night time, some old houses turn into restaurants offering authentic Ilokano dishes. Below are some of the photos of the Vigan Heritage Village.
The next day, we left Ilocos Sur and travelled to Ilocos Norte for a 2D/1N stay. Unfortunately, I don’t quite remember this part of the tour. If not for these photos, I wouldn’t remember anything. But one thing I can remember clearly is our visit to the Marcos Mausoluem. Too bad, taking pictures was not allowed inside. But seeing the body of Pres. Marcos was very interesting.
Speaking of Marcos, we visited the Malacanang of the North which was the official residence of Pres. Marcos in his home province of Ilocos Norte. Touring the entire mansion makes you realize the penchant of Imelda Marcos on having a luxurious lifestyle. At the back is the Paoay Lake which is a major lake in the province.
Malacanang of the North
Ilocos Norte is home to the beautiful old churches in the country. Most of these churches are grand baroque-style churches. We visited many old churches and seemed like each town has one grand church. Sadly, I was not able to take photos of every church that we visited perhaps due to the limited memory and battery power of the digital camera which was still rare at that time. But I am happy that I was still able to take photo of two beautiful churches in the province — Sarat and Paoay Churches.
Sarat Church is a neo-classical and baroque-style church in the town of Sarat, Ilocos Norte which is the birth place of Pres. Marcos. The facade of the church is made of baked red-bricks and is facing a river which becomes a favorite place of locals during summer. Aside from its architecture, the Church is also famous as the wedding church of Imee Marcos, the daughter of Pres. Marcos and now governor of the province. People compared the grandiose of that wedding to Prince Charles’ wedding to Princess Diana
The most prominent of all churches in the Ilocos Region is the Paoay Church. This Augustinian Church is a UNESCO Heritage Site for its gothic, baroque and oriental architecture. Some even say that it has Javanese element just like the Borobudor in Indonesia. Unfortunately, the Church was close that day so I was not able to get photo of the interior of the church.
We also visited Pagudpud Beach which is called the “Boracay of the North.” It is a long stretch of white sand beach but its sand is not as close to the powdery white sand beach of the original Boracay. The waves were big when we visited the place and the water was cold though not cold for the kids who are deprived of warm waters in the US… hehe! I didn’t play in the beach much as I was quite paranoid then because of the Asian Tsunami that hit South Asia few days after this trip.
Big waves at Pagudpud Beach
Our last stop for this trip before going back to Manila was the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in the town of Burgos. It was built in 1892 and considered to be the highest lighthouse in the country. It was interesting to go up the top of the lighthouse that overlooks the vast South China Sea.
Cape Bojeador Lighthouse
This was a very tiring but fun trip. It was my first time to visit this region and I was very impressed with the history, culture and natural wonders of Ilocos Region. Looking at the photos that I took that time makes me want to go back to Ilocos and take photos of these wonderful sights with my better camera. I know I will be back in the future and I will make sure that I will take a shot of every place in Ilocos.