Ilocos Sur: Bantay Church Bell Tower

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Ilocos Sur: Bantay Church Bell Tower

We traveled to Ilocos last May 2015.

Part of our Vigan itinerary is to go to Bantay Church Bell Tower which is located within the compound of Saint Augustine Parish Church or more well known as Bantay Church.

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The compound is spacious. There’s a lot of people when we went there though, so you have to wait in line to take a picture against the bell tower. We were not able to go up the belfry itself since it’s very hot at that time and we have tagged along kids with us.

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The church itself is very old. I did some research and it is said to have been built from the 1500s. You can very well see from its stone walls that it has stood the test of time.

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You will also find Chapel by the Ruins at the back of the church. It’s an open area, more of a garden where one can meditate in peace.

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After our tour inside the church, we went straight to a small ‘panciteria’ just right outside the gate of the church. They sell pancit delicacies of the north. We tried batil patong, it is very delicious and affordable! This large bilao which is already good for 6-8 persons only cost us under P200.00.

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Notes that can come handy, parking is available and there’s a working toilet inside the church’s compound.

Again, travel happened May 2015. Details may vary from present time.

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Vigan, Ilocos Sur: Dancing Lights

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Vigan, Ilocos Sur: Dancing Lights

One of the many interesting sights during our Ilocos trip last May 2015.

The Dancing Lights of Vigan is located at Plaza Salcedo, where they hold it every night. There’s no entrance fee, so better go early as the place is jam packed before the show starts at around 7pm. We were a bit late but still lucky to find a place right at the edge of the fountain area. Scout a higher spot for best viewing experience.

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The plaza was renovated into a huge fountain area, dancing fountains synced with music and lights. Music varies from slow, upbeat, novelty and classic songs. While the water and lights follow the beat. The show lasted around 30-45 minutes.

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Plaza/fountain by day

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Here’s a SHORT CLIP of the musical fountain show, this is just a chunk of the whole fountain area though.

Overall, this is a treat that you should not miss when in Vigan. A great way to cap the night.

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PS. Keep an eye on your kids, place can be jam packed as mentioned.

Again, traveled May 2015. Details may vary.

Vigan, Ilocos Sur: Pagburnayan (Jar Making)

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Vigan, Ilocos Sur: Pagburnayan (Jar Making)

Traveled last May 2015. Details may have changed over a year’s time.

Pagburnayan means a place where you make pots, while burnay means pot or jar. I think there are two shops where you can enter and watch jar making process for free. They would even let you try it, then it’s up to you if you want to chip in a small donation for the crew. We included this in our itinerary and I was really looking forward to it. But I didn’t do it. Thought I wouldn’t get it right so just let Manong do his stuff in the pottery wheel.

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Aside from jar making, they also sell all kinds of clay products from pots, jars, vases of different shapes and sizes.

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Some serve as gardening pots, there are decorative ones and there are those small pots for your kids’ luto-lutuan. Not sure if these are used for other purposes, but just take a look at those cute clay pots!

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Pagburnayan shops can be found at Gomez St. cor. Liberation Boulevard, Vigan City.

Again, details may vary from present time. We were there May 2015.

Ilocos Sur: Banaoang View Deck

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Ilocos Sur: Banaoang View Deck

Traveled last May 2015, there could be changes to the photos over time.

Banaoang view deck is located along National Highway, Santa, Ilocos Sur. I was really curious when I saw photos from other travelers and immediately included it in our itinerary, this was our last stop before we head back to Manila.

I mean, who wouldn’t?

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Abra River

Have you seen a river this clean in Manila? I wonder how the locals keep it that way. Maybe because they are far from all the pollution brought about by modernisation.

You can park at the side of the road. The view deck has stone benches but very little shade so best to go early morning or before sun down.

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Pretty much it since there’s nothing else to do but marvel the clean and peaceful view of the Abra river. But very much worth your time and a lasting memory that you can bring home with you.

Again, date of travel was May 2015.

Ilocos Norte: Bangui Windmills

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Ilocos Norte: Bangui Windmills

Travel transpired May 2015, details may change from present time.

One of the highlights of our Ilocos trip, the famous windmills of Bangui. It wasn’t difficult to track since you’ll be able to see them from afar already. On our way, I was in awe when I saw its scale against the woman in the photo below. I know it’s big, but never thought it would be really huge in person.

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See how huge it is?!

As we enter the beach, we saw the magnificent row of windmills from left to right.

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It’s such a delight to finally be there. However, I had mixed emotions when I got the chance to go near and see one up close!
I was amazed, happy and scared all at the same time! The wind was very strong and the windmills make a screeching sound which gives you a chilly thought that it would break! Of course, it didn’t happen!

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So we just stayed in a safe area and took lot of pictures. Just a note that we were there around lunchtime, the sun is scorching hot. Wear comfortable clothes, hat, bring drinking water and the likes. Better yet, go early morning or before sun down.

Another info that could save someone’s time and might be good to highlight. We went there in a small car. Though cars are allowed to enter the beach area, best to stay where the sand is firm. The sand near the beach tends to be loose, thus it caused our wheel to be buried in sand. Good thing the locals helped us out of our plight. So unless you are driving a 4×4, please do not try that. I’m also not sure if it’s safe to swim, better ask around first.

Again, details may have changed. Travel happened May 2015.

Ilocos Norte: Malacañang of the North

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Ilocos Norte: Malacañang of the North

Posting an outdated blog from May 2015, details might have changed already but I still hope this helps someone’s itinerary.

Malacañang of the North is located at Paoay, Ilocos Norte which used to house the Marcos family. The house is well-maintained, judging by its mint condition. Should be worth including in your list of sights to see if you pass by Ilocos.

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Malacañang of the North - Facade

They require an entrance fee of (around) P30.00/head. At the entrance, you’ll be welcomed by a grand staircase and the living room.

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Living Room

The house is well-ventilated with an open design. Must be the weather, as it could be very humid in Ilocos especially during summer season.

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Dining Area

It somehow represents the lavish lifestyle of the Marcoses. From the chandeliers, furniture, designs and paintings to name a few.

The rooms are open for viewing too, each opens up to large window views with the master bedroom facing the lake.

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The Bedrooms

Former President Marcos’ office is also open for public viewing (this one is air-conditioned). There’s also a mini museum inside, which could be very informative for kids and adults too.

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Former President Marcos' Office

The backyard opens up to a large patio surrounded by lush garden and the serene view of the Paoay lake.

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Paoay Lake

Our visit was brief since there’s a big group of tourists during our visit. But I recommend this place especially if you’re into history.

A minor note that it also has a clean and functional toilet, if this information helps.

Again, details may have changed from current time as travel transpired last May 2015.

Ilocos Norte: Mama Aket, Dawang’s Place

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Ilocos Norte: Mama Aket, Dawang’s Place

I’m doing back dated blog posts to hopefully help traveler’s itineraries. Ours happened May 2015, please note that details may have changed from current time.

When we travel, it’s a must that we try local delicacies. And since this eatery generally acquired positive reviews around, we decided to give it a shot.

First of all, please note that this is a “carinderia”, not a fancy restaurant. The place is located along Maharlika Highway, San Nicolas. It looks like a house transformed into an eatery. You’ll pass by their kitchen should you choose to sit in their enclosed area. Someone will attend your orders, do not hesitate to ask for translations as some terms are in local language.

Their menu is quite limited to house specialties. Some of them are Tinuno (grilled pork), Igado, Dinardaraan (crispy dinuguan), Papaitan. I must say everything is so good! Not to mention that you’ll get your fill within very little budget (P 100.00 or less per head).

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This place is highly recommended especially for budget travelers. We will surely include it under our list in our next Ilocos trip!

Note that parking is scarce and information provided were based on our trip last May 2015. Details may have changed.