Tag Archives: Ilocos

Vigan, Ilocos Sur: Vigan Empanada

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Vigan, Ilocos Sur: Vigan Empanada

I was really excited about this when we confirmed our Ilocos itinerary last May 2015. I’ve tasted several empanadas here in Manila. Which is too orange for me. The crust could be thick thus starchy and would sag once cold.

I was keen to taste Batac empanada but didn’t get the chance as we’re too early on site and the stores are still closed then. The color of their empanada resembles the one that they offer in Manila, I’m not sure about the taste though.

If you want to try Vigan empanada, head out to Plaza Burgos and pick from the long row of empanada stores just at the foot of the plaza. We got confused looking around where to eat, so we picked the one with most patrons and asked the locals if it tastes good!

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The Vigan empanada has a thin crust with only a slight hint of yellow and is super crunchy. It has another Vigan delicacy inside, their longganisa with vegetables and fresh egg cracked right before they fry it under high heat.

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Vigan empanada

It’s a staple merienda in Vigan at an affordable price of (around) P35.00. I really wish I can make this at home!

Notes that can come handy, it can be very hot in this area since all stores serve freshly cooked empanadas. There are some electric fans within the shared dining area. Drinks could be overpriced.

Again, traveled last May 2015. Details may vary.

Ilocos Sur: Baluarte

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Ilocos Sur: Baluarte

Part of our Ilocos itinerary was to go to Baluarte. We traveled May 2015, so do further research as details may have changed over time.

The place is owned by a politician, Chavit Singson. It can be described as a zoo, however there aren’t much animals to see that time since some parts are still under construction. There’s no entrance fee, all you need to do is register yourselves upon entering.

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Exotic birds

Colorful exotic birds will welcome you, you’ll be surprised that they do not attempt to fly away and just stay in their makeshift branches.

There’s a big area with a couple of deer and horses. Which will cater you to big dinosaur statues, a favorite spot of tourists for photo ops.

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Baluarte

A little hike more and you’ll see peacocks, swans, plus other animals which I don’t exactly remember (sorry). You’ll have to pay a fee if you want to see the tiger, which is not available for regular viewing.

There’s also a cooperative store inside that sell souvenirs. You can check this submarine too, quite interesting if you haven’t seen one.

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The last part of your hike would be Chavit’s museum where he displays the head of taxidermied animals he killed from his hunting escapades.

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Overall, this is something to check out especially if you have kids that would appreciate seeing live animals that they have read from the book, after all you can enter for free. But if it’s not your thing, then you can remove it from your itinerary.

Note that may come handy, it’s freaking hot out there (during that time) with lots of tourist, so bring water, towel, hat or fan to cool you down while walking. You can also try their bamboo juice, very delish!

Traveled May 2015, details may have changed.

Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte: Saud Beach

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Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte: Saud Beach

Summer is here so I thought of sharing our Ilocos trip last May 2015.

During our Pagudpud leg, we stayed at Saud Beach and checked in at Chalet Bami.

We went to the beach around late afternoon after the much needed rest since we’re very exhausted from the long travel from Manila and numerous stop overs to see tourist spots en route to Saud.

This part of Pagudpud is more crowded or jam packed, accommodations vary from hotels (I didn’t see posh hotels), transients and even quite a number of home stays (private houses which offers a room for you to stay for a low cost).

The beach is around 2-3 minutes walk from our lodging. Not a problem at all. You will enter a gate leading to the beach.  I was surprised how white and fine the sand is!

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Fine white beach. Lots of sea weeds.

But here’s the catch, when we went last year the waves are huge. There were lots of sea weeds floating and being washed ashore. And when I say lots, there are piles of sea weeds everywhere. The water though is not clear nor blue, but it may be because of the strong waves which stir the sand causing it to look a little bit roily.

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View of the windmills from afar.

Since we have kids with us, we didn’t swim further away from the shore and instead we just built sand castles and played in the sand.

My favorite part? What can be more beautiful than watching the sunset in the beach!

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Notes that may come handy:
Best to keep an eye on your kids, waves are huge.
No entrance fee, more of a public beach.
There are stray dogs in the beach, though I think they are used to the everyday crowd.

Traveled May 2015, details may vary.

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.

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.