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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ilocos Sur Exploration

On December 2009 our group spend our Christmas for Laoag-Vigan tour. Our mission is to see the famous places in Ilocos Sur first while experiencing the joy of roadtrip. We decided to divide the whole Ilocos Region into two time visit so we can enjoy every place without hurrying and chasing time. To get to Vigan City from Manila, you can get a bus or take a plane all the way to Laoag City and take a bus ride to Vigan. But for backpackers like us, we took 10 hours travel via Farinas Deluxe Bus from Sampaloc Manila to Laoag. Other bus companies with route to Laoag are Maria De Leon RCJ Trans, GV Florida & Partas. Upon our arrival at Laoag City the driver of Palazzo de Laoag we're already there to fetch us and bring us to the hotel (we booked the hotel as early as 1st week of December). Palazzo de Laoag was our choice because of their swimming pool and good amenities.  Some of their amenities include:

fully air-conditioned room with
cable-wired television

room service ( 6 am - 12 midnight )

hot & cold shower

24 hrs. security

local telephone
Swimming pool

We availed 2 standard rooms for only 3000 pesos per night and 2500 for City tour package using their service van. We really enjoyed their pool because we’re the only guest on that date maybe because people are celebrating Christmas at home. Other hotels that you can find in Laoag are as follows:

Java Hotel                           (+6377) 770-5996, 771-5102
Northview Hotel                   +63 77 773 1689
La Elliana                            (077) 771 4876
Hotel Tiffany                       (077) 30000-53, (077) 770-355
UKL Ever Hotel                     +63 (077) 772-2771

We spend our Noche Buena on the hotel’s poolside with delicious foods from Red Ribbon & Shakey’s that we bought upon arrival in Laoag. It’s an unexplainable happiness once you eat with your friends under bright stars during Christmas Eve. After eating we proceed to our room for our exchange gift. After some chit-chat, we opened our gifts simultaneously while the room was filled with joy, laughter and happiness.

On our 2nd day in Laoag, December 25 we decided to travel 2 hours to Vigan just to see Calle Crisologo. We rode Partas Bus and get off at VIgan City. Calle Crisologo or Crisologo St. is a 4-block street with cobblestone pavement lined with souvenirs and antique shops. No vehicles are allowed (only calesas) on the street except for the intersections. So if you’re going to take a nice photo of the street, make sure there are no cars, scooters, motorcycles passing through the intersections. We’re really amazed by the old houses simply by just staring at them. 

Afterwards, it’s time to go to Baluarte, the home and mini zoo of Chavit Singson. We took a calesa ride from Calle Crisologo to Baluarte. This calesa ride is a special package that will tour you to tourist’s spots in Vigan for 200 pesos/hour. Baluarte is so spacious and full of animals and we’ve got chance to take a picture with Chavit’s tiger and chimpanzee. Other places that we visit in Vigan are St. Augustine Belfry which is made of full bricks that’s been used during wartime, St. Augustine Church, Burnayan or pottery in Vigan and Hidden garden. After all the tour we return to Calle Crisologo to see old houses at night and got dinner at Max’s just across Calle Crisologo.

On our 3rd day in Laoag City, we avail the Sightseeing tour of Palazzo de laoag to tour some historical site in the city including the magnificent Paoay church which is included in UNESCO’s World Heritage list. This Church is made of rock and corals and really an amazing structure. Next is the Marcos Mausoleum where the body of former President Marcos laid to rest. Taking pictures is prohibited that’s why Cameras and any other video recording device are not allowed inside the Mausoleum. Next we visited was the Malacanang of the North which is the official residence of former President Ferdinand Marcos and his family whenever they are in Ilocos. Next stop was the Fort Ilocandia Resort and Casino which is the only 5-star deluxe resort hotel in northern Philippines with superb facilities like swimming pools, beach volleyball, archery, paintball, kayak, tennis, ATV, horse riding and many other recreations. Last stop was at William church and sinking bell tower.  They say that it is sinking because a person on horseback ride is able to enter doors of the tower in the old days but now a person has to stoop to get through the entrance. After our sightseeing tour we passed by the market to buy some pasalubong and we bought Bagnet, tupig, Vigan langgonisa, dried fish and empanada.

I must say that our Ilocos Sur tour was really a blast. We’ve got the chance to discover not only beautiful places but historical and rich in culture. ‘Twas really a fun-filled adventure of discovering new places with people so dear to me and for sure we will go back to this wonderful province, the heart of Ilocandia, Ilocos Sur!
Dear blog,

Sorry for abandoning you for more than a month because of my business trip / vacation to MY and SG. I'll promise to go back to you as soon as I started writing again and finished constructing travel articles to Boracay, Bohol, Sagada-Banaue, Laoag, Vigan, Pagudpud, Cebu-bantayan island, etc. This is it!

Love and Care,

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