Monday, August 30, 2010

Vigan-Pagudpud Trip 2010 / PART 1

Vigan, Ilocos Sur
August 28, 2010

It has been raining
constantly for several days before the 27th. But we're fortunate to have a clear sky on this day. Our driver arrived at MSI by 9pm. This is it! We are ready to go!

Excitement turns into Worry when suddenly Kuya Ric asked who knows the place because he doesn't know the way. We almost get lost in the North Express Way, we even had a penalty in on
e exit but after how many toll entrances and exits and circling around, we finally found our way out.

We stopped over in Sison, Pangasinan by 2:30 AM. Good thing there's a Luzon map where we have copied all the towns that we will have to pass through and luckily we arrived in Vigan earlier than our ETA. We took a light breakfast and rented a KALESA for the city tour.

A piece of History: Vigan City is among the three oldest cities in the Philippines, the other two are Cebu City and Manila. It was once included in UNESCO's World Heritage list. It is also the proud birthplace of President Elpidio Quirino, the Philippine's sixth President.

Our first stop is in Vigan Church then in the Pinagburnayan or pottery place. It's great to see my alma mater's sister school, St Paul College Bantay too. Our next stop was in Hidden Garden where different flowery plants were housed and where we have tasted Vigan's favorite Empanada. We also like the garden's landscape and most especially the comfort room with one-sided mirror.

Kuya Jun, our Kuchero(kalesa driver) and tour guide, took us to Gov. Chavit Singson's Baluarte. The admission is free, there are different animals in the park like tigers, parrots, donkeys, fishes, ostriches, ducks and different types of birds. Mr Singson's submarine was also displayed.Did you know that Tom Cruise came to the Philippines decades ago? It was in the 80's to shoot some scenes in his movie "Born on the 4th day of July" and Kuya Jun told us about it. He showed us the hotel they used as Tom's house, the Villa Angela. They also shot some parts of The Mestizo District but it was "Mexico" in the movie. The filming should have actually taken in Vietnam but the relationship of these two countries, the US and Vietnam, are not yet established during that time so the production team has decided to shoot the film in our beloved country instead.Before Kuya Jun toured us along Crisologo St where the The Mestizo District lies, he took us to what was known as the Syquia Mansion. It wasn't just worth the visit, it also gave us the feel of the magnificent history that took place hundred of years ago. A strict guide toured us inside and revealed us some of the historic events that we never had heard of during our History classes. It was called the Malacanang of the North in its era and President Quirino used to live in this century old mansion. It houses the late President's memorabilia's, priceless antiques, furniture and paintings, and gifts from other countries. Quirino's collections of Baston, hats and Marikina shoes were still intact. The house was actually owned by his wealthy wife Dona Alicia Quirino, which father is a Chinese businessman who made his fortune in the robust trading in Vigan.I was so overwhelmed by its history, I never thought it would be this interesting. From the gold-plated mirror to the peeping holes, secrets doors and insect-free baul. I like the mansion's architectural design as well. It seems like everything was practically useful and it seems like it was full of secrets waiting to be unfolded. As our guide told us, Vigan tour will never be complete without dropping by at the city's most prestigious mansion and learning a bit of its history.

Our last stop in Vigan was in the Mestizo District, it was just a one street Heritage Village. It was beautiful, I just can't imagine how wonderful it is to live during the Spanish era.

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