Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ilocos Norte: A True Bastion of Northern Philippine Culture

     I have to admit, time has gotten the better of me once again. It has blurred past, leaving me speechless. At the start of this new year, I am amazed to realize that it has been 10 months since our company road trip to the northern part  of the country: Ilocos.

     That looooonggg road trip from Manila to Vigan, Ilocos Sur to Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte and back was fun as staff were allowed to bring their families. It was not only a chance to unwind, but get into an educational field trip with the kids in tow.

     I would highly recommend you rent a large vehicle and driver (not unless you want to sit behind the wheel for the duration of the trip) and take this road trip with your family. I was delighted with all the surprises Ilocos had in store for me on that trip.

Vigan Church, Ilocos Sur

The imposing beauty of Paoay Church
(St. Augustine Church, Paoay Ilocos Norte)

Paoay Church detail

A long forgotten treasure by the side of the church

The side of Paoay Church

Paoay church  bell tower

Paoay church bell tower detail
or Rapunzel's tower... you decide.  :-)

      The architecture of the churches that have stood their ground with the passing of time is a testament to the care Ilocano's take in preserving history and the beauty of these living monuments.


     Of course, the Cape Boreador Lighthouse (Burgos, Ilocos Norte) is also a testament of how past generations have safeguarded the coast from pirates who may have wanted to pillage and plunder in one of these, most likely...

Abandoned row boat on Bangui, Ilocos Norte's shores
     View turn of the century houses along the famed streets of Vigan where you can take a calesa (horse drawn carriage) and cruise at a leisurely, rhythmic clip-clop, clip-clop gait of the horses.

   Ilocos is the home of many famous personalities in the Philippines. Some of them are Padre Jose Burgos, painter Juan Luna,

Painter Juan Luna's ancestral house

the family of Former President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos and Former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos,

To this day, her beauty is timeless

 and National Artist for Pottery (1986) Mr. Fidel Go.

Mr. Fidel Go at his pottery workshop in Vigan, Ilocos Sur
      There was even a shop waiting for the eagle-eyed treasure and bargain hunter.


    There are a lot of food choices to make a for a happy tummy in Vigan. There's bagnet (deep fried pork belly), pinakbet (mixed vegetables with shrimp paste), dinardaraan (Ilocano version of blood stew or chocolate meat), and Vigan longganisa (Vigan style savory sausage links, a personal favorite.). There is also tinubong (sticky rice cake cooked in bamboo cylinders).


The local coffee stand... uh, 3-in-1 coffee, anyone?
     But of course, one of the more well known products of the region is garlic. Yes, and lots of it! 

     I guess if I were in Ilocos, I would set up my own gourmet aioli shop with these around the house. Definitely no vampires here! Hehehe!!!  

     As Ilocanos are known to be thrifty, being careful with their personal belongings has really made it possible for future generations to have these in their midst. I was amazed that not only the architecture of buildings were preserved, but the interiors as well as seen from these pictures...

One thing is for sure. This phone does not need pre-paid load credits.  :-)

Kitchen work area at the house of Padre Burgos

Music room at the Burgos house


Capiz windows, a beautiful exhibit piece
of Filipino architecture, creativity, originality and culture

One of the many rooms with wicker furniture and capiz windows
at the Malacañang of the North, Paoay Ilocos Norte. I can only imagine how
lavish this looked like when the Marcoses were at the peak of their power.
    Looking out to the horizon, holding on to the treasures of the past, Ilocanos look also to the future for things that they can leave as a legacy for today's generation. Though not built of stone or wood, the Bangui Windmills harness the power of the winds passing through the coast to ensure a bright future for its residents.

   Ilocos is a long way away from Manila. The distance making it perfect to just zone out and recharge your spirit with views like this...

Unspoiled beaches


A peek into the South China Sea
from Thunderbird Resort, La Union

     Sadly, that trip was over all too soon. I hope lady luck will have me visit again and see more of what I have missed next time around.

(P.S. Thanks to Shyla and Ate Mira for some of the pics posted here. :-) )

©CherWriter 2011.01.06

1 comment:

  1. It's beautiful! I want to go! (too much garlic for my taste though, wahahaha).



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