Historical sites, beautiful shores, and delicious food. These are few of the many highlights I experienced during this particular trip. Yes, we’ve come to the 4th part of my “northern experience”. This time, Jona and I traveled to the north western part of Luzon. We visited the Ilocos region.
To take you back, here are the other entries regarding my trip:
- A Trip To The North To Meet Jon
- Intramuros: the Walled City
- Art Appreciation: Art in Island x Yuchengco Museum x Ayala Museum
During the planning phase, Jona initially booked our tour with Shawn Sam Travel Tours. I don’t know what happened, but later we found out that we got transferred to a different agency called Costa Travel and Tours. By the way, I am not paid to write this. 😉
Good customer service
They are kind. I can say this because there was a time that we left our money in our hotel room and they lent us some of theirs, just for us to make it through the day. LOL
Fast-paced and well-organized
We got to the destination before the scheduled time and we got to every destination in our itinerary.
Now, back to the drawing board.
Since we arrived ahead of the schedule, we were able to check out Calle Crisologo before the sun rose.
Located in Vigan, this 4-block street gives you a glimpse of the old Hispanic era in the Philippines. The street is made of cobblestones which is lined with inherited houses. There is no other street in the area that looks like Calle Crisologo.
Now, to the itinerary proper
When you hear of the word garden, obviously you’ll think about plants. And I am right! Hidden Garden showcases different kinds of plants, which they also offer as souvenirs for tourists.
They also have an al fresco restaurant. We ate breakfast as well.
Don’t expect much here because it is just a mini zoo. I also find it sad to watch wild animals caged up.
Bantay Bell Tower
The Bantay Bell Tower was built in 1591. One of the most significant structures in Vigan, this watch tower aided people back then in their defense from the enemies during the World Wars I and II. The bells are said to produce different sounds for specific purposes. The location is also a good spot for tourists to do some optical illusion with the belfry.
Juan Luna Shrine
If you don’t have an idea who Juan Luna is, he is one of the first recognized Philippine artists. He paints, sculpts and took part of the revolution in the Philippines during the Spanish colonization. He is considered as one of the Philippine heroes.
The 2-storey shrine is a restored home of his clan and it is now turned into a museum dedicated to Juan Luna.
Considered as a Philippine treasure, Paoay is a UNESCO Heritage Site under Baroque Churches. Its distinguishing features are the buttresses on its sides and back, making it having the Earthquake Baroque style.
Malacañang of the North
Now we’ve reached the last stop of day 1. Before we went here, we stopped over at Ferdinand E. Marcos Presidential Center. It is where the dead body of the former Philippine president lies. Placed inside a glass coffin, his embalmed body is open to the public. Picture-taking in the room is prohibited though.
Now back to the drawing board. The Malacañang of the North is a gift of former first lady Imelda Marcos for Ferdinand’s birthday. It has been considered as their residence in Ilocos and also an extension of the president’s office. They also welcome foreign officials in this place.
Everything in the mansion is actually beautiful, but my favorite spot is where you can have a clear view of the lake.
That’s all for day 1 folks! Please watch out for the days 2 and 3.
What about you? Have you ever booked a trip with a travel agency? How was it? Let me know by leaving a comment below! 🙂