Ilocosighting (Day 1)

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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:

  1. A Trip To The North To Meet Jon
  2. Intramuros: the Walled City
  3. 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. 😉

My impression

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.

Calle Crisologo

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.

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Now, to the itinerary proper

Hidden Garden

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.

 

Baluarte

Don’t expect much here because it is just a mini zoo. I also find it sad to watch wild animals caged up.

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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.

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Juan Luna Shrine

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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.

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Paoay Church

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.

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A picture of me with the buttresses on one side of the church.

Malacañang of the North

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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.

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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! 🙂

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16 thoughts on “Ilocosighting (Day 1)

  1. These are some great places to visit. You look very happy in the pictures. That’s the great thing about traveling: it makes me happy! I hope to be back in the Philippines to visit some more, soon!

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  2. Reading this and seeing the photos made me a bit nostalgic. I went on an Ilocos tour years ago with my former officemates. It was very memorable because we were able to cover so many places, from Ilocos Sur to Ilocos Norte. Also, our tour happened under the fierce heat of the sun hahaha… I think I grew a shade darker because of this trip.

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  3. When I had the roadtrip privilege last year, we were able to pass-by Ilocos Region from Apayao to Abra, but it was just merely just passing-by -_- seeing ur photos makes we wanna pack my bags and go up North! Ilocos is such a heritage destination. And btw I used to work for several travel agencies. :))

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  4. Nothing compares to the trust formed between client and the agency and that’s constantly made us happy when we encounter honesty along our travel. Anyway, this post made me think about Ilocos, a place where I truly fell in love because of the essence of the past wherever you go.

    LaiAriel

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  5. Great customer service I must say. Calle crisologo is always on my list but I dont really know when I can crash it out. With the line of work that I have now, Im not sure if I can travel longer than 5 days. I’ve always been asking other tourists spots to visit aside from calle Crisologo and you just answered my question. 🙂

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  6. Oh I miss Ilocos. My trip to the place 2 years back was one of my memorable one ( i was with a special someone hahaha). I actually love the place. I really enjoyed the historical places and the food of course. I was lucky to have a very good driver who turned out to be our guide. That was DIY Tour by the way )

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  7. I really love to visit places with huge historical significance.. I have never been to Vigan but I really aiming to visit this place real soon.. as for Intramuros.. i am actually planning to explore this place this December

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  8. I haven’t been to Calle Crisologo and would really want to. Husband has been there and mentioned to me it is just a street of old Spanish charm. I still would want to see it myself. Perhaps when our baby could travel far.

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  9. My family and I went on a roadtrip to Ilocos for my mom’s birthday. We also got to Calle Crisologo early and we had all the time to check it out before it got crowded. I really liked that. I love the food in Ilocos. It’s been 3times that I’ve been there and I don’t mind going back another time.

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  10. It looks like you had a lovely trip. All your pictures were really fun to see…almost as if I was on the trip! I’ve never been, but maybe someday.

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  11. WOW! What an adventure! I am intrigued by the Hidden Gardens. I cannot believe you packed all of this in one day. I have used a travel agency once, and we adored our trip. I looked at booking one again, but had difficulty finding one I felt comfortable using this past summer.

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  12. My sister works at a travel agency so I always book through one. She takes care of everything for me, which is wonderful. I actually prefer it as I feel things go so much more smoothly than if you plan the trip on your own.

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  13. My friend and I are planning to visit Manila soon and part of our itinerary is hitting Ilocos particularly the Vigan and the sand dunes. Oh how I wish to be able to visit those places soon. I’ll also be including the ones you have shared here… only if we finalize everything.

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  14. Pingback: Ilocosighting (Day 3) | Stargazer Writes

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