The Month of the Heart of Winter

the new leaf of January is my Month!

Ilocos 2012: Good Friday

Again I have to skip my Boracay travelogue for now and go on with our recent trip during the Holy Week. I know, I know I am becoming so dormant after each trip other than I got sick (really sick) after the long vacay I have no other reasons to be idle this time.

A day after my BIL and his wife’s arrival from Canada we drove to Ilocos to spend the Holy Week with the rest of the family. We expected traffic the usual but aside from it there were plenty of stopovers because of road construction. Roughly after 12 hours, the longest we had so far, we finally got there.

But we were caught by this little surprise –we didn’t expect that the river was not passable. It’s odd that during the summer month the water was big. Some light vehicle attempted to cross but we didn’t take any chances; we left our vehicle on the other side of the river and transfer our belongings to a big jeepney that brought us to the hamlet.

Coming from a very lengthy trip was tiring; I felt it had taken all my energy that day. The reason for the scarcity of photos on Maundy Thursday. 😦  After some small chitchat with the in-laws I decided to retire. Woke up for dinner and had grilled milkfish and “dinengdeng” –this is what I love about going to Ilocos; I was able to eat healthier on the side. Before we ended the day, we planned our activity for the following day.


Good Friday

I remember our Good Fridays in Ilocos were all spent road tripping despite the belief of the old folks that it is not a safe day for travelers we were not stopped. And because we wanted my BIL and his wife to make most of their vacay, we wanted to tour them around.

We set aside the beach and decided to drive to Vigan. Though it was a little distant from my husband’s hometown we endured the long drive again.

We arrived at Vigan around noontime, dropped by at Vigan Cathedral (St. Paul’s Metropolitan Cathedral) as it’s a must for us to visit churches anywhere we go.

Next was to find a place to have lunch, though we always favored those makeshift eateries around Plaza Burgos we discard the idea this time as the place was so humid besides we might be tempted to eat meat with the sight and smell of “sinanglaw”.

Delicious “okoy” sold at 3pcs for P100

Café Leona was a choice but it was jam-packed so we left and almost decided to settle for “okoy” (shrimp fritters) only until I spotted a new eatery around. I don’t really know if this was a new place perhaps during my last visit in Vigan some three years ago it did not exist yet.

Trellis Food Court is spacious however service was a little slow 😦

I am not sure if this Trellis is the same Trellis in Manila, I didn’t bother to ask anyone as we’ve been famished by the long drive and very warm temperature. All we wanted was to get seated and eat.

Trellis offers good selection of grilled meat and seafood, and it’s good that they offer group meals; it made us easy to decide and order.

Since we observe no meat on Good Fridays, we asked to remove the “liempo” and had it replaced by fish. Thank you folks for accommodating our request! 🙂

Overall, we had a filling lunch, enough for us to make ready for our impending activities.

We took the Calesa Tour going to Baluarte. It amazed me this time that our “kutserso” (carriage driver) was very helpful all the way to our destination as he was giving us edifying infos and willingly respond even to our silly questions.

Len-Len to Manong Kutsero: Bakit po may takip ang mata ng kabayo? 😀

Our “kutsero” was the perfect tour guide. He had recollections of almost everything about the history of Vigan, including the Singsons and the Crisologos, the incumbents and even the Ronald Singson-Lovie Poe story was not missed.

Past 15 minutes or more we arrived at the 80 hectares of gently rolling terrains, hills and mountain sides. Baluarte is Governor Chavit’s gift to the people of Vigan where residents are accorded free use of spaces for their livelihood programs. And it’s open to public for free.

Baluarte is an interactive wildlife sanctuary and facility, with the breathtaking view of its dominating scenic boulders amidst trees and greens.



I so believe that Zoo is not for kids only so I snagged the animals during their best moments.


There were activities too, at the Butterfly Garden; you will truly enjoy the exquisite experience of butterfly metamorphosis.

At the Petting Zoo, you can freely interact and take photos with the different animals like camels, ostriches, deer, parrots, orangutans and a lot more.

The Animal Encounter allows the visitors to come up close and personal with exotic creatures. And a chance to have their photos taken with the animals with the assistance of the care takers to guarantee both the safety of the visitors and the animals. Okay, the animal encounter is free but the photo op is not. Donation is mandatory. 😐

This photo op with the Tiger cost us P50.

And donation to this photo op with the Snake is P20 per head.

Don’t expect me to have photo with that reptile. I am not so gutsy to even come closer to it.

We stayed more than 30 minutes at Baluarte so our 1 hour was already consumed. By the way, the Calesa Tour charges P150 per hour, not cheap at all. Our way back, we skipped the Pottery Making and the museum tour.

We descend at the Heritage Village or the well-known Calle Crisologo. We decided to walk at the cobbled street to fully come across the remains of the Spanish era.


It’s the place to buy your “pasalubong” (take back home); I always got mine at Rowilda’s.

Some of the highlights of our Heritage Village tour,

The Legacy Superclub which is owned by the Singson

Cordillera Inn by the Crisologo


Abundance of antique furniture and home decors

Ooops sorry guys! I thought everyone was all set for the cam 😀

Always ready for the snap!  

Because my BIL and his wife can no longer withstand the warmth we decided to leave Vigan after some photo op here and there.

We stopped at Bantay, Ilocos Sur and brought them at the Bell Tower, the neighboring landmark which was just outside Vigan archway.

The Bell Tower of St. Augustine Church remained picturesque from our last visit, though from inside it was quite disappointing to see defacement from people who probably do not understand what preservation means.

See how some people can’t help themselves engraving their whatnot on these century old bells.

The view I got from the top of the tower.

The 18th century church –St. Augustine

Guess they enjoyed this trip. 🙂

I requested husband to slow down at Marsha’s and took home some of their bestsellers, it’s just too bad that I can’t bring any to Manila because of its short shell life. 😦

The old Quirino Bridge is now a tourist spot

The mighty new bridge 🙂

On our way home we failed that stopover at the view deck of Quirino Bridge cross over Abra River. I always love the sight of this beautiful bridge which is now replaced by a newer bridge that is used by motorists. By the way, for the adventurous you the old bridge these days are a tourist spot where one can enjoy zipline, rappelling and rock climbing.

We reached Tagudin around 8pm and walk around 3kms just to get home. Thank God for the full moon that lit our way.

To be continued…



9 responses to “Ilocos 2012: Good Friday

  1. docgelo April 16, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    firstly, this is one of the posts that i enjoyed reading and viewing in this site.
    i miss vigan and the rest of ilocos -been there a few times -stayed in candon -my classmates’ hacienda and explored vigan a couple of times via kalesa too (but that time there’s no baluarte yet or perhaps not opened to public), had traveled to baccarra, sarat, paoay, to marcos’ tomb up to pagudpud’s saud beach before.

    calle crisologo’s one of my favorite spots i’ve been to. where’s the empanada by the church? you don’t dig it?

    and 12 hour-trip to ilocos? wow.

    • january April 17, 2012 at 9:42 am

      we skipped the long drive to ilocos norte this time as it’s not part of our itinerary; we’ve been there also a couple of times (the last time was in 2008). guess as early as now i am putting pagudpud on our list, hehehe…

      the empanadas? i purposely intend not to grab a bite of it while in vigan (despite my craving) as we observe no meat during Good Fridays. nagkasya na ako sa patingin tingin lang 😀

    • january April 18, 2012 at 9:44 am

      ilocos empanadas are now in manila docgelo, and meron branch near our place kaya i can always please my palate every time i crave. though on a second note, mas masarap un nasa vigan 🙂

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