What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything? ~ Vincent Van Gogh
Gabriela Silang Museum of Fine Arts
One of the things that I really treasured during my last travel to Abra is the chance I had to visit the Gabriela Carino-Silang Gallery of Fine Arts. I was really wanting to stay longer, however, said trip was with a group and so I had to follow the length of stay per itinerary.
Should there be a chance, I would really love to come back, though for now, let me share with you one of the most thought-provoking art collection, the most expansive array I’ve seen locally (I was thinking it is Pinto Art Museum), owned by former Ambassador Rosario V. Carino, the paternal uncle of the country’s Joan of Arc, Gabriela Silang. Said house had became her retreat, when she fled from Vigan to shun captive, during the revolt against the Spaniards. Well, the rest is history.
Due to the diplomats’ vast collection from most parts of the globe for more than thirty years, it eventually became a gallery of Fine Arts, the squire shared with us stories behind some of the collector’s items. The well-traveled diplomat ensured that he’s got something to bring home and the accumulation of well-kept art pieces created one of the most fascinating anthology I’ve seen.
When we came, there is an on-going renovation to display the items in a better way. There is a minimum entrance fee so as to aid said renovation and preserve them for the next generations to lay eyes on. Members of the Carino family were the ones who acted like a tour guide and didn’t leave all of us unassisted. I must agree with “Tupang Gala”.It is a beautiful mess. =)
Take a gander of the photos we’ve taken:
Upon entry, two rooms are situated on both sides, one is like a resting area and the other one is a library.
When you enter the “bulwagan” (hall), you can’t help but be amazed of how massive the art collections that has been gathered from generations after generations. I felt a certain kind of abundance.
Like a kid, I touched one of those lamps wishing a genie will come out! =p
Those vintage luggage put smile on my face… (–,)
I was hoping the government will also assist in the preservation of said museum, I just heard about the restoration of Gabriela Silang’s father’s ancestral house in Candon, Ilocos Sur.
To be honest, this museum visit took my breath away. Estimating everything to be billion worth. Perhaps, this treasure trove is priceless.
I might sound redundant but I’m really thankful to discover Kaparkan falls leading me to a lot more exciting places to see in this specific province that’s sometimes patented to be unsafe. Actually it is safe. We didn’t encounter anything shaky the whole time we were there. But of course, we always pray for safety each time we go out right?
So the news we’ve been hearing (mostly politics related), didn’t deter our eagerness to visit this province.
On top of Kaparkan Falls, here are some of the places our travel agency flaunted to us. These and the team spirit (good vibes) made this trip a memorable one.
Don Mariano Marcos bridge (Abra Kalinga National Road)
San Lorenzo Ruiz church (Bangued, Abra)
Bangued is the capital of Abra.
St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral (Tayum, Abra)
Both churches are still closed, and since it’s my first time being there, I made my wishes and prayers. =)
Tangadan Welcome Tunnel (San Quintin, Abra)
Gabriela Silang Monument (San Quintin, Abra)
Abra Pasalubong Center (San Quintin, Abra)
Open Theater at Victoria Park (Bangued, Abra)
View deck at Victoria Park (Bangued, Abra)
Balay ni Gian/ Carl Louie (for the longganiza and bagnet)
Gabriela Silang Carino Gallery of Fine Arts (Tayum, Abra)
Come lunch time, we had ours at “Hidden Garden” – Vigan City
Crisologo Street – Vigan City
On our way back to Manila, they were already discussing when and where to go next. Most of our photos are with hashtag: #wheretonext
“If it doesn’t scare you, you’re probably not dreaming big enough.” ~ Tory Burch
I have always been inspired by bloggers all these years and as I do my daily readings, I came across this place: Kaparkan Falls in Tineg, Abra.Upon research, Abra is a landlocked province of the Philippines in the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzon. Its capital is Bangued, and is bordered by Ilocos Norte on the northwest, Apayao on the northeast, Kalinga on the mid-east, Mountain Province on the southeast, and Ilocos Sur on the southwest. Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abra_(province)
I have been to the Ilocos region several times, and I honestly wondered why I missed this spectacular province. Thanks to the bloggers I follow who’ve been there and densely illustrated its’ beauty and what to expect. In my heart, I knew then, Abra is one I shouldn’t miss. Specifically that falls in Tineg.
So one weekend of October, our travel agency announced that it’s time to go, it has been postponed for several times already due to the typhoons in the Philippines and my heart is pounding at the thought of waiting for another year to see Kaparkan falls. The best time to visit is during rainy season as it runs dry during the summer months. However, I’d still insist to call it my own Summer in October. =)
I have to thank the agency: Traveler Point PH for being so organized, caring and had us experience this “ABRAMAZING” weekend.
Day 1 – Friday night:
Our pick-up point is at Greenfields (Mandaluyong City) at 9:00 pm, our organizer is a couple who loves to travel too, we shared the trip along with 8 millennials who made the trip more exciting and full of fun despite of the perplexity of reaching our destination(s). We arrived at The Department of Tourism Office, Tineg around 6:00 am, it is estimated at 8 hours travel time from Manila, however due to several stop-overs, it took us 9 hours to reach Tineg, Abra. We were briefed before hitting the road. And at exactly 7:00 am, we are ready.
I am actually surprised knowing we’re riding on this Army truck.
Its’ tires at 1100 x 20 (all terrain), I thought I was lucky that my assigned seat is at the front with 2 millennial girls who made me laugh the whole time. While Jen is at the back along with the other travelers. I was telling her she wouldn’t like it in front, and she’s also saying I wouldn’t like it too at the back. As they say: “Sa harap, kitang-kita, sa likod, damang-dama!” (English translation: “The rough road is so visible in front, while the roughness and bumpiness is felt most at the back!”)
Connecting Tayum and Dolores municipalities:
is The Don Mariano Marcos bridge. The third longest bridge in the country with a total length of 886.812 linear meters. #thisthingwithwelcomearchs
As oriented, this “one hell of a ride” is more or less than 4 hours, and less than an hour trek to reach our destination.
It is my first time to experience one such ride, upon being there, and finally witnessing this magnificent falls, I hear everyone saying “Oh My God!” several times! Myself, speechless. I must say it (bruises, scratches, broken nails, etc.) was truly worth it, I totally forgot about that “ride” upon seeing Kaparkan falls. Let these pictures speak for themselves. =)
Nature has it’s own special way of taking my breath away.
Those rows of limestones are naturally formed in that wondrous presence through the years, though it made me wonder, they aren’t slippery. I was too careful as it glistens when one of them told me that it isn’t slippery. Because of this, I began my wanderings and conquered my fear. =)
Our coordinator must know how famished we’d be, upon reaching our Transient home dinner time, they had this “Boodle fight” dinner set-up to welcome our group. Yum! =) We have fresh fruits too!
Our itinerary come Sunday is composed of some interesting places which I will blog separately.
Just this one at Kaparkan Fallssubstantiates that my more than a year waiting time to visit Abra is truly worth it. While there’s more this province can offer.
It is the highlight of this trip while I have my own personal highlight too, it is our visit to Gabriela Silang Carino Gallery of Fine Arts, which really satiated not just my eyes but my soul too.
Our itinerary for Day 2 includes: A visit to St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral,Tangadan Tunnel,Gabriela Silang monument and Abra Pasalubong Center, passed by Don Mariano Marcos bridge, the open theater and view deck at Victoria park, another visit to an old heritage church: San Lorenzo Ruiz churchat the Camposanto, Bangued, side trip to Calle Crisologo, Vigan City, we also went to Balay ni Gianto buy Vigan longganiza and Bagnet(at Carl Louie) as pasalubong (goodies for loved ones at home). Our itinerary includes the Bantay Church Bell tower, the Gourd hat maker, the Loom weaving village, Acosta panciteria (that famous Abra pancit miki). But due to time constraint, we missed those ones. But it’s okay. For those who will visit Abra, these are also some spots you would want not to miss.
So this is how we spent this one amazing weekend at Abra. I must agree whenever they say it’s “Abramazing!”
“Jobs fill your pocket, adventures fill your soul.” ~Jaime Lyn Beatty~
I am sitting in my cubicle when I heard my office mates discussing about our Summer Outing this year. And I can’t help but get too excited as we’re going up north this time to Pangasinan. It’s going to be different this year as we have been exploring the South for the past years. Our first stop is to revel in the beauty of the Hundred Islands.
What made it more thrilling to me is to find out that the Lighthouse of Bolinao, is included in our itinerary. Whoopee! As you know, I have been collecting Lighthouses and this will surely slash one from my list to visit. The Enchanted cave is included in the list too. =) I am not that fond of spelunking but this one is going to be definitely exciting. Something that is new to me.
So here’s how our itinerary goes:
LUNCH AT DE GARCIA GARDEN & GRILL
On our way to the resort, somewhere in Sual, we spotted this eclectic restaurant and opted to have our lunch here. We also enjoyed the artistic ambiance, looks like the owners are travelers too, and the food that they served us is okay too. =)
And then it’s time to unpack and look forward to the activities that we’re about to do in the next few hours.
HUNDRED ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK
The waters of the Lingayen gulf were clean and of bluish and greenish hue. As the roar of the boat’s engine started, all of us had fun witnessing the naturally beautiful islets that surround us.
There are 3 major islands that they converted as Tourist spots where you can have picnic as there’s a grilling area, restrooms, and rent kayaks and banana boats. Said islands are as follows: Quezon island, Governor island and Children’s island.
How nature lined up these emerald green islets are truly a breath-taking sight to behold.
We wouldn’t wanna miss this breath-taking ride! =) I lost (or we) my voice after.
Tucked in Patar, Bolinao is someplace enchanted. =) The Enchanted cave. We dipped in its’ super cold and clear water, and when they declared we’re leaving, I almost don’t wanna go. Not yet! =)
ST. JAMES THE GREAT PARISH CHURCH VISIT
Of course, we wouldn’t leave this town without saying some prayers. Moreso, thank Him for this wonderful trip with wonderful people and great food.
One of the highlights of this trip (Well, for me perhaps), is a visit to the second tallest lighthouse in the Philippines.
We also had the chance to squeeze in to see one of their beaches. The sands are so fine, not that white, but their so fine. =)
BOODLE FIGHT THE PANGASINENSE WAY
I just found this boodle fight prepared neatly, and I just tasted a very delicious version of “Pinakbet”.
Roughly, it took us 5 to 6 hours to get to Casa Almarenzo. This includes the stop-over we had for lunch.
We also had fun roaming around the town, had lunch in this cool restaurant where you will find a wide variety of viands to choose from. We also shop for the also famous Bolinao longganiza. =)
Pangasinan is truly one of the most interesting towns in the northern part of the Philippines. There’s actually more to see in Pangasinan, such as: Sunflower farm, Our Lady of Manaoag church, the beaches, beautiful falls, caves, their delicacies, to mention a few.
When mama asked me to bring her to Vigan. I was wishing that she asked for another place and not in Vigan since I have been there twice already. Since she insisted like a toddler persistent to get her coned ice cream, I gave in to her request setting aside my other priorities. It also served like my post birthday treat for her. Besides, Vigan in reality is so beautiful, you won’t mind revisiting the place in every opportunity.
It was just an overnight stay. I recently had this self – discovery that I acquired my father’s attitude of being agitated and uncomfortable in leaving the house empty and no one to tend to our pets, we have a dog, 2 cats and a dozen love birds. Though, to enjoy the trip without worries, I made it a point to secure our door locks and bought reliable stuff to reinforce them. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
We left early morning of January 2 and reached Vigan in the afternoon, spent the night in a hotel a few blocks away from the famous and iconic street – Crisologo street. As early as week 1 of December, we were already trying to book ourselves and they’re all occupied. Each and every hotel (specially those that we eyed are all fully-booked!) They claimed that it might slow down come January so we opted to schedule it first week of the first month of 2014. Still, we had a hard time finding a nice hotel to stay. We ended up in a not so cozy place, I can imagine my former boss telling me to always look for the best hotels to stay when traveling. Since I couldn’t postponed it anymore, I’d be back to work in a few days, and as long as it’s clean, the bedsheets are well-pressed, with ACU, and provides crisp towels regardless of its’ thread count. We booked ourselves at Green R Hotel.
I then brought them to Cafe Leona come dinner time.
I had them tried the famous bagnet ( Ilocanos roast pork), their version of pancit bijon, we also had Sashimi as chosen by my uncle and hot choco. It was good to have a priest with you the whole time. We say our prayers each meal. Something we missed to practice at home unless my son, Echo is dining with us. He is so strict and won’t allow us to start eating not unless he’s done with his thanksgiving prayer.
I noticed everyone were tired so we headed back to the hotel. When mama and my uncle were sleeping already. My friend and I with our itching feet sneaked out to explore the place once more. Not wanting to wait for the next day. We just wanted to witness how nightlife is like in Vigan specifically in Crisologo street. We took photos of all the lights we could see. I took reflections too for my souls sister to see, it is one of her favorite subject.
We captured the different lights from the municipal hall’s posts that changes it’s color every minute or so. I only saw something like this in Singapore, in Manila and in one building in Ortigas. Of course I loved purple most!
Taking photos made us hungry and cold. It was 19 degrees in Vigan at that time, we got used to 26. We ended up having Mexican food at Cafe Uno.
The first time I dined here was 4 years ago and it felt the same.
It’s a bit colder during that particular evening and sipping coffee at Cafe Uno was never better.
We walked around trying to find a 7-11 store to buy some stuff and ended up hiring a tricycle whom we asked to wait so we won’t hire another to bring us back to the hotel. Only to find out that the hotel is just across 7 11. Oh well! I found this window special too..
The following day was shopping day and taking pictures.
Cafe Uno is the coffee shop of Grandpa’s Inn. While Cafe Felicitas is their restaurant. Both places is equally themed, lots of vintage items can be seen and are interesting subjects from a photographer’s eye..
After breakfast at Cafe Felicitas. We had their famous longganiza with egg and tomatoes and garlic rice.
We hurriedly proceed to Crisologo street, took pictures of the famous heritage site. In all angles.
Uncle told me that this street is akin to some streets in Italy.
I was like a kid in the street. I had my taho.
I also had my DIC.
We bought shirts for mama and my son, for my friends’ friends. Uncle bought some stuff for the kitchen from one of the souvenir shops that I guess have been there for the longest time. Mama bought fruits (fruits?), yes fruits from an old lady, she just wanted to help the old lady. She even wanted to get everything that the old lady was selling if I hadn’t apprehend her. She bought raw bagnet and longganiza.
We dropped by shortly at the zoo. Jen tried the “empanada”.
It was meant for kids so we left right away.
We visited the “Pagburnayan”,
where a demonstration of how to create those clay pots is ongoing.
It was so interesting (reminds me of the movie: “Ghost”) messy but lovely. The guy doing it is also silly and full of jokes, he was very entertaining and he makes sure that the show is not just on him, it was interactive. I couldn’t get tired watching him as he plays with the clays.
After that, I found this very pretty hat in pink. And then I saw one of the same kind, this time in teal. I loved both instantly!
On our way home, just as we passed by the Arch of Agoo, it’s not Agu (like I first read it), it’s Ago-o! Mama sighted these giant black tigers
And there’s no way I can’t stop her, as they’re my favorite too! 6 pieces of those shrimps is 1 kilo already, they must be really big! Mama got crabs too..
I guess she went home with a smile on her face. That trip is actually dedicated to her. I just hope she was happy, if she is, I’d be happy as well. I am grateful for his younger brother to accompany us. It was a very special trip particularly for my mom. My son didn’t go with us, since her other grandma is in the hospital. I need him more to be there. I’ve always knew that there’ll be more next times to tag him, hopefully with his 2 grandmas in a single trip. It’d be really fun for all of us.
So long Vigan. With pride – I’m glad to see you unchanging! (–,)