My 3rd stint in Vigan…

My 3rd stint in Vigan…

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.

night in vigan

It’s good to be back again!

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. 

green r

Green R hotel, a budget hotel…

I then brought them to Cafe Leona come dinner time.

mama n Fr

Mama and his younger brother, Father Noel..

1 mama at cafe leona

Mama at Cafe Leona..

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.


Reflections for soul buddy..

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!


Vigan – Ilocos Sur








It’s still Christmas in Vigan!


I just like the man’s shadow here..

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.


Cafe Uno..


Reminded me of Joaquin’s in Tagaytay..

The first time I dined here was 4 years ago and it felt the same.

4 yrs ago..

My first visit in Vigan..

It’s a bit colder during that particular evening and sipping coffee at Cafe Uno was never better.

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That thing on that spoon is a kind of native sweetener?

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..

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This window took my attention..

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..


Cafe Uno..

After breakfast at Cafe Felicitas. We had their famous longganiza with egg and tomatoes and garlic rice.


Cusina Felicitas..


I spotted a trip advisor sticker at Cusina Felicitas..


A painting of the famous heritage site..


Vintage phones..

IMG-20140103-00563 felt creepy..


Proofs of Spanish colonization in the Philippines..




Chalk menu board..


Had been one of my favorite subjects..door knocker..


Framed Filipiniana costume..

We hurriedly proceed to Crisologo street, took pictures of the famous heritage site. In all angles.


Island souvenirs…


The siblings..2 of 10..




Awww..Sis, where do you wanna shop?




Eyeing some souvenirs!

Uncle told me that this street is akin to some streets in Italy.


The famous street with a “caritela” (horse-drawn carriage) passing by..


I took this..


I actually searched for the street signage..


T’was like this a few years ago..


I had this same angle before..=)


Souvenir shop!


Had several shirts from Islands souvenirs (Vigan, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, etc.)


Out of Sinamay..


Preserved in time..


I specially like the smooching figurine!


The street can never be empty..lots of visitors at that time..


It looked like it rained right? It did not. They just showered the street to keep it’s cleanliness..



I was like a kid in the street. I had my taho.


Manong isn’t in the picture as he is busy counting his money, I asked how much is his quota? He said it’s around P2,500-3,000. And it’s only past 9am at that time.

I also had my DIC.




Manong, say cheese!


Yum yum yum!

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.


I specially liked the horse shoe..and the colored purple cab..


Horse shoe for good luck!


Old discarded shoes..


Wooden chair accentuated by a cartwheel..


Can’t get enough of me pix..=p


My favorite shot..

We dropped by shortly at the zoo. Jen tried the “empanada”.




Is this a colt or a filly?

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.


Pot making demo..


He enumerated the procedure..

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.


I actually wanna try it!

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!




I wish to take them home!


I read from an article that claypot making industry is dying, as the market is switching to plastic-made pots..=(


Lots lots of jars!


I noticed every time I travel, I encounter names close to my heart, like God’s way to remind me of these people..


Pots neatly arranged..


Beach? (–,)

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


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..


On our way home sweet home..(–,)

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! (–,)


Batanes…Beyond expectations

Batanes – Beyond Our Expectations

I am so fortunate to witnessed the unspoiled and undisturbed beauty of Batanes, if not for the Ivatan’s (True Insulares) uniformed goal to preserve mother nature, this will not be achieved. Thanks to my soul buddy, for this once in a lifetime experience. (–,) ♥♥♥

Batanes map

Photo grabbed from:



It means “The goodness of God be with you.”





My soul sissy brought this for me claiming it must be part of my wardrobe.


We only spend a few days in Batanes though it is enough to leave me lifetime memories to cherish. It was raining most of the time on that first week of December. It is very cold, windy and wintery. We can’t go out without layers then.

I imagine Batanes during Summer yet since it is not when we visit, I see Batanes as fascinating during the Rainy Season. They control the number of visitors so we felt like having the island all on ourselves. It was a unique feeling, since more often than not traveling usually requires us to deal with other visitors too.

There is bliss when we arrived and all through out our stay.


Of Windows, Doors and More

I survived Sagada…

Years ago, not only 2 close friends of mine asked me to visit Sagada. I am not that interested. I am perplexed by the thought of no more trips after dark? Why? I used to ask what’s with Sagada? Ive been to Baguio anyway.

Guests will have to sign up here before beginning the adventure...

The view from our room...

I’ve read several blogs about it, heard about the many interesting activities you could do there, spelunking, there are distinct falls, historical sites, sightseeing, breathtaking views, hospitality in all sense of the word, good weather, (you will hear an impetuous sound thinking that it’ll rain in a while only to find out, it was just a strong wind coming), and the rain itself will without any warning.

Their local cuisine, not to forget their own locally grown coffee, the list might be endless. Honestly, I am awed with those blogs. I thought I would try writing mine…

Sagada as they say were meant only for the adventurers as it is almost too difficult to reach it or to get there, you will count hours (by land), you can’t avoid crossing deep valleys, bumpy rides, ravines, creeks and cloud forests. It isn’t for those like me who got used to traveling by air than by land with those swelling buttocks and suffer from dizzy spells due to too much sights and sounds (and varying smells from the aircon bus with a cubicle where you can pee while the bus is running).

Trip schedules are actually limited due to the not so safe trail to reach Sagada. But after the loooong trip, Sagada is for everyone to enjoy the very essence of rural life in the highlands especially for us who’s accustomed (or maybe at times tired of the city life), the place exhibits the wonder of a rich culture and simple life.

I wonder how it feels like being based in such a famous and well – visited place yet simplicity can be seen in all their eyes. Not only simplicity, but bliss and an enduring hospitality which Filipinos are known for. I noticed that half of the passengers in our bus were foreigners. I then again got mystified with the common trait of travelers to discover something beautiful and be changed by it instantly. It was funny to find myself nibbling on Yogurt cake in Sagada.

Yogurt cake...


There’s this one foreigner who owns an Inn/ Resto – Masferre who was tagged to be the Father of Philippine Photography. I am astonished what took the likes of these foreigners to hold such love for a country other than their own (which reminds me of another photographer during People Power Revolution who was weeping while taking pictures of that event and claimed that most of them (Americans) were complacent of the freedom that they always have while these people (Filipinos) were defiantly willing to die fighting for their freedom. How I wish we can see our country through these foreigner’s eyes… Masferre boasts goodies (all kinds of fruit jams) which we bought some for our loved ones. I wistfully yearned to describe Sagada like repercussions of my past experiences, good and bad.

I dropped the other activities and treated the “Hanging Coffins” as the highlight of this trip.




Instead of being aghast with the sight of coffins literally hanging in the mountains, of course I am scared, I felt admiration to their strong belief of an undying love when one has physically died already. The unyielding belief of being one with your loved ones and your Creator at the same time. An adulterated love.



As I sauntered to these valleys…heart-stopping long walk…

to the unknown (we didn’t hire a tourist guide/ the fact that we can hear the other tourists voices destroyed our fears and made us continue trekking until finally we were inches away from the coffins), running out of words to describe Sagada, let me end this to claim that this is an adventure like no other…


Passing by ISABELA & Nueva Ecija…

Isabela is the second largest province in the Philippines, located in the Southern Luzon.


It boasts being one of the top 10 richest provinces in the country. One article from an in flight magazine of a local airline enumerated the beauty of Isabela. This was yet another chronicle for me as it is (again) my first time to set eyes on a very interesting part of the country. I was smiling to realize I have gone from end to end of the 7,101 islands.

From Tuguegarao to General Santos City except for Batanes and Tawi – Tawi which happens to occupy their own places in my list as well. A dream I promise to my papa to fulfill. Even if he is no longer here, each travel, i felt his contentment. I picture him from the heavens smiling proudly at me. I guess he’d always knew I was wishing to be with him and my mom every time I travel just like the old days, when he used to clasped me in his arms if i’m already tired walking.

During our trip, each and every corner was picturesque, as if they’re waiting anytime to be captured. Which I lovingly did. As the saying goes: A picture is worth a thousand words.

giant tree

Giant trees sandwiching the street..

giant tree 2

Decided to pull-over and enjoy the cold wind, while resting, this tree boasted itself in front of us.

heroes hill

Hero’s hill

heroes hill 2

One of the heroes…

church interior

Continued on the road and visited a church…

7 11 nila

This is their version of 7-11 and Treats…passed by more than 3 stores of “Take 5” during our whole trip…

Our hotel in Isabela. It was said that the presidents daughter stayed here during their campaign.

hotel room

They have this huge paintings in their hallway and in every room…

hotel 3

A view from our room’s entrance. why did I ever forget to take a photo of what’s beneath?

Longganiza served for breakfast and we seem not to get tired of it.

hotel bfast

Breakfast time!

I can almost taste the sweetness of being home. One town to go.
us 3

Three’s a crowd! ahaha!

chef 1

Our chef…

chef 2

And another on the road…

 We had lunch in this homey place called Kusina Cagayana.

Kusina Cagayana..

kusina 2

Waiting for our food…

I am learning a few ilocano words for d past days. wow I’m bilingual. I learned some Cebuano words too! I hope to learn some Indian, Brazilian, Vietnamese, Turkish and Dutch words too. Who knows? Oh the dreamer in me! (–,)
Along the way, we spotted a rainbow…good omen. (–,)

Lovely! God is with us!


Pottery has been one of their source of income…

native crafts

Some native crafts…

sukang iloko

I bought some bottles of Sukang Iloko (vinegar from Ilocos)…


Hit a mall too! and brought home that lavender skirt too! ahaha!

stoned walls

Old feel…

region 2

Region 2!

Topping this off. Allan brought us to this popular cake shop down Cabanatuan, Nueva ecija.

Welcome arch of Nueva Ecija..

Allan brought us to Edna’s Cake land. It’s like an envoi after a few days of tiring though exciting trip by land. All his claims came to life. the long queue line of shoppers. diners and the colorful yummy looking pastries to choose from. We had our bagful of goodies meant to be brought home for loved ones.




flaky bb cakeland

Flaky Danish pastry…



They also have buko pies, siopao, pastas, sandwiches and specialty cakes. Since I am confident to recommend this: I am posting their FB page:



What better way to keep memories from this awesome trip, after unpacking my stuff in my bedroom, I carefully prepared another page in my scrapbook.


Home sweet home! <3<3<3

While cutting and pasting, my mind was already wandering as to where my next travel will be. and with that thought. and the sweetness of being home. I fell into a deep slumber smiling. =)


La Union and side-trips to Vigan & Laoag

La Union and side-trips to Vigan & Laoag

La Union is the next town after Pangasinan.


I often remember as I passed by these towns, that I really never gave it a thought that going further I will realized how equally beautiful the northern part of the country is. I have ventured on the sweet mangoes and puto Calasiao of Pangasinan, had gone barefooted in their beaches, hopped on the hundred islands as a little girl, basked in the sun on a foggy morning in Baguio. I thought that was it. My focus was in the Vismin area. I am so enthralled by Vismin! This brought me to discover that I was somehow misled in a way. Both ends has a lot to offer and as I reached one place after another, my list keeps getting longer and longer.

Going out of the country, which I have set aside first (due to budget constraints) and primarily due to to this itch to set foot first to places in the Philippines (81 provinces) that are still unknown to me (Obsessive/ compulsive). I was even informed of a Santorini inspired resort in La Union (ongoing construction during the time when we visited), a church inside a cave in Tuguegarao, the lighthouse in Capones, the beaches in Baler is also enticing though not a priority and pine trees of Zambales on queue among many others.

I also discovered the advantages of traveling by land, that you can pull-over and stop for a while to take souvenir photos or just enjoy some corners. Drop by some attractive spots here and there, say a prayer on some old churches, check out some stuff from ambulant vendors and those lined up in the street sides. And the best part of which is try some enticing restaurants for the first time when our stomachs are aching for munch time.

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Macho temple…

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We spotted a park and stopped for a while…

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Lunch time…

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A grotto…

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And another grotto…

After, La Union, since our goal is to comb region 1 and 2 by land. Of course we didn’t dare to skip enjoying the beauty of Vigan.


and Laoag.


We fancied the windmills with that innocuous puppy,


Puppy lookin’ straight to the camera! (–,)

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Bangui bay…approaching dusk…

Bangui bay…approaching dusk…

the lighthouse,


I’m so in love! (–,)

Crisologo street,

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The famous street…

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Crisologo street…

and Patapat viaduct.


Patapat viaduct!

and Pagudpud.


Welcome to Pagudpud… a tale has it that the word originated from an American father and his son, it was the son who said “Pa! Good food!” while they’re sailing and saw some fresh catch…

That one activity you must not miss. Is to try out the famous Vigan longaniza which we can’t get enough of. Longganiza for breakfast,

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Cafe Leona…this restaurant since mostly frequented by tourists, they had to put up tables in front covered with a tent. We were lucky to find our table inside…

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Longganiza at Cafe Leona is a must…

longganiza for lunch and longganiza for dinner. ahaha!


We had dinner (longaniza again) from Macy’s diner..

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My pink & purple room at Tiffany Hotel…

Well, we had “bagnet” in one of our dinners for a change. It’s an Ilocano specialty dish made of deep-fried pork belly, with its’ skin so crisp and tasty. Its’ flavor was due to the long process it had been cooked, after marinating the pork belly, it’ll be deep fried twice after letting it cool, refrigerate and deep – fry for the last time. And the empanada too..

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Vigan empanada…

Ilocos was such a gifted place. We haven’t visited the white rocks because as I’ve said before, the road there is a road less traveled unless you have planned it or if you have all the time in the world. Ours is very limited.

By the way the hotels in La Union was a riddle to me. As we hop from one hotel to another for an overnight stay, most of their names are with Bali hai, Aloha nui or some Hawaiian words in it. I found out from one of the staff that a number of Americans from Hawaii have settled for good in La Union finding it irresistible.


Hotel hopping in La Union…

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Witnessed a wedding when we visited one of their old churches…and took advantage to have a picture with this decorated cart…

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From this hill, we had this panoramic view in sync with the soft sound of the wind and leaves dancing in front of us…

Had I not visited La Union, I am still innocent of that story maybe until this very day. It was such a fulfilling discovery. The long hours of travel from region 1 and 2 had been more exciting even if it’s so exhausting. Not only because I captured a rainbow along the way but because of the beautiful sceneries that we encountered and the people we’ve met in each town. I am topping this off with this restaurant that we found serving my all time favorite. A slice of blueberry cheesecake. (–,)

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We spotted La Preciosa and we took our slice of blueberry cheesecake…(–,)

Next stop? Isabela… =)