Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Day 2 - Vigan: Calesa ride, haunted belfry and Piolo Pascual (July 5, 2007)
The second day started pretty good, I was feeling better after a good night sleep on such a heavenly mattress with perfect pillows. If you travel a lot you will know that finding the right pillow to sleep on is a major hassle. But at Villa Angela their pillows were perfect! We had Vigan longganisa, fried eggs, garlic rice and some tomatoes with Ilokano vinegar as seasoning for breakfast. We ate on one of those long antique dining tables.

Guess what?
Just across the table from us in the flesh was Piolo Pascual! (a local actor). Yes he was there for a pictorial in Vigan. OK, I'm not a fan of the guy or else I would have screamed at the top of my lungs like Toni Gonzaga in that soft drinks commercial a few years back "I love you Piolo!" I'm in love with someone else not him. Teehee! Besides, I hardly get starstruck at all! His whole entourage of production assistants, make up artists, photo shoot directors and dakilang alalays were always hovering and fussing around him like pesky flies. All I wanted that morning was to savor my delicious longganisa in peace while enjoying the ambiance of the heritage house. Is that too much to ask for, huh?

Anyways after breakfast, we managed to extricate ourselves from the chaotic scenario at Villa Angela teeming with Piolo's entourage and were off for the day. We first decided to explore Vigan on foot, armed with a handy map of the city area, good walking shoes and loads of sunblock. We walked under the blazing sun across Calle Crisologo, the Vigan Cathedral (St Paul's Metropolitan Cathedral), Plaza Salcedo, the Arzobispado de Nueva Segovia which is the only surviving 18th century Archbishop's Palace in the country, Plaza Burgos, the Provincial Capitol Building and walked some more all the way to Padre Burgos' birthplace which is now a museum.

After a quick lunch at Max's Restaurant which is located right smack at the corner of Calle Crisologo, we hired a calesa for P150/hour to tour us at the other landmarks of Vigan which are not accessible by foot. Our first stop was the Our Lady of the Charities church and the Bantay Belfry, which are located in Bantay, the nearest town to Vigan. Upon reaching the place, the caretaker gives you a key so you can unlock the gate to climb to the top of the belfry for a magnificent view of the bells, Ilocos Sur and its environs.

Now listen or rather read carefully. At the top of the belfry there were some children playing. A guy comes up with us and instructs them to descend from the tower. I saw two I repeat TWO children come down the stairs as we were about to go up. After a few minutes of admiring the view, my sister and I descended. Upon reaching the gate, we had to re lock it then surrender the key BUT my sister insists there was still one more kid upstairs. I told her no way, I specifically saw only 2 kids descend the stairs, they were already outside. She insists there was a boy of about 8 years old still inside, she saw him playing along the stairs. Now my question is: How come I didn't see the kid? How the heck can there be anyone left up there when I know for sure there were only TWO not three kids! Phew boy oh boy did that give me shivers. You see, my sister has this undeveloped third eye. It happens that sometimes she sees people or things which no one else can. Yikes till this day whenever I recount that incident, I still get goosebumps!

Montage of Vigan

The rest of the Calesa tour wasn't as scary. We thoroughly enjoyed the horse driven ride. We went to the Hidden Garden which as its name implies is a garden where they sell all sorts of plants, flowers and pots for landscaping purposes as well as gardening items. We also dropped by the Pagburnayan where they have a workshop showcasing the molding of the burnays (jars) which are eventually sold. We requested for a quick stop at the public market so we could buy Vigan longganisa as pasalubongs before being dropped off at Villa Angela for the end of the tour. Oh it was such a grand feeling to be driven around on a calesa then dropped off at a heritage house. One thing I learned though is that it is very difficult to alight from a carriage but I guess it doesn't help that I am a vertically challenged person. Hehehe

We went out again after resting a few minutes to explore the Crisologo Museum as well as do some shopping at Calle Crisologo for some souvenir items. Then we proceeded to the Empanadaan stalls in the center of town to taste the famous Vigan Empanada. Its filling consists of sliced cabbage, mongo sprouts, shrimps, garlic and chopped pork, covered in an orangey rice flour, sealed and deep fried. I wasn't able to take a picture of this yummy snack because I was so famished by then. But believe me it was delicious, filling and wasn't oily at all. We liked it so much we bought several empanadas for dinner and stuffed ourselves like there was no tomorrow.

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