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January 17, 2017

Year-end Travel: Vigan

It's been my tradition to go somewhere during the holidays and months before it, I've already booked for accommodation since I know how hard it is to find a place to stay during the peak season. Originally, I should be traveling alone but my husband decided to come at the last minute. After our long wait and long journey by bus, we finally reached our destination on the 30th of December, 2016 at around 5pm. 

Day, 1: December 30, 2016 

We ate first upon checking- in. We rested for a while after, took a shower and went to Calle Crisologo. It is where you can find the old houses from the Spanish era. Even they looked old, it was such an amazing view. It's like going back in time looking at those houses.


We enjoyed taking a walk, looking at shops and restaurants there. The street was so busy and crowded with so many tourists. After spending time there, we decided to look for the place where they sell only the famous Vigan empanada. They call it empanadahan.  It was already late at night but the place is still crowded. We wanted to eat but there are no more seats so we just looked around. 

A lady making empanada
We went back to Calle Crisologo and settled to eat at Cafe Leona. We had vegan pizza and beer. It is one of the yummiest pizza I've ever eaten.

Hubby enjoying his beer with vegan pizza roll

After making ourselves tired from walking, we headed back to the hotel.


Day 2: December 31, 2016

The weather was hot so we just stayed at the hotel during the daytime. I guess it is better to go out after sundown. We spent time watching HBO movies and of course making plans for our next travel. 

We ate at the hotel before going out. We planned to visit Bantay Watch Tower.  Our hotel is located in Bantay, Ilocos Sur hence the place was just near us.


Good thing the tower was still open. There's no entrance fee, only donations. The view from the top was really relaxing although you can see a cemetery. 

The view from the top of the towe3
Top most part of the tower


When you get to the top, you can find 5 bells, and the one in the center is the biggest.

The biggest one
After making ourselves tired and hungry in climbing the watch tower. We went to the famous Irene's Empanada in Calle Crisologo. I don't want to miss eating this.


My husband eating empanada
After eating, we took a walk again. Then my husband remembered the dancing fountain in Plaza Salcedo. He read from blogs that it usually begins at 7 pm so we went there early.  It began at 7:30 pm and it lasted for 30 minutes. There were so many people, kids really enjoyed the show as they were laughing and singing along with the song being played. 

These are some of the long exposure shots I did without a tripod! It was difficult as I have to try to hold my breath after taking the shot to reduce camera shake.



Watching this show made me forget all of my problems and all I had was a wide smile on my face. I felt like I was brought to a world without worries. 

After watching the show, we tried to look for a bar where we can spend time while waiting for the New Year. We took long walks until we reached a narrow dimly lit street. Houses are so old we can see some of the bricks have fallen off. My husband told me " I can imagine the old generation with their Filipiniana dress and Barong tagalog walking this street." It's creepy but I couldn't explain how lucky were are of having the chance to walk that street. I regret not being able to take a shot of that place, however, what happens in that street, remains there. LOL! 

We went back to the hotel to spend our New Year instead of hunting for a bar. We just bought some beer and snacks while waiting for 12 midnight. 

Day 3: January 1,2017 (Last Day) 

We planned to go to the bus station earlier to avoid the long wait. But before that we still have time to visit other places, also to buy some goods to bring home. I told my husband we should go to the pottery place and to Hidden Garden. We hired a tricycle to bring us to places we wanted to go to that day. We first went to the pottery making which is found in Barangay Pagburnayan. Pagburnayan simply means Pottery making. 

Where they mix everything
We happen to have a little chat with the guy there and asked what kind of material they used. He said, they use farm soil. It's an old method of pottery making. I really wanted to see how they make it but we don't have that long time to watch. 


 The above photo is the equipment they use in molding a pot.


The above photo is a fellow tourist trying to mold the pot. Thank you for agreeing to use your hand as my model.

Finish product
 

Some souvenirs to buy
After buying some souvenirs there, we visited Hidden Garden.


Awards


It's a bit far from the city but it is one of the best garden I have seen so far since I started traveling. It is well-maintained and staff are well-mannered. You can see that cleanliness is their top priority in the place. You don't need to pay for entrance fee, just donations. 



According to what it's written, they use the money to help the needy. Such an amazing gesture!  You can find different kinds of birds, fish, bonsai trees, herbs and others in there. The garden is equipped with benches where you can sit in case you feel tired going around. There is also a fine restaurant inside the garden which I will be talking on my next post.

 

One thing my husband and I noticed is that the garden has many different kinds of statues; there are many statues of Buddha a soon as you enter, hence we thought it is Buddhism inspired. 

After having lunch there, we asked the tricycle driver to help us find a place where to buy longganisa. Later on, we went back to the hotel, rested for a while then pack our things; we're going home! 

It was one of the best journeys we had! Thanks universe for the opportunity!


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