I am from the Philippines. Check the pages to your right where you can find out about my country. Have you been to the Philippines? If you want to find out more, just do not forget to visit my homepage whenever you are online to check for latest updates. Just type in mydreamscapelife.blogspot.com. MARAMING SALAMAT!!! (Thank You!!!)
DESTINATION: THE PHILIPPINES - N.LUZON PART 3
MOUNT PINATUBO CRATER TREKKING ADVENTURE
Visitors to the Mount Pinatubo crater, often remark that beyond the beauty of the Mount Pinatubo there is a sense of calm and serenity. Mount Pinatubo has been the geographical center of the lands of the Aeta people for centuries and is the focus of their beliefs. The Aeta believe that they share their habitat at the foot of the volcano with numerous benevolent and evil spirits while their highest deity Apu Malyari ( also sometimes seen as Apo Namaylari) resides close to the summit of Mount Pinatubo.
The Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991 was one of the largest eruptions in history. The eruption and two typhoons that entered the area while Mount Pinatubo was erupting turned the breadbasket of the Philippines into desolate waste land. The damage affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and the effects of the ash cloud circled the earth. The social and economic effects are still being felt, but the natural healing is well on its way. The area is a contrast between the dust and lahars in the scarcely vegetated flats and river beds to the lush mountains sides with young trees and other cover.
They do not encourage swimming at the crater because according to PHILVOCS which regularly conduct routine check in the area, it's roughly 280 to more than 300 feet deep. Bear in mind that this is not a beach, It is a stratovolcano! Sudden drop just few meters away from the crater side. There is no stand by lifeguard in the area so as per Local Tourism advisory, tourists are not allowed to swim and the tour guides will not be liable if any of the tourists get drowned.
Mount Pinatubo is an activestratovolcano located on the island of Luzon, near the tripoint of the Philippine provinces of Zambales, Tarlac, and Pampanga. It is located in the Cabusilan Mountains separating the west coast of Luzon from the central plains. Before the volcanic activities of 1991, its eruptive history was unknown to most people. It was heavily eroded, inconspicuous and obscured from view. It was covered with dense forest which supported a population of several thousand indigenous people, the Aetas, who fled to the mountains during the Spanishconquest of the Philippines.
The volcano's Plinian / Ultra-Plinian eruption on June 15, 1991 produced the second largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century after the 1912 eruption of Novarupta in the Alaska Peninsula. Complicating the eruption was the arrival of Typhoon Yunya bringing a lethal mix of ash and rain. Successful predictions at the onset of the climactic eruption led to the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from the surrounding areas, saving many lives, but the surrounding areas were severely damaged by pyroclastic flows, ash deposits, and subsequently, by the lahars caused by rainwaters re-mobilizing earlier volcanic deposits causing extensive destruction to infrastructure and altering the river systems months to years after the eruption.
The volcano is located 87 km (54 mi) northwest of Manila, the capital of the Philippines. Near Mount Pinatubo, the United States maintained two large military bases in the region. The U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay was located 37 km (23 mi) south of Pinatubo, while the extent of Clark Air Base was just 14 km (8.7 mi) to the east of the volcano's summit. Clark Air Base's residential areas and petroleum storage facilities were in much closer proximity to the volcano than the airfield complex and neighboring Angeles City.
An indigenous group of people, the Aetas (also spelled as Ayta/Ita), had lived on the slopes of the volcano and in surrounding areas for several centuries, having fled the lowlands to escape persecution by the Spanish during their conquest of the Philippines which began in 1565. They were a hunter-gatherer people who were extremely successful in surviving in the dense jungles of the area. These people also grew some staple crops such as wheat, barley, rice and raised animals.
In total, about 30,000 people lived on the flanks of the volcano in about 25 established barangays (villages) and other small settlements like Tarukan village and Maruglu. The dense jungle covering most of the mountain and surrounding peaks supported the hunter-gathering Aeta, while on the surrounding flatter areas, the abundant rainfall of almost 4 metres (13 ft) annually) provided by the monsoon climate and the fertile volcanic soils provided excellent conditions for agriculture.
Before and after the eruption: a river valley filled in by pyroclastic flow deposits
Since the eruption, each onset of heavy rain brought lahars from the mountain range, causing the displacement of thousands of people. Inflicting extensive damage to buildings and infrastructure costing billions to repair, a large supply of funds were spent in constructing dikes and dams to control the post-eruption lahar flows.
Several important river systems stem from Mount Pinatubo, with the major rivers being the Abacan, Tarlac, Pasig-Potrero, Sta. Lucia, Bucao, Santo Tomas, Maloma, Tanguay, Ashley, and Kileng rivers. Before the eruption, these river systems were important ecosystems, but the eruption filled many valleys with deep pyroclastic deposits. Since 1991, the rivers have been clogged with sediment, and the valleys have seen frequent lahars which continued for years after the eruption. Studies show that the river systems will take years to recover from the 1991 eruption.
Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base
The United States Air Force initiated a massive airlift effort to evacuate American service members and their families during and immediately following the eruption, named Operation Fiery Vigil. Most personnel were initially relocated to Guam, Okinawa, and Hawaii, although some returned to the continental United States. Clark Air Base was ultimately abandoned by the United States military, and Subic Bay reverted to Philippine control the next year following the breakdown of lease negotiations.
Impact on the indigenous people of Pinatubo
The Aeta people were the hardest hit by the eruption. After the areas surrounding the volcano were declared safe, many Aetas returned to their old villages only to find them destroyed by pyroclastic and lahar deposits. Some were able to return to their former way of life, but most moved instead to government-organized resettlement areas. Conditions on these were poor, with each family receiving only small plots of land not ideal for growing crops. Many Aeta found casual labor working for lowland farmers, and overall Aeta society became much more fragmented, and reliant on and integrated with lowland culture.
Cebu Province is an Island of the same name and its capital city is Cebu City. The Island of Cebu is in Central Philippines in Visayas between the Islands of Bohol to the southwest and Negros to the west side. Cebu is a long narrow stretch of land extending northeast to southwest for a lenght of 180 kilometers and with a width of not more than 60 kilometers. The Island of Cebu is 4,421 square kilometers of rugged mountains and numerous coastal beaches.
Cebu is the oldest city in the Philippines being established in April 1565 with the arrival of the Legazpi - Urdaneta expedition from Mexico. Five Augustin priests traveled to Cebu with this expedition. From then until the end of the Spanish colonization period the Augustinians had established 18 towns in the Island, each with its own Augustin Church.
Accordingly any tourist to Cebu today can not help but see these Church monuments dating back to the 16th Century. The major tourist attractions in Cebu are the early Spanish fortifications, the Augustin Churches, the beaches and the ethnic diversity of the Cebuano people especially at festival times.
Cebu is a regional advanced education center for Philippines students, has a large domestic and international airport with numerous hotels and quality recreation centers.
Cebu is a recommended tourist destination.
Painting Of Augustin Arrival At Cebu At Cebu Cathederal Museum
Drawing Of Legazpi At San Petro Fort
Magellan Cross Monument
The Major Tourist Attractions In Cebu
Fort San Pedro is located in the area now called Plaza Indepedencia, in the Pier Area of Cebu City. The Fort is named after Legazpi's flagship in the 1565 expedition the Cebu from Mexico. Construction of the Fort started in May 1565 under Legazpi's supervision
Historically there are no records about the Fort until 1739 when a report was sent to King Phillip 11 of Spain about it. In 1738 it was deemed finished which probably refers to its present stone construction.
San Pedro Fort is triangular in shape, with two sides facing the sea and the third side fronting the land. The two sides facing the sea were defended with artillery and the front with a strong palisade made of wood. The three bastions were named La Concepción [ Southwest side ]; Ignacio de Loyola [ Southeast side ], and San Miguel [ Northeast side ]. The total inside area is 2,025 square meters. The walls are 20 feet [ 6.1 meters ] high, 8 feet [ 2.4 meters ] thick and the towers are 30 feet [ 9.1 meters ] high from the ground level. The circumference is 1,248 feet [ 380 meters ]. The sides are of unequal lengths and the one fronting the city is where one may find entry into the Fort.
Fourteen cannons were mounted in their emplacements most of which are still there today. These are as depicted in the picture opposite.
Historically there are no records about the Fort until 1739 when a report was sent to King Phillip 11 of Spain about it. In 1738 it was deemed finished which probably refers to its present stone construction.
Fort San Pedro Cebu City
Drawing of Original Fort San Pedro Cebu
Since the time when the Spanish left The Philippines the Fort has been used as;
 a prison during the Revolution of 1896 to 1898,
 a Cebuano held fort after war was declared between Spain and The United States of America in 1898,
 American barracks during the American occupation,
 a prison camp during the war with Japan,
 a hospital,
 an army camp,
 a garden club garden,
 a Zoo in 1957, and after its 1968 restoration,
 a museum of local history pertaining to the Fort.
Fort San Pedro Cebu City and Legazpi's Statue
A Museum Drawing
Canon Placement at Fort San Pedro
Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral Museum is opposite the Cebu Cathedral and was originally the parish house. It is worth a visit for two reasons. First it is an original building which survived the destruction of World War 11 bombing and as such is interesting inside The base is made of cut coral slabs and the rooms and stairways are of large proportions with roof overlays for shade and large open windows for air circulation.
Second it now serves as an ecclesiastical museum for the region with numerous artifacts of the Spanish colonial period and Church history. The range of exhibits is very good.
Cebu Cathedral Museum
The Basilica del Santo Nino is a 16th Century Augustin Church in Cebu City. It is named after a 16th century doll, '' The Santo Nino de Cebu '' [ the holy child of Cebu ] which is a European made doll figure representing Jesus Christ as a child similar to the Infant Jesus of Prague. The doll was brought to Cebu in 1521 by Ferdinand Magellan and left there after he was killed there on nearby Mactan Island on 27th April 1521. In 1565 a mariner with Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, Juan de Camus, found the doll at the present location where the Basilica was built.
The doll image is believed to be of Belgian origin and is roughly 30.5 centimeters tall, wearing a loose velvet vestment, a gilded neck chain and a woolen red hood. It is carved from wood and coated with paint. The image holds a golden ball, a replica of the world in the left hand, and the right hand is slightly raised as a gesture of blessing, similar to the doll Jesus of Prague.
The Basilica site describes, '' Deeply impressed by this discovery, Camus presented the Image to Legazpi and the Augustinian priests. They were so humbled by the significance of the finding of the image that in solemnity, the image was carried in a procession to a provisional chapel. Legazpi then ordered the creation of the Confraternity of the Santo Niño de Cebu with Fr. Andres de Urdaneta as its head. A devotee of the Child Jesus himself, Legazpi installed a festivity in commemoration of the finding of the Holy Image. Although the celebration still survives until today, Pope Innocent XIII moved the celebration to the Third Sunday of January so as not to conflict with the 40-day celebration of Easter.
The Cebuano natives revered the Image of Santo Niño as Bathala. They most probably blessed the image with oil or offered sacrifices to the Santo Niño while invoking for His assistance in times of difficulties, reliefs in their necessities or consolations in their adversities. Presently dressed in royalty with its ornate decorations, including a sash adorned with old Castilian coins and a Toison de Oro [ Golden Fleece ] with a ram pendant reputedly given by King Charles III in the 17th century, the image now stands in grandeur that continues to captivate the hearts and souls of his fervent devotees.
Stories of the Miracles of the Señor Santo Niño spread like wildfire in the Seas, placing Cebu as the Cradle of the Santo Niño devotion in the Philippines. His devotion spanned to the nearby island-provinces of the Visayas, then advanced to the north to as far as the Ilocandia and reached down south in Mindanao.''
Here in Asia today is 16th century Europe. The architecture, the devotion to the doll and the museum artifacts all illustrate a difference between The Philippines and the rest of Asia.
There is a museum inside the Basilica showcasing the history of Christianity in Cebu. Here are antique objects on display, including furniture, priestly vestments and the Santo Nino's old cloaks donated by individuals over the centuries. Religious articles such as statues and relics are also displayed and other items of daily life from the adjacent Convent. Several toys may also be seen which are said to be presents to the Child Jesus.
Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral
Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral
Entrance To Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral
The Heritage City of Cebu, Carcar is home to various Spanish to American period structures. The Carcar plaza alone hosts several Heritage structures, the Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria dominates the area. Within the complex various structures stand. Walking towards Sta. Catalina street one will surely be astonished with the quaint houses and their distinctive architectural details.
Carcar is located approximately 40 km south of Cebu City
Carcar Augustin Church Cebu
Inside Carcar Augustin Church Cebu
Argao Cebu Province
Spanish Colonial Courthouse Argao Cebu Province
Argao is a stop over when driving South along the coastal road and is equidistant from Cebu City and the southern tip of Cebu Island. This is about 68 kilometers.
Here was once a complex within defensive walls and bastions. Iside one can now see the Church, two remaining large coral stone gates and the Argao Hall of Justice. The walls of the lovely period building are a meter thick and it was made of slabs of cut coral stone.
Gate way to the sea Argao Cebu Province
The Taoist Temple Cebu City
On the high hills at the back of Cebu City 300 meters above sea level in the ''Beverly Hills '' subdivision of expensive housing is the Cebu Taoist Temple. It was built in 1972 and has little artistic or architectural significance but is well worth a visit , for the drive up high above the old town of Cebu, the views of the City, of Mactan Island and mountainous Bohol across the sea.
The Temple is open to any one including non believers of this faith. Photography inside the Temples is not permitted and guards police this policy. There are three entrances each with their own winding passage ways to each temple.The neighboring Phu Sian Temple is not open to non believers.
Taoism is an ancient Chinese religion based on the teachings of Lao Tze and which recognizes several Dieties, here represented by statue images. Here one can see rituals and beliefs from mainland Asia of Chinese origin. The Philippines, particularly Manila had large Chinese communities before the arrival of the Spanish Roman Catholics.
Taoist Temple Cebu City
Magellan's Cross is a Christian cross of the Catholic faith which is housed in a small chapel in old Cebu City on Magallanes street close to the Basiclica Minore del Santo Nino [ doll of the Baby Jesus ] and not far from San Pedro Fort and Cebu Metroplitan Cathedral. '' Magallanes '' is Spanish for Magellan. It is a promoted tourist attraction because to the Cebuano it and their religion is important to them.
The history is that when Ferdinand Magellan first arrived in Cebu on 21 April 1521 he erected a cross in Cebu. The cross there today is not the original. Magellan's Cross is one symbol of Cebu. This chapel's image can be found in Cebu city seal. It is also seen as the symbol of Roman Catholicism in the Philippines.
Magellan and his crew were the first Europeans to arrive in the Philippines. They made the first conversions to Catholicism when they converted Rajah Humabon, the local chief, his wife and hundreds of his Cebuano villagers to accept Christianity and be consequently baptized.
At the same time Magellan left in Cebu the Santo Nino de Cebu [ holy child of Cebu ] a doll figure made in Europe in the 16th Century representing Jesus Christ as a child. This doll was rediscovered some 45 years later upon the return to Cebu of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi who came back to Cebu on the order of King Phillip of Spain to make Cebu the first center of the new Spanish Colony in Asia, called ''Las Islas Filipinas''.
It is a World Heritage Site in that it is one of the few Hispanic towns left in the Philippines, and is well known for its cobblestone streets, and a unique architecture that fuses Philippine and Oriental building designs and construction, with colonial European architecture.
According to the latest Philippines census, it has a population of 47,246 people in 9,193 households.
Former Philippine president Elpidio Quirino, the sixth president of the Philippines, was born in Vigan, at the current location of the Provincial Jail (his father was a warden); and resided in the Syquia Mansion.
The area of Vigan was originally a settlement of traders coming from the Fujian Province, China. At the time of Spanish colonisation, the Chinese settlers, whose language was Southern Fujianese (Min Nan, often referred to as "Hokkien" by most Filipinos), referred to the area as "Bee Gan" (Chinese: 美岸; pinyin: Měi'àn), which means "Beautiful Shore." Since the Castillian and Basque Spanish conquistadors interchanged V and the B to refer to the B sound, they spelled the Hokkien Chinese name "Bee Gan" as "Vigan", which is the name used to this day.
Vigan's Chinese heritage is still evident from the numerous elite Chinese creole families who come from the area, many of whom adopted Hispanic family names. Others, such as the Sy-Quia family, have retained Chinese-derived surnames, though most, if not all, of the Christian Chinese creole families fully Hispanicised themselves culturally.
The most commonly known source of the city's name is from the Biga'a plant, which once grew abundantly along the banks of the Meztiso River, from which captain Juan de Salcedo derived the city's name (after a misunderstanding with the locals, thinking he was asking the name of the plants).
The city's full name at the time of its Spanish foundation was "Villa Fernandina", or "Town of Ferdinand", in honour of Prince Ferdinand, the firstborn son of King Philip II of Spain. As the city grew, and the seat of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia transferred to Vigan, it was later renamed "Ciudad Fernandina de Vigan" ("Ferdinand's City of Vigan").
Due to silting of the Mestizo River, Vigan City is no longer an island and no longer separated from the mainland. The city is unique in the Philippines because it is one of many extensive surviving Philippine historic cities, dating back to the 16th century.
Vigan was a coastal trading post long before the Spaniards arrived; Chinese traders sailing from the South China Sea came to Isla de Vigan (Island of Vigan) via the Mestizo River that surrounded it. On board their ships were seafaring merchants who came to trade goods from other Asian kingdoms in exchange for gold, beeswax, and other mountain products brought by the indigenous peoples from the Cordilleras region.
In the book The Philippine Island (Vol. III, p. 276, Blair and Robertson) two letters from Governor General Guido de Lavezaris to King Philip II of Spain mention: "It seemed best to send Captain Juan de Salcedo with 70 or 80 soldiers to explore the coast of Los Ilocanos on the shores of the river called Bigan." The Spaniards marched north from Manila on May 20, 1572 and arrived in Vigan on June 12, 1572.
Thus, after the successful expedition and the exploration of the North, Juan de Salcedo founded "Villa Fernandina de Vigan" in honor of King Philip II’s son, Prince Ferdinand, who died at the age of four. From Vigan, Salcedo rounded the tip of Luzón and proceeded to pacify Camarines, Albay, and Catanduanes. As a reward for his services to the King of Spain, Salcedo was awarded the old province of Ilocos, which consisted of the modern provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Abra, La Unión and part of Mountain Province as his hacienda (estate), and was accorded the title of "Justicia Mayor de esta Provincia de Ylocos" (Province Mayor of Ilocos).
In 1576, Salcedo returned to the capital of his encomienda (trusteeship), Vigan, bringing with him his soldiers and some Augustinian missionaries to pioneer the evangelization of the Ilocos region. He established a Spanish city for the purpose of controlling the neighboring country.
Governor General Gómez Pérez Dasmariñas, in his account of encomienda dated in Manila on May 31, 1591, states: "The town of Vigan called Villa Fernandina consisted of Spanish settlers; a priest; a Justice Alcalde Mayor (Governor); and a Deputy. The King collects 800 tributes (equivalent to 3,200 subjects)." During this period, Vigan was composed of 19 barrios (districts).
Between 1645 to 1660, Vigan was divided into 21 "Cabezas de Barrio" (Town Mayors) as mentioned in the Libro de Casamiento (Book of Marriage); from the records of the parish house of Vigan found in its archives. Separated from the indigenous population, the Chinese migrants were residents in a neighbourhood called El Pariancillo, los Sangleyes del parian (The Sangleyes of the Parian); and the Spanish settlers were residents in a town called Los Españoles de la Villa (The Town Spaniards).
During the Philippine Revolution of 1896 to 1898, revolutionary forces, supported by the Ilocano rebels, attacked and defeated the Spanish colonial forces and captured the city in the Siege of Vigan. Starting from the Philippine-American War from 1899 to 1901, American colonial troops occupied the city. Forces led by Col. James Parker occupied the Cathedral.
During World War II, Japanese Imperial Army planes bombed Vigan on December 1941 and Japanese troops occupied the town in 1942. In 1945, combined U.S. and Philippine Commonwealth ground troops, aided by Ilocano resistance fighters, defeated the Japanese Imperial forces and liberated Vigan.
In the 2010 movie by Bonda Fajardo Iliw, Colonel Takahashi and Fr. Joseph Klecamf protected "Vigan" from being burned by the Japanese Army or attacked by the U.S. Army.
2007 Vigan City was listed by UNESCO as the best preserved example of Spanish colonial towns in Asia. Its architecture is the conglomeration of cultural elements from the Philippines, China, and Spain, making it unique in the world.
Saint Paul's Metropolitan Cathedral
A house featuring Spanish colonial architecture in Vigan City
When Juan de Salcedo founded Vigan in 1572, he decided to pattern its urban plan with that of Intramuros, the walled city in Manila. There were not many to copy from as Vigan or Ciudad Fernandina, as it was earlier named, was amongst the earliest settlements built by the Spaniards in the country.
The urban planners of the Spanish government also followed a basic pattern that can be observed in most old towns in the country, whose establishment dates back to the Spanish colonial period. This pattern is detailed in the Ley de las Indias, the Law of the Indies, and was put into force in the 18th century. Under the Law of the Indies streets were to follow a grid pattern, the center of which being a plaza or central park.
In Vigan, the central park is the Plaza Salcedo. Next to it are the administrative buildings—the Casa Real or provincial administrative office, and the municipio (municipal hall). A stone's throw away are the religious buildings—the seminary of the archdiocese, the Arzobispado (Archbishop's Palace), and the St. Paul's Cathedral. Beside these religious structures is the church-run school, the Saint Paul College, known in its early days as the Colegio de Niñas. (It is currently being occupied by a retail store chain.)
A unique thing is the existence of another plaza, the Plaza Burgos, which is immediately beside the St. Paul's Cathedral. After the first tier emanating from Plaza Salcedo are the houses of prominent residents that now make up the preserved heritage houses of Vigan. This urban plan remained relatively intact despite wars and natural calamities that have been endured by Vigan since its foundation.
The major changes to the original urban landscape were caused by fires. The Casa Real was replaced with a provincial capitol building during the American period when the original structure burned down. The archdiocese seminary was also destroyed by fire in 1968, and it lay in ruins until the late 1990s, when part of a shopping mall was built on the site.
The residential areas were not spared. Some of the houses on Crisologo Street were casualties of fire during the Japanese period; several houses on Quezon Avenue were destroyed by fire as well in 1952; while in 1971, some houses near Plaza Burgos burned down as well. The houses along Crisologo Street that were burned were later reconstructed faithfully following the architecture of the former structures.
Presently, there are other major areas of activities other than the two plazas, though these are still where most recreation and shopping are done. One may also go to the southern part of the city to reach the commercial area and public market. The current Public Market is a new one, as the old one (formerly the Imelda Socio-Commercial Complex), on the same site, was (also) destroyed by fire. The very first Public Market, found in the center of the business district, is now the site of new commercial buildings and the site of a tricycle-for-hire terminal.
Calle Crisologo at night
Jar making at Pagburnayan
POINTS OF INTEREST
Vigan Dancing Fountain - first of its kind in the country engineered by Koreans and rivaling the Bellagio Water Fountains in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Location of this tourist attraction is at the Plaza Salcedo Lagoon
Archbishop's Residence - Located next to the Vigan Cathedral, The Archbishop's Palace of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia is the oldest continually inhabited Archbishop's residence in the Philippines, with the building itself dating to the 16th century. It was completed in 1793 after a span of 7 years. It features sliding capiz windows and cut-out decorations with floral motifs. It has a back entrance that leads to the nearby Govantes Dike, which was once a docking port for water craft. The palace has a collection of priceless ecclesiastical artifacts and relics from other Ilocos churches.
Father Jose Burgos' Residence - Located almost behind the Provincial Capitol. The birthplace of Father Jose Burgos, one of the three martyred Filipino priests at Bagumbayan (GOMBURZA). It also houses Ilocano artifacts and ethnic arts of the Tinggians.
Plaza Burgos - dedicated to the memory of Father Jose Burgos. Located beside the Vigan Cathedral. Depending on the weather, the streets surrounding it (except for the street adjacent to the Empanadaan) is closed off to motorized traffic every Saturday and Sunday to allow people to walk the streets freely.
Vigan Empanadaan - a reserved location where visitors can sample Vigan's famous empanada; as well as sinanglao (traditional hotpot made of beef innards). Located at the eastern part of Plaza Burgos.
Baluarte - a zoo located in Salindeg where visitors can see a variety of animals (including tigers and ostriches). It is also a popular venue for special events such as seminars and conferences. The owner of Baluarte is former Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson.
Pagburnayan - a barangay at the southwestern end of Liberation Boulevard in Vigan, where the famous Ilocano jar called burnay, used for storing locally made vinegar, local wine (called basi), and fish sauce (bagoong); and as decorative ware, is produced. Tourists can see these factories making the burnay using pre-historic methods of production, using carabaos (water buffalos) to knead the clay, and foot-powered potter's wheels to turn the clay into burnay jars.
Pagpartian - where the great conquistador Juan de Salcedo landed when he arrived in Vigan through the Mestizo River. Also the site of the city slaughterhouse, built during the Spanish Era.
Hidden Garden - Located in Bulala (a barrio known for its making of bricks, pots, and other objects made of clay), it is a wonderland of greenery, with a mini-snack bar nestled somewhere in the middle.
Quezon Avenue - the business center of Vigan.
Vigan Public Market - where visitors can purchase delicacies like Vigan Longanisa (native pork sausages) and bagnet (deep-fried crispy pork).
Plaza Salcedo - dedicated to the memory of the great conquistador Juan de Salcedo. It is also the site of Gabriela Silang's public hanging in 1763. Located in front of the Vigan Cathedral.
Vigan Heritage Village - Also known as the Mestizo District, it is what Vigan City is known for—streets lined with Spanish Era ancestral houses (with ancient tile roofs, massive hardwood floorings, balustrades and azoteas in varying Spanish, Mexican, and Chinese architectural styles) and cobble-stoned streets, which led to Vigan's inscription in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Tourists can buy souvenirs or even ride a calesa (horse-drawn buggy). The Heritage Village mostly covers two streets: Plaridel Street and (mostly) Mena Crisologo Street.
Syquia Mansion - the Vigan residence of Elpidio Quirino, 6th President of the Philippines.
Crisologo Museum - the residence of the Crisologo family in Vigan converted into a museum. It houses the memorabilia of the Crisologos and original furnishings of a typical Vigan ancestral house.
Quema House - the residence of the Quema family, considered by sociologist Fernando Zialcita as most representative of 18th-century Philippine architectural style.
Mindoro Beach - the only seaside location in the city, just adjacent to the Vigan International Airport.
Simbaan A Bassit - This cemetery chapel has a Bell-gable design, the only one of its kind in the Ilocos Region. The chapel's name is an Ilocano term meaning "small church."
- Birds: Ostriches, Parrots, Peacocks, Eagles and more
- A Butterfly Garden
- And more
There are also some Live Animal Shows and a Petting Zoo. Not only do you get to learn about the animals, they also animal care, science and conservation.
Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, is home to Baluarte Zoo. Its about 10 minutes outside of the city, heading towards the China Sea. Its not a big budget type of zoo. Don’t expect any extravagant shows or pen areas for the animals. A lot of animals actually roam free within the walk areas as the guests.
Besides its low budget feel, I give it two thumbs up. It’s open everyday to the public for FREE. Not many things are free in the Philippines, let alone an educational place for kids to learn about animals indigenous to the Philippines as well as around the world.
- About 400km from Manila
- Free admissions for everyone
- Open 7 days a week from 7am – 6pm
- Privately owned by Chavit Singson
- Picnic area available, no charge
- Small canteen available to purchase food
How To Get To Vigan City
Bus: Dominion Bus Lines and Partas will run you about 500-600 pesos.
Car: I estimate it will cost around 8000 pesos to hire a car and driver… but that would still take some negotiating.
Air: Flights are available from Seair direct from Manila
The Bantay Church, also known as the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity, is a baroque-styled church built by the Augustinian Friars in the late 1500’s and is one of the oldest churches in Ilocos Sur.
The Bell Tower that sits facing the South China Sea
Floro Crisologo Museum
Located in Liberation Boulevard, Vigan, the Floro Crisologo Museum, home of Floro Crisologo, the man behind the establishment of the Social Security System, is open to public for free. The century-old mansion houses dozens of antiques and memorabilia owned by the Crisologos. The house tells quite a tale about the late congressman’s life – from news clippings, the blood-stained shirt he wore when he was assassinated inside St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1970, to the old car his wife, who was pregnant at the time, was riding when she was shot.
Syquia Mansion - Quirino Ancestral Home
Everything is just plain huge in this house! Huge rooms, beds, family portraits, and paintings – there’s a huge replica of Spolarium painted by General Juan Luna’s apprentice (though this is not original, the painting was done in the presence of the national hero). The mansion serves as the home to the family of former President Elpidio Quirino (yes, serves, as members of the Quirino family still uses the house). The two-story, blue and cream colored mansion stands on the corner of Quirino Boulevard. Locals say entrance is free, but the caretaker always motions to the box labeled “Donation PhP20.00” before you leave the place.
Portrait of Former President Elipidio Quirino
Bedroom in the Syquia Mansion
Replica of the Spolarium Painting
A Portrait of Former Philippine President Elpidio Quirino, hang on the wall inside his mansion.
Souvenir Kiosks outside Baluarte Zoo
The Hidden Garden
A good place for those with green thumbs! Just about 5 minutes away by Kalesa from Baluarte, Hidden Garden in Brgy. Bulala, Vigan has a serene, natural garden setting fit for taking a breather. Hidden Garden has a lot of plants, including bonsai, and garden items on display. Most of them are for sale. Hidden Garden also has a restaurant which serves Ilokano dishes like Vigan Bagnet, Poqui-poqui and Igado.
HOTELS IN VIGAN :
Hotel Salcedo de Vigan
Ballroom Coffee Shop
Suite De Luxe
Guest Room Suite Room
Diego and Gabriela Dorm
Vigan Plaza Hotel
Grandpa’s Inn was just few steps away from the street of Calle Crisologo. The building itself was among one of the old Spanish houses lined up in the cobblestone streets of Vigan. The community’s ambiance has a touch of blast from the past and it feels like you are taken back in time revealing the facet of its serenity of the past century. Its heritage leaves a mark why Vigan is one of the most sought tourist spot in the Philippines.
Holiday will not be complete without dining in especially when your stomach growls for the place’s unique and authentic food. If you love to explore and experience different dining options, Vigan has a lot of things to offer when it comes to foods; you’ll have the choice to either go to a plaza if you prefer to eat street foods, dine in at your favorite fast food chains or go and experience some of the restaurants established in the old Spanish abodes if you really are into discovering in time to have a Spanish feel in the 18th century.
Breakfast at Café Uno, which was just a wall away from the front desk of Grandpa’s Inn. One of the meals they serve is “longaniza de Vigan”. Nothing really special and it was a common meal served with an egg and rice.
Ilokandia is said to be the birthplace of bagnet. Have lunch at Los Majitos de Vigan, a street dining within its heritage. Order bagnet, an Ilocano version of lechon kawali, but the process how it’s made is culturally different since the piece of pork belly is boiled in its entirety with certain herbs and spices. This was served with bagoong paste.
Try okoy and empanada that are served from a typical carinderia found at the sidewalks of the plaza. Both are freshly made and cooked in a big pan as they are fried separately in a cooking oil. Their empanada contains veggies, meat and egg, which is quite different from the empanada that we usually buy in the restaurants. These were just some of the street foods that are irresistible to taste when you jaunt around the area.
Have coffee at Café Leona. They usually set up chairs and tables outside during night time. They are a little bit combination of Italian pizzas and pastas, Filipino and Japanese foods.