Woke up early today to the smell of Vigan longganisa, a small and plump meat, similar to sausage, primarily distinct from other longganisa as being garlicky, because the region of Ilocos is rich with native garlic. It is also best with sukang iloko, a native cane vinegar that is usually spiced up with a number of small peppers, which serves as its dipping sauce.
A few of us had spent the early morning dipping and swimming at the beach and by 9:00AM, our bags were packed and we're ready to hit the road again, southbound to the direction of Manila, but we intend to pass by Vigan, Ilocos Sur and stay there for the night.
On our way, we passed by Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, a century old lighthouse built during Spanish regime, sitting on Vigia de Nagparitan Hill.
This lighthouse located at the town of Burgos, Ilocos Norte, although aged and old, still functions as a lighting guide for ships entering the Philippine archipelago.
We were glad that we were able to come up the tower and have a glimpse of the view of the surrounding area on a not-so-hot day of December. We were told by the caretaker that are days that the lighthouse is locked up, especially when he isn't around. He was already on his way out when we came and there weren't a lot of visitors but he accomodated our request of opening the door leading to the top.
Be careful though when climbing up as the stairs may be a bit rusty. Don't rush your way to the top for you may hit your head with something hard on the way.
I'm very glad that despite the age of the structure, it is still maintained by the government. This brick-walled lighthouse is definitely a must place to visit when you happen to pass by the area. There is also a small museum showing relics and history of the place.
Half an hour before lunch time, we arrived in the capital city of Laoag, Ilocos Sur and immediately proceeded to Saramsam Restaurant for a meal. The restaurant located at Rizal corner Hizon Streets in the city is arguably one of the good restaurants to experience local delicacies. Eating at the restaurant, which literally means informal and constant dining, is an experience by itself. Prominently displayed within the corners of the place are different goods, handicrafts and artworks that one can appreciate or take home (for a price).
So these are the items we have ordered and tried:
Lauya a Baka - meaty beef bones, potatoes and cabbage delicately soured with tomatoes
Dinardaraan - also called dinuguan in other regions, pork blood stew
Insarabasab - slices of grilled pork, mixed with salt, vinegar, onions, & calamansi
Poque-poque - grilled eggplant, tomatoes, onions, egg
It all has been a great lunch for all of us. Not only did we experience some weird sounding delicacies which turned out to be delicious viands, but it definitely had our stomach full and even if we wanted to try other things like dinardaraan pizza or saramsam pasta, we were already not able to accomodate those.
Our next stop was at the Marcos Museum and Mausoleum in Batac, Ilocos Norte. It is dedicated to the past president who passed away and is also where is body, preserved by covering with wax, is on display to the public. Unfortunately taking pictures is not allowed inside.
Ferdinand E. Marcos words
Then we headed to the city of Vigan, Ilocos Sur and went straight to Baluarte, a zoo-like sanctuary open to public for free owned by Chavit Singson, the former governor of Ilocos Sur.
I was amazed by these colorful birds who appears to be very friends as I am taking pictures of them..
.. then they started kissing..
.. and later on necking! Oops enough of this already!
There were also other animals in the zoo like these:
eastern bearded dragon
albino burmese phyton
There was even an enclosed butterfly garden for children to appreciate!
One of the main attractions is a show of the siberian bengal tiger.
We got hungry later on and looked for something to munch. I happen to see a vendor selling Vigan empanada just outside baluarte. Vigan empanada is a fried local delicacy warapped in flour and filled with meat (usually Vigan longganisa), egg and some vegetables.
To make one, they mash flour into a small shape first..
.. roll it thinly then put the filling inside..
.. then fry it up! Best served again with sukang iloko! The crunchy covering and the yummy filling makes me drool even as I write this blog.
After this, we went to the hotel we will be staying for the night, checked-in and currently resting, at least until dinner time.