Travel & Culture

Tourist Spots in Vigan You Won’t Want to Miss

Tourist Spots in Vigan

Vigan, the city most popular for its best-tasting longanisa, is not your typical summer getaway destination. While it’s no doubt home to some of the country’s best beaches, where you can spend a day tanning your body under the heat of the sun with the calming sounds the ocean making you feel at peace, it is not this that Vigan is mainly known for.

Touted as one of UNESCO’s world heritages, Vigan will definitely mesmerize you with its unique culture that reflects the historical influence of China and Europe. Be amazed as we give you the list of awe-inspiring tourist spots in Vigan, the city where “time stood still.”

12 Beautiful Tourist Spots in Vigan

There’s nothing more exciting for history lovers than visiting places that speak volumes about a country’s past. For the history buff itching to know what our ancestors were up to and ancient architecture fanatics who want to see centuries-old edifices, the city of Vigan is the ultimate travel destination. Vigan was a significant trading post during pre-colonial times and remains a significant piece of Philippine history.

If you’re planning to fly to the Ilocos region, below are some tourist spots in Vigan you should stop by.

1. Calle Crisologo

Calle Crisologo is the famed cobbled street where you can see a long line of historical structures from centuries ago. Surely, a walk on this street feels like reliving the past as if you time-traveled to the 1500s–1800s. Of all the tourist spots in Vigan, Calle Crisologo is the most visited and photographed.

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Calle Crisologo

2. Padre Burgos House

Now considered a museum rather than a residential house, this tourist spot is the ancestral home and birthplace of one of the GomBurZa martyr priests, Fr. Jose Burgos. It preserves the memorabilia of the late priest and his family, including some fascinating antics and crafts retrieved from Ilocos Sur.

Padre Burgos House

3. Hidden Garden

A garden with a restaurant that serves local delicacies, the Hidden Garden of Vigan has the perfect landscape and perfect food that will surely leave you amazed. This garden allows you to stare at beautiful plants while enjoying exquisite cuisines of Vigan.

Hidden Garden

4. Plaza Salcedo

Named after the Spanish conquistador Juan De Salcedo, this sweet little place sits at the very heart of the city and is frequented by tourists especially at night when the dancing fountain light show starts.
Plaza Salcedo

5. Saint Augustine Parish Church

Also known as the Shrine of Nuestra Señora de la Caridad (Shrine of Our Lady of Charity), the Saint Augustine Parish Church houses the miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary.

Saint Augustine Parish Church

6. Vigan Bell Tower

Located just steps away from the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity, the Vigan Bell Tower served as a watch tower for pirates and soldiers during the Spanish era. This is how the tower got its name, Bantay, which basically means “to guard.”

Vigan Bell Tower

7. Pagburnayan

One of the iconic tourist spots in Vigan is the pottery place Pagburnayan. It is home to the meticulously hand-crafted earthenware pots molded from the locally sourced bantog clays. Clay pottery has been the source of income of most Biguenos since time immemorial. Certainly, the flourishing pottery business in Vigan is a testament to the world-class talent of the Biguenos.

Pagburnayan

8. Crisologo Museum

Crisologo Musem is a picture of beauty, but behind it there lies a past too dark, people wish it never happened. It was in the same place, in October 1970, that Cong. Floro S. Crisologo, was shot in the head.

Following the horrendous murder of a significant political figure, the Crisologo Museum was established. Albeit tragic, the event was never enough reason for the late congressman’s family to plot a revenge; instead, they preserved the house to eternally commemorate the selfless contribution of the politician.

Crisologo Museum

9. St. Paul Cathedral

Also known as the Metropolitan Cathedral, the St. Paul Cathedral is considered a significant religious beacon not only in Vigan but in the entire country. The cathedral showcases a Baroque architectural structure, which has been the center of Catholic devotion since 1574.

St Paul Cathedral

10. Baluarte

Baluarte is a zoological park established and developed by local politician Chavit Singson. The park in an interactive wildlife sanctuary promotes conservation and protection of endangered species while giving a space to locals and tourists for leisure.

Baluarte

11. Palacio De Arzobispado

Palacio de Arzobispado is the sole surviving archbishop palace from the eighteenth century. The palace also served as the headquarter of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo and the American invaders under Col. James Parker. Also, antiquated portraits of bishops, archdiocesan manuscripts, and other canonical artifacts can be found in the Museo Nueva Segovia at the Palacio de Arzobispado.

Palacio De Arzobispado

12. Syquia Mansion

A visit to Vigan would be incomplete without stopping by the Syquia Mansion. The sixth president of the Philippines, Elpidio Quirino, used to live in the mansion during his administration. The name Syquia is the former president’s Hispanic surname.

Syquia Mansion

Vigan is definitely a captivating city that can surely enchant those who appreciate history, vintage architectural designs, and ecclesiastical artifacts. As a matter of fact, the city has a lot more to offer other than what’s on this list. For a city whose beauty remains unparalleled, a vacation in Vigan is definitely worth taking a time off anything that keeps you busy.

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Food

Commonly Served Filipino Foods on All Saints’ Day

Filipino Foods on All Saints Day

October is ending, which means it’s the start of a season that everybody is itching to celebrate. Halloween may not be the most joyous time of the year, but it is certainly one that should not be missed. It is, after all, that time where people let their creative side loose and dress up as their favorite pop culture character.

But for some, the 31st of October through the 2nd of November (the latter days known as the All Souls’ Day and All Saints’ Day, collectively undas) is more than just a costume party. There are those who think that it should be spent remembering those that passed.

In the Philippines, however, we know how to balance the two sides of the season. Some spend the Halloween trick-or-treating and just having some fun, but we also see these days as the best time to commemorate and celebrate the years lived by our deceased loved ones.

Pinoys have various ways of doing the latter, and just like other occasions, an important part of it is food.
While the food served during undas is far from being the blissful feast prepared during Christmas or New Year’s Day, it is still very much reflective of a local tradition we’ve held on to for centuries.

Filipino Foods on All Saints’ Day

Here are some of the most common Filipino foods on All Saints’ Day we all love to see during this spooky season.

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Binignit

Binignit

People say binignit is better served during the Holy Week, but truth is, this savory soup is also one of the best Filipino foods on All Saints’ Day. Maybe it’s the dish’s sweet taste or the easy preparation that makes it everybody’s go-to, but a bowl of hot binignit on the table has just become a sight to behold no matter the day.

With gata (coconut milk), sago, camote (sweet potato), and rice flour, you can already make your own binignit. While it is a good food to bring with you when you visit the cemetery, some prefer to eat binignit at home before leaving. It is also best consumed with a mug of hot cocoa.

Biko

Biko

Biko is everywhere, and by everywhere, that means during undas too. To prepare biko, all you need is glutinous rice, gata, and sugar. Just steam the glutinous rice and then cook it in coconut milk.

The food is believed to symbolize stickiness, although this is more acknowledged during the New Year. What Filipinos love about biko is its sweetness, stickiness, and creaminess.

Suman

Suman

Suman balanghoy or suman malagkit—this Filipino food is the star of Halloween. Just like biko, suman is also a sticky food. It also uses basically the same ingredients: coconut milk, sugar, and glutinous rice. You can also make your own sauce to add to the taste. Filipinos usually go for the coconut caramel sauce, for which you will need the gata, brown sugar, and salt.

Lumpia

Lumpia

It doesn’t matter what’s inside the lumpia, this food will always be everybody’s favorite. Bean sprouts is one popular choice to stuff your lumpia with, but pork lumpia is probably what your kids will prefer. Either way, lumpia paired with some hot sauce makes for a good Halloween food.

Bibingka

Bibingka

Another local treat we see everywhere during undas is bibingka. Just like suman, bibingka uses banana leaves. Aside from this, you will need rice flour, sugar, baking powder, gata, butter, salt, and eggs.

While bibingka is more a Christmas food rather than an undas thing, it has become part of the undas tradition. For some reason, without this hot treat, Halloween just isn’t the same.

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Food Recipe

Papaitan Recipe for Those Craving a Good Bowl of Hot Soup

Papaitan Recipe

Not everything that’s bitter is bad. A good example is this dish from Ilocos that has people coming back for more.

The name of this food alone would have you surrendering back to your own bowl of hot soup no matter how bland it is. Papaitan, as it is widely known, literally means “bitter,” which is only right because this soup dish actually tastes—yes, you got it right—quite bitter.

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Papaitan Recipe

But papaitan’s bitter juice is exactly what tourists are raving over. And it has a bunch of health benefits too you can’t get from any other dish.

The best of this dish can be found in Ilocos, but it’s not something you can’t make at home.

Papaitan Dish

Papaitan Recipe to Cook on a Cold Rainy Day

Although it’s the kind of dish you probably won’t like at first, once you develop an acquired taste, it will become your go-to dish when the temperatures start to drop.

Below is a papaitan recipe for all those planning to serve soup during the rainy season.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ox tripe
  • 1 lb cow’s heart
  • 1 lb cow’s small intestine
  • 1 lb cow’s meat (sliced and chopped)
  • 4 tbsp bile
  • 2 onions (sliced)
  • 4 knobs ginger (cut into thin strips)
  • 12 cloves garlic (crushed and chopped)
  • 10 pc finger chilies
  • 5 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 4 pc lemon
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil
  • 16 cups water

How to Cook Papaitan

Procedure

  1. Pour 8 cups of water into a hot cooking pot.
  2. Add the salt and set to boil.
  3. Add the innards (tripe and small intestines). Simmer for 40 to 50 minutes or until tender.
  4.  Remove the innards and slice.
  5. Prepare a clean cooking pot. Heat it and pour in the cooking oil.
  6. Saute the spices in the hot cooking oil.
  7. Put in the beef, sliced intestines, and tripe. Cook for 5 minutes.
  8. Add the salt and black pepper. Stir.
  9. Pour in the other 8 cups of water. Boil. Simmer for 40 to 50 minutes.
  10. Add the bile. Simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.
  11. Put in the finger chilies. Squeeze in the lemon juice. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.
  12. Turn off heat and serve.

This papaitan recipe may be time-consuming, but once the papaitan is cooked, you’ll know it’s worth it. Of course, like any other soup, it’s better served and consumed hot.

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Travel & Culture

Here’s Why You Should Visit Tagaytay Soon

Why You Should Visit Tagaytay

“The city of character where you can dine, stay, play, and pray”—this is how the government of Tagaytay introduces their city on their official website. The tagline alone is enough to convince you to pay the city a visit at least once.

Tagaytay’s weather is usually the reason people give when asked why they want to visit the place at least once. But there’s more to this component metro than its climate that makes one of the most popular tourist destinations.

4 Reasons Why You Should Visit Tagaytay at Least Once

From the weather to the picture-perfect scenery, here are some of the reasons why you should visit Tagaytay even when summer season’s long gone.

1. Food delights

With all the great restaurants that serve some of the country’s best foods, it is almost impossible to stop yourself from going on a food trip.

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Tawilis

There’s the tawilis, a certain type of fish that can only be found in Taal Lake located near Tagaytay. The fish is served in several restaurants that specialize in local cuisine. Another is the bulalo belt, a specialty that tourists could never get enough of. You won’t have any problem looking for places that serve the mouthwatering bulalo, as you can get it pretty much everywhere.

Desserts

Desserts are worth a try too! You can try their oven-dried fruits, cheesecakes, and yogurt ice cream.

2. Enchanting scenery

Tagaytay houses some of the best tourist spots in the country. One of the must-visit is the Taal Volcano, the smallest active volcano in the world. A swim in the sulfur-dilated lake at the volcano’s peak is something you just can’t not try. This and the magical view that will greet you make the almost an hour drive from the town proper worth it.

Tagaytay Tourist Spot

Other places you can visit include the Georgina Gil-Lacuna where you can find the world’s largest collection of jigsaw puzzles, the Glass Museum, the Korean Temple located along Silang Road, the Calaruega Church in Nasugbu, Fantasy World in Lemery, and Sonya’s Garden, which looks straight out of a fairy tale.

3. Leisure locations

A Tagaytay trip won’t be complete without visiting the Sky Ranch and riding on the tallest Ferris wheel in the Philippines, the Sky Eye. Sky Eye gives you an exhilarating view of the entire Tagaytay and the Taal lake and volcano. At the same leisure park, you can also try horseback riding and other activities the whole family will surely love.

Sky Eye

To make the trip even more unforgettable, go on a more challenging adventure by zipping down the mountains in Picnic Grove. If that’s too much for you, you can ride the cable car that travels above a breathtaking eco trail. Or you can visit the Paradizoo, a 12-hectare farm where you can see different species of plants and animals.

4. Cool climate

While the Philippines is undoubtedly a tropical country, with Metro Manila temperature going past the 40 degrees Celsius mark, you could name at least ten places in the country that enjoy lower temps. One is Tagaytay.

Tagaytay

The city’s cooler weather is one of the main reasons why you should visit Tagaytay. At times, it even out-winters Baguio, making it one of the best cities to go to during summer. But even when sunny days are long gone, it is still worth stepping into for its jaw-dropping attractions.

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Travel & Culture

Classic Filipino Toys That Will Give You Nostalgia

Classic Filipino Toys

Yes, Nintendo Switch is great, but have you heard of teks? Playing Clash of Clans might be a good pastime, but have you tried playing with paper dolls? How about sungka?

The digital era gave birth to games that place kids in a battle that requires intelligence, albeit way less interactive. Before the 2000s rolled in the toys kids played with were way different—but made childhood twice as fun.

In the Philippines, we had our fair share of these toys. Here are some of them.

Classic Filipino Toys We All Loved

From yo-yo to paper dolls, get to know five classic Filipino toys we all played with, loved, and treasured.

1. Sungka board

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Sungka Board

Count and capture games have been a part of the tradition of most countries in Africa, Middle East, the Caribbean area, and Asia. So it does not come as a surprise that the game has made its presence known in the Philippines. Since it was introduced to the Filipinos, the game has been given a different name and has been played constantly until today.

Sungka, as it is called locally, is one of the older games that every Pinoy has played at least once. What you need to play the game is simple: a friend to go on it with. You sit facing each other, grab a sungka board, pick up cowrie shells, and give the game a go.

The rules itself aren’t too hard to follow. The sungka board, which has gradually become one of the classic Filipino toys, has a total of fourteen cups, seven for each player. Six of the cups will hold the shells (stones or seeds make good alternatives), and the last one will be their home bases. Going in a counterclockwise direction, the player just has to distribute the stones around, and the one with the most number of shells in the home base wins the game.

When not used in sungka, the popular sungka board is used by many for fortune telling. Although, just like any other form of future forecasting, it does not give the most accurate of results, some still use the board to answer questions most commonly about marriage.

2. Plastic balloon

Plastic Balloon

It smells like paint thinner, but that was never enough reason for kids to stop playing with this toy. Plus, plastic balloons are also way cheaper than its bigger counterpart but are just as fun to use.

It’s sold in the form of small tubes that kids squeeze until a portion of the resin-like substance is out. You grab a short and thin straw, place the substance at the tip, then start blowing air.

3. Teks

Teks

Probably one of the oldest on the list, teks goes way back to the late 1930s. Teks is a game that uses trading cards, which, by the way, are also called teks, that are smaller than the regular playing cards. The prints on the card vary, although most of them now are inspired by movies and TV shows.

Card Games

Each card is numbered, following the sequence of the events in the story it is based off. In the game, players flip the teks in the air and bet on which side will come up.

4. Paper dolls

Paper Dolls

One of the classic Filipino toys for those who spent most of their childhood indoors, paper dolls are the young storytellers’ favorite. Most kids—who were born artists—would make their own paper dolls, design their own clothes, and build houses out of anything at home. Then they would start coming up with dialogues, speaking like voice-over actors for their dolls, as if they were in some big-budget film.

While paper dolls have a Pinoy ring in it, considering how much we love playing the role-playing game bahay-bahayan, these toys were actually first heard of in 1810. It was when the London toy novelty firm S. & J. Fuller released paper doll named Little Fanny. The art of making these dolls was picked up by our ancestors who created a more Filipino-like version.

The first real Pinoy paper doll was nicknamed “Rosing.” Rosing would appear in one of the earliest editions of Liwayway magazine. Kids would then cut drawings of Rosing out of the magazine as well as other items like clothes and food that came with her.

5. Yo-yo

Yo-yo

Now if you haven’t heard of yo-yo, what have you even been doing this whole time? Yo-yo is not only one of the most treasured classic Filipino toys, it’s also one of the most popular in the world. Yo-yo, it’s worth noting, did not essentially originate in the Philippines.

Originally made out of wood, metal, or clay, yo-yos were first used during the 440 BC. This is evidenct in an old Greek vase painting that depicts a boy playing with the toy. It was known as the bandalore then. The name yo-yo, many believe, is derived from the northern Philippine Ilocano word yo’yo.

The toy did not reach masses until Filipino Pedro Flores started his own yo-yo company. The success of Flores’s business brought yo-yo to the mainstream. Although considered one of the classic Filipino toys because of its long history, yo-yo- remains one of the most-played toys today.

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Food Recipe

Homemade Tocino Recipe Your Kids Will Love

Tocino Recipe

Filipinos love tocino. It’s a breakfast staple for most of us, which we often eat with scrambled egg and fried rice. (The tosilog meal, we often call it.) Pork tocino is a salt-cured meat popular in the Philippines. The way it’s prepared is the same to bacon. While pork is most commonly used, beef and chicken make pretty good alternatives.

Now though most households rely on store-bought tocino, which can be less savory and not that tender. But truth be told, you don’t have to always just buy tocino. Preparing it is pretty easy. Let us walk you through the process of preparing it in this easy tocino recipe.

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Homemade Tocino

Tocino Recipe for the Whole Family

Here are the ingredients you need to prepare

1 kg pork pigue (back leg area) or kasim (shoulder and butt)
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp rhum
5 to 8 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp prague powder
1/2 tablet of ascorbic acid

Here are the steps you need to follow. (Don’t forget to prepare a mixing bowl, measuring spoons, knife, chopping board, and weighing scale.)

1. Slice pork to 1/4 in thick.
2. Mix the salt, sugar, prague powder, ascorbic acid, and the rhum (gin is another option).
3. Rub the mixture on the sides of the sliced pork pigue.
4. Place the slices on a bowl.
5. To cure, keep the pork still at room temperature for 10 to 12 hours. You can also refrigerate it for three days.

And there you have it! You now have a tender and savory tocino you can cook for your family and make every morning meal worth waking up early for.

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