April 16, 2014

DISCOVERING VIGAN'S HIDDEN GARDEN

For tourists visiting in Vigan and want to have some break from the centuries old houses museums then Hidden Garden is the place to be. 
This beautiful garden is  really hidden in Barangay Bulala. Though few minutes drive  away from the city center it is easy to find , thanks to all the signage posted along the way.


 
Because of the many tall trees and bamboo tress all over the place the sun's heat will not be a problem especially when visiting at the middle of the day.  For tired feet, there are garden table and chair  sets strategically placed all around  the garden.
 
 
 
 
 
 Or better yet try their sumptuous meals at the Lilong and Lilang Restaurant. They serve typical Ilocano foods like pinakbet, warek warek and empanada then gulp it down with fresh fruit shake.
 
 
 
Going deeper into the garden , you will find the bonsai garden.   I remember asking one of the staffs if how old are those bonsais and she replied, "it's not for sale". Most of the plants though are for sale.
 
 
 
 
Aside from the many varieties of  plants, there are also few birds  and animals in their cages. A souvenir shop is right at the entrance.

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April 14, 2014

BALUARTE| A ZOO IN THE HISTORIC TOWN OF VIGAN

 Baluarte : a Spanish word that means fortress, domain , bailiwick or territory. 
This sprawling compound is owned by  former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis Chavit Singson. Though his sons have already taken his political seat many locals still call him Governor.The place characterized by rolling hills terrain was used to be his rest house until he decided to develop it into a nature-eco- enlcave and had it opened to the public.
the former Governor's multi-level house
chapel near the parking area
 There zoo have  diverse kinds of animals either natives or imported  mostly can be seen roaming free  around the Baluarte . It was said that this is the only zoo in the country with the highest population of white deers.
 
 
 
 
 
 One of the popular attraction for kids and adults alike is the pony ride. When there is a great number of tourists expect to wait for some couple of minutes. But of course not to be missed out is the famous tiger of the former Governor. 
 
From the time it was opened until to this day, it had already under gone some major face lift.  The animal sanctuaries  is now wider   not to mention the addition of  other imported animals. And, it is now  more interactive and education with the  introduction of  Live animal show and petting zoo and the butterfly garden. Visitors may also opt to have photos with the animals and birds with the supervision of the staffs. For tired feet and some R and R  Scattered all over are picnic tables and chairs for tired feet and some R and R .
 
 
 
 Baluarte can be reach from Vigan Heritage Village  by just ten minutes drive. Entrance is absolutely  free.



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April 9, 2014

(VIGAN) DANCING FOUNTAIN AND LASER LIGHTS SHOW

Vigan's newest tourist attraction is the dancing fountain and laser lights show. The fountain is  strategically located  in Plaza Salcedo spanning the  entire length of the  lagoon. On its two ends is the Vigan Cathedral and Provincial Hall while on its sides is the City Hall and a commercial building. 
 
The fountain was engineered by Koreans and it is said to be the only kind in the country. This is surely a crowd drawer and a big hit. Proof is the big number of spectators waiting  for the show to start.  There are two shows only every night,  each one lasting to almost an hour.

Here is a short video clip of the fountain and see  it yourself. ...

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April 5, 2014

ECHO VALLEY TOUR| SAGADA

One of the more popular tour in Sagada is the Echo Valley tour.  This walking tour includes the famous hanging coffins, the underground river and the Bokong falls or more known as the small falls.
St. Mary's Church
 The tour usually starts at the tourist center going to the direction of the St. Mary's Church .Passing through the church's courtyard you will reach the town's catholic cemetery. Walk pass  the tombs and you will reach the hanging coffins view point. Admire the hanging coffins from afar and try also to shout and you will hear your voice's echo,well  that's why its called Echo valley. 
the viewpoint
After the hanging coffins, we continued our trek  going deeper into the valley. Prepare yourself  to an uneven, slippery and  almost vertical  trail paths. Some were even  so narrow that only one person can pass at a time.
 
 
   Along the way we passed by a cave that is now close to the public. The cave looks like a face with its mouth open. It was not easy to  reach the underground river. The road was rocky and we had to climb big boulders of rocks without any harnesses. 
cave entrance
 
After the rocky hike, the underground river comes to full view. The river is running under the cave's chamber, that's why its called underground river isn't it? 
 
The only way we can continue our trek is to go inside the cave and exit at its other opening. This would mean another slippery and rocky climb on the cave's very dark chamber. It would not take long though because the cave is not that big. 
From here, the trek were almost all ascending passing through farms and houses until we reached the main highway. You may opt to take a break here because it would be another long walk . Once at the falls, take sometime to take pictures or take a plunge on its cold water.
the trail from the highway going to the small falls





Read my other stories on Sagada:
1. Sagada Fellowship
2. Sagada Tours and Fees
3. Where to Eat in Sagada
4. Where to stay in Sagada: Gecko Inn
5. Sagada's Hanging Coffins
6. Cave Connection
7. Chasing Waterfalls in Sagada: Bomod-ok and Bokong Falls





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