Hué’s Imperial Citadel

The Ngo Mon Gate

The Imperial Citadel in Hué

One reason why I’ve chosen to go to Central Vietnam instead of the popular cities of Hanoi in the north or Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) in the south is because the Central region has a concentration of 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites all quite accessible from the regions main gateway city of Da Nang. UNESCO’s got quite a lengthy list, which I doubt I could cover all of them in this lifetime. And you could never go wrong visiting these sites as they are carefully selected, funded and preserved.

The Ngo Mon Gate and Bridge

The Ngo Mon Gate and Bridge

Our first stop is up to the city of Hué (h-way). I didn’t expect Hué to be such a big and modern city and was surprised to see how developed it was. I was imagining the place to be smaller, provincial like, with all the sights just a walking distance from each other. Though the place somehow caught up in urban development, the city still have the Complex Monuments spread out across the city along by the scenic Perfume River. These historical monuments, despite being stricken by war managed to survive and earned its rightful place in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

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Taal Basilica

Taal Basilica

The Taal Basilica Minore of St. Martin of Tours, is the biggest catholic church in South East Asia.

This is to continue the Taal Discovery. After our hike at Taal Volcano, we were off to the Taal Heritage town, which is 45min to an hour long drive from San Nicolas. It was already pass 5 in the afternoon when we reached the town itself. It was a very interesting town, quite small in contrast to Vigan but you could easily see the historical houses being towered by the gigantic Taal Basilica at the town center park. The Basilica is huge, and what a perfect timing that I forgot to bring my wide angle lens in times like this. I have to get really far just to take a shot of it.

Taal Basilica Devotee

A devotee lighting a candle and offering a prayer.

A bit unfortunate that it was already late and there was a mass on going inside the church. We couldn’t get up to the bell tower and view the whole Town of Taal from the top. So we just looked around the church. I’m really impressed by the huge columns that support the second level of the church. It looks very Roman and reminds me of the church pictures I see in Rome. Probably inspired? (more…)

Megastructures of the north

Bangui Windmills

The Windmills of Bangui, 15 of these structures stand on the Pebble Beach. (The orange speck on the right is a bulldozer, so imagine the height of this structure)

This would be the last entry for Northern Luzon adventure and would be a perfect climax for the series. When going to Pagudpod, you’ll never miss these spectacular windmills left-side of your view. It’s one of the most amazing view you’ll see up there on the north. When at the beach of Pagudpud you’ll still be able to see these afar.

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse stands in Burgos, said to be the tallest lighthouse in the country.

On your right (coming from the south), amidst the mountain terrain, you’ll see the towering structure of Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Burgos. Both mega structures, the former a new construction, and the later a true historical monument. (more…)

Stopovers from Vigan to Laoag

Bantay Belfry

Impressive gothic belfry in Bantay, Ilocos Sur

Will try to finish up the entries on our northern Luzon trip in the coming days. I will also have individual posts on some interesting objects along the way. The first couple of weeks has been very busy at work. Double deadlines as they say. Well to continue on…

The travel from Vigan to Laoag is only a couple of hours trip, but if you have time to spare there are lots of interesting stopovers on nearby provinces that would give your time and money enough its worth.

Bantay Belfry and church

Bantay belfry and crimson church, Ilocos Sur

First off from Vigan is the Bantay Belltower and church. Now this is a must and you wouldn’t miss it since it’s on the highway and near the bus stations at the entrance of Vigan. From first seeing the belfry at the distance from the church gate I was already in awe at it’s magnificent structure. For me it’s one of the most magnificent structures I have ever seen. It’s baroque-gothtic style and color truly impressed me. Too bad the gates was closed we couldn’t get up, they said that this belfry used to be a lookout tower during the war. Not to belittle it’s church which stands a few meters away, the church boast a crimson facade and amazing window arcs emphasized by its white shade. (more…)

A walk down history lane

Crisologo Street

Calle Mena Crisologo in Vigan

Ilocos has so much to offer in terms of Heritage sites. Numerous old churches, well preserved spanish houses and mansions. We didn’t manage to visit all the spots in our IT but what we were able to visit was enough to satisfy our lust for travel. Also leaving enough reasons to return and visit our missed spots.

Spanish house Facade

Spanish house facade

Since there’s too much photos and infos here, I’ll just tackle them them individually in the coming days (or weeks). First off is the Calle Mena Crisologo in Vigan. Unlike Intramuros which was continually battered during the war, Vigan was spared and more than 180 of it’s houses and landmarks are well preserved, also thanks to UNESCO for declaring the whole city as a heritage site. (more…)

Back to the roots in Manila

Intramuros

Intramuros

Gah, I’m getting a bit slow lately in blogging since the year started. I guess I’ve just got to many things to do and too many questions in my mind, like “Why does the wolf’s howl doesn’t echo in the mountains?” or “How does a malayan snake viper senses heat to attacks it’s prey?”. What?! I guess I’ve been watching too much “National Geographic” and “Animal Planet” during breakfast lately.

I went back to Quiapo yeterday to buy some new sets of rechargeable batteries and had my underwater Camera’s Shutter Button fixed, also to have a set of 8×10 photos developed. Well as usual, Quiapo, in particular, Hidalgo and Plaza Mirada is a universe itself. Too bad I missed last week’s “Black Nazarene” feast and experienced a sea of people crowding the streets of Quiapo. (more…)