Ilocos Sur: The Road Home, From Vigan’s Balaurte and Sta Maria Church Stop

Sta Maria Church Ilocos Sur
The Impressive Sta Maria Church, one of the four Baroque Churches under UNESCO

It’s the last day of our stay in the Ilocos region. I know yesterday was a grueling ride from Vigan to Bangui and back despite having the enthusiasm to see all the sites of Ilocos Norte. But it did took a toll on my sister who has a special occasion. She got tired already and she wants to go home. But we have one more stop in Vigan before we check out from our hotel. I’m sure the rest of the family would enjoy a visit to Chavit Singson’s Baluarte Zoo before w hit the road back home.

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Ilocos Sur: A stroll along Vigan’s Calle Crisologo

Calle Crisologo at Dusk
Calle Crisologo at Dusk

We arrived at Grandpa’s Inn in the afternoon. We took our time to get acquainted with our rooms and also to ease up from that long drive. I let our driver who also happens to be a friend of mine and fellow mountain climber before take his much deserved rest. He just came from a climbing stint from Bicol and drove all the way to our house to continue up here in Vigan. In the mean time, the family rounded up to prepare for a late afternoon walk at the famed Calle Crisologo.

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Ilocos Sur: Old World Charm Living at Grandpa’s Inn Vigan

Airconditioned Twin Bed Rooms at Grandpa's Inn
Airconditioned Twin Bed Rooms at Grandpa's Inn

It’s always a pleasure to go on a road trip up north to the Ilocos. Did I tell you I had my first glimpse of Northern Luzon when I was in grade school on a road trip with mom and dad? Today it’s my elder sister’s treat to take the family on a trip up north when she came back from Canada (sans my other sister from the US). Of course from my side here, I was the one to help on the logistics – where and when to go, where to stay. Uur first stop is Vigan, and looking for a good value place, I found Grandpa’s Inn.

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Three Days in Puerto Princesa Palawan Chronicles

At the jump-off beach to St Paul's underground River
At the jump-off beach to St Paul's underground River

They call it the Green City and I can’t agree with it more. While I find Puerto Princesa as the most modern city in Palawan, it’s also the most livable for me in terms of setting up a business or staying for good. The city itself is not as scenic as Coron, sleepy as El Nido or rugged as Taytay but it is developed in a good way modern industry can function well. Here is a three day itinerary which is merged from my recent 2 trips to Puerto Princesa. It’s not a backpacker’s budget since I was with family on my last trip there but I hope the itinerary would give you an idea what to expect in Puerto Princesa.

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Puerto Princesa: Journey into St Paul’s Underground River

Entering Saint Paul's Underground River
Entering Saint Paul's Underground River

I kept hearing “UR” over and over on a conversation one night on my first trip to Puerto Princesa with other bloggers. I kept nodding my head to agree and then have to ask “What’s UR again?” I was thinking “Usual Route” but it turns out to be the popular term for the “Underground River” there. Oh hell with the names whether it’s St Paul’s Cave or St Paul’s Subterranean River, we’re going there now and it sure isn’t hell from the views I’ve seen on a boat from Sabang to the entrance of this famed UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Four Days in Macau Chronicles Summary 2010

St Paul's Church Ruins
St Paul's Church Ruins Macau

I like Macau for its beautiful blend of east and west culture as much as coffee aficionados would enjoy their mix of coffee and cream. I would have wanted Manila to be something like this city, or close. Despite the old marble streets and the aging walls, its taints and stains paints a pattern of rich history between two worlds, especially from the Chinese and Portuguese. For such a small island, it’s just a joy to roam around its streets. Here’s the summary of our 4-day trip in Macau.

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Macau: The Lilau Square and the Eclectic Mandarin House

Lilau Square
Lilau Square, the first Portuguese settlement

Sunday morning on our last day in Macau was easy and relaxed. Though we expect a few more stops in line, we started rather late than our usual 9am run-to-the-coach routine from the past couple of days. I welcome the ease of course as we made our way to a couple more UNESCO World Heritage Spots under the Historic Center of Macau. The first is the Lilau Square, the first Portuguese settlement in Macau. Then the Mandarin House which was recently opened to the public and we’re honored to be one of the first few visitors of the house since it’s recent opening. Both sites are close to each other making it a convenient stop.

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