Showing posts with label Heritage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Heritage. Show all posts

Friday, May 18, 2012

Early Morning Shots of Laoag City's Belfry


Most of the time, tourists staying in Laoag, Ilocos Norte are unaware that the best time to take a walk around the city is on early mornings just a few minutes before sunrise. Plus, make it a routine during the early days of December because the cold breeze is just too much to ignore.



If the sky will permit, you’ll be able to witness an amazing picture of the belfry silhouetting against the sunlight. Save for some electrical lines, you’ll get a decent shot.



Monday, April 14, 2008

Pilipinas: Laoag City & The Heritage Town of Paoay

The “Pilipinas” series is this blogger’s way of expressing how beautiful the Philippine Islands are. This is a detailed account of his experiences while backpacking through the majestic islands of The Pearl of the Orient.

I have always wanted to go to Ilocos Norte. The province is very rich in culture and heritage. Good thing I was able to avail of Cebu Pacific’s P1 fare. While Senator Trillanes was busy in his latest A-Class Hotel hopping, I was busy preparing for my own personal vacation. This would also be the first time I’ll be traveling with Wiks.

My flight was delayed for an hour (yes, they still get delayed). That gave me an opportunity to see what kinds of people are in the passenger waiting area. I noticed that most of those bound for Laoag City were Chinese businessmen. It seems that the article I read about Ilocos Norte as a casino haven was right after all. After flying for an hour, my plane landed on very rough tarmac.

Laoag International Airport was built from red bricks giving tourists an idea how old school the province is. Also, Ilokanos are known for crafting really nice pottery.




I boarded a jeepney after getting my baggage. Making things a little spontaneous, I decided not to book a hotel beforehand therefore missing an opportunity for a free airport transfer. The jeepney driver and his son provided me assistance in locating my preferred hotel. The driver was so nice he addressed each passenger as either “madam” or “sir.” This strengthens the notion that Ilokanos indeed are one of the nicest peeps here in the Philippines.

It was a good 15 minute ride from the airport to Laoag City proper. Before entering the town proper, you’ll be welcomed by a huge arc before the bridge. The town proper is not that huge but very urbanized compared to other provincial cities.

Because most reviews I read promoted Tiffany’s as the ideal place to stay in downtown Laoag, I decided to book there. Its proximity to the plaza is a plus. Also, there is a Jollibee nearby which is open for 24 hours. I was also excited to have breakfast there… because breakfast at Tiffany’s is always cool.
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Tiffany’s interiors were frolicked with old Hollywood pictures. The rate for an overnight stay in a single room was P675. My room rained with blue, orange and purple spots. It somehow looked like a hospital room to me though.

After parking my things in the hotel, I was off to Paoay Church. On my way to the terminal, I noticed that Calesas here are quite wide. I boarded a jeepney and paid a fare of P25 to Paoay. I discovered that jeepney passengers in Ilocos Norte pay only upon arriving to their stop that’s why drivers here make sure they have enough coins for change. The ride to Paoay is approximately 35 minutes with stops at Batac Public Market, which I heard was the largest in Ilocos Norte, and General Ricarte Park.

Paoay Church is heavenly! No wonder it was classified as a heritage treasure by the UNESCO.





At the side of the church are benches made from original Paoay bricks. Behind the church is a tennis court (Ilokanos sure love to play tennis) and a basketball court. I even took a picture of Paoay hoops!





Across the road fronting the church is a souvenir shop. I bought some Ilocos Wine and tried some of its famous empanada. I found out that they use the same breading for Kwek-Kwek. I tried tuna. It took them 10 minutes to cook my order but it was all worth the time.

On my way back to Laoag, I met Vicente Ocol. He was kind enough to make a stop in front of Immaculate Conception Church in Batac for me to take a picture. He also shared a ranting about our country’s current political system and how abundant life was in Ilocos Norte during Macoy’s time. I find him very educational and will share his story on another blog post.

Manong Vicente dropped me in Laoag’s “Barangay Liga Gym” located beside the city hall. I witnessed the championship game between St. Joseph and the team wearing FEU Tamaraw-ish uniforms. I can tell you that they got game. The fans were also very supportive yet very organized. I miss that type of fan support in Pampanga.





I visited St. William’s Cathedral after the pre-Sunday mass. The lighting was superb inside which very well supported the church fa├žade. I saw some of the passengers from the morning’s flight visiting the cathedral.





Outside the church were talented skateboard junkies. The kids were about the age of 7. They reminded me when I got my first skateboard. It was then that I also realized how peaceful it is in Laoag City. If you do those skateboard stunts in the streets in Manila, you’ll get ganged up.

I was excited to try Macy’s Diner below the hotel. Unfortunately, it was too late for me to discover that restaurants here close at 8PM. I had no choice but to grab my Chickenjoy. It was a first for me to have Jollibee on my breakfast, lunch and dinner. Before I went to bed, I watched the Suns burn Superman and his Superfriends. It was an awesome first day for me.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Revitalizing my Benedictine Blood

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet Maureen, an old friend from Palawan. Actually, it was just our first time to hang out with each other since NFJPIA’s 20th Annual National Convention held last 2003 at Puerto Princesa City where her school acted as host. I also wasn’t able to see her during our CPA review days.
Mau is currently studying Law at San Beda College. She invited me to hear mass at San Beda Chapel since Fr. Africa, her Seminar Professor, was the presiding priest. Mau mentioned to me before that Fr. Africa’s sermons were very good (Later, I found Mau’s story about Fr. Africa very true since his homily did not disappoint me.). She also stated that Fr. Africa is the spiritual director of the San Beda Red Lions, the school’s basketball team. The Red Lions are required to attend mass every first Sunday of the month that’s why we were lucky enough to see the likes of Pong, Yousif, and Sam.

San Beda Chapel was designed by the Swedish architect George Asp, whose works include the first buildings of Holy Ghost College (now College of the Holy Spirit) on Mendiola Street and St. Theresa’s College on San Marcelino. The church was completed in 1925 and dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus on January 13, 1926.

The chapel was described vividly in San Beda College’s web page:

“The monastic community calls it the Abbey Church while the school population calls it the College Chapel, for it serves the Abbey and the college, and is a source of pride for both. The monks sing the Divine Office and celebrate the Conventual Mass daily in the sanctuary, and students, teachers, administrators, and workers gather for Masses that celebrate various events in the life of the school.”


It was described that once a person enters the nave, he experiences the sudden expansion of space and an unexpected profusion of color. Cool huh?

The paintings are also the most famous and most admired feature of the church. The paintings are the works of Fr. Lesmes Lopez, OSB, while the decorations around the paintings were done by Bro. Salvador Alberich, OSB. Both are Spanish monks.

On the walls of the sanctuary are representations of The Nativity, The Circumcision, The Holy Family at Nazareth, Jesus with the Teachers in the Temple, The Adoration of the Magi, The Presentation in the Temple, The Flight to Egypt, and The Annunciation.

Outside you can see the abbey gardens.


After hearing mass, my desire to attend law school flamed once more. I hope, with God’s blessing, I can achieve my dream of becoming a lawyer soon.