August 30, 2015

Villa Angela Heritage House

What would make a holiday visit in the UNESCO world heritage city of Vigan really memorable, aside from eating Vigan longanisa or riding a kalesa? Well, perhaps staying in an old typical 18th century Vigan mansion, something perhaps only Villa Angela could offer.


I have been to Vigan a couple of times before but only for a sidetrip. This time, I decided to spend a night. Not in any modern inn or hotel but in an authentic bahay na bato, a place where Tom Cruise once stayed in 1989 while filming his movie Born on the 4th of July.



Villa Angela was built in 1873 by Gobernadorcillo Agapito Florendo y Bonifacio and his wife Doña Maria Villanueva. There is a historical marker inside the house stating that the “house was bequeathed to their eldest daughter Señorita Joaquina Florendo Y Villanueva, who in time bequeathed it to her niece Doña Angela Villanueva Y Florendo, to whose memory this house is lovingly dedicated.     

The Villa occupies a sprawling area with long pathway and a small garden. It is now the fifth generation of the family who manages the mansion, after its restoration in 1986, and eventual opening as a bed and breakfast place.



The Villa is almost like a museum for its rich depository of the family's old photographs, relics and memorabilia acquired through the years, and prominently displayed in the living room and almost every nook of the place.












Guests staying could dine in any of the two long communal wooden tables and enjoy delicious Ilocano delicacies.








There are four distinct bedrooms (Cuarto del Señor or the Master bedroom, Cuarto Pequeño or the Guest room, Cuarto delas Hijas or the Girls room and Cuarto delos Hijos or the Boys room) on the upper floor, fully styled with four-poster canopy beds and antique furniture, good for couple or family. By chance, I stayed at the Master bedroom where Tom also stayed. There are additional two dormitory-style rooms on the ground floor that could accommodate bigger groups.






And it’s just a few blocks away from the famed Crisologo St. and other points of interest in Vigan.









I wish I could stay longer, immense more in this historical city where the past and present collide. But work is calling and sometimes, it’s louder than the hoofbeats.

Villa Angela
#26 Quirino Blvd. 
Vigan, Ilocos Sur
Tel. No.: (077) 722-2914, 0919-3156122

August 26, 2015

Balay de Blas and Saramsam

Silence the chaos of the world around you.





Traditional Ilocano suite

Standard room Ilocano modern ambience






Poque-poque

Laoag longanisa

Longanisa pizza

Saramsam pasta

Marunggay sherbet


Beautiful lamps and chandeliers


Mural backdrop of my favorite Sitio Remedios


Balay de Blas is a charming bed and breakfast place with an in-house restaurant as quaint and unique as their longanisa pizza and pasta with bits of mangoes. Truly, a home away from home in Laoag City.   

Balay de Blas Pensionne House
Saramsam Ylocano Restaurant
#10 Giron St., Brgy. 7-B
Laoag City, Ilocos Norte