Malacanang of the North, Paoay Church, Marcos Photo Gallery, Sinking Bell Tower

by - 1:01 AM

After we've had our fill of fun at Fort Ilocandia, off we went to the rest of our stopovers for our Laoag tour.

One of the great things about booking with J2F Ilocos Travel & Tours was that all our entrance fees were already included in the package. We didn't have to shell out money for every single museum we went to. Saves you from the hassle, eh?

Here are more places we went to on Day 1 of our Ilocos tour:

1. Malacanang of the North

 On the outside, this place looked typically old so I was surprised to find air-conditioned, well-maintained rooms like this one.

2. Paoay Church

Although we're not Catholic, the beauty of this church did not escape us.

BCBG Max Azria sunnies, Forever 21 top, Vetus Shop skort, Cotton On shoes, Pull & Bear bag

3. Syquia Mansion

History was one of my least favorite subjects so my knowledge of this topic is quite limited. The tour guide was very informative. We were amazed to find that the painting above cost P500,000 to millions of pesos to simply CLEAN (and preserve). And how in the olden days, only the rich could afford mirrors as these were made of crystal, bought in Europe and shipped all the way to the Philippines. Or how old houses had no plumbing and that human waste went straight to the pigsty and this poor hygienic practice led to an epidemic.

4. Crisologo Museum

I may have been living under a rock. I had no idea who Mr. Floro Crisologo was. Judging from all of the medals and plaques and trophies, he was one accomplished man. Did they really have to display his blood-stained jeans and close-up photos of his blood-stained body after he was shot? =/

5. Marcos Museum

You're not allowed to take photos inside and for good reason.

This is where they house former President Ferdinand Marcos' preserved body. This freaked me out a bit. Once you enter, the feel is automatically different. It's air-conditioned and although not foul-smelling, it's definitely not fresh air either. Chanting music is being played and the place is very dim. The interior (and the music) reminded me so much of Universal Studios' The Mummy ride. And then behind the wall, the late president's body lay in a glass box surrounded by flowers.

There may be numerous contradicting beliefs and opinions regarding this but just a thought, isn't that so prestigious, to be preserved and remembered and placed on such a high pedestal long after your death? The body is cleaned and waxed annually and who knows how much the monthly electricity bill is..

6. Sinking Bell Tower

Once we entered, someone rushed to insist to take our photos. We declined. We didn't want to have to give monetary tip to yet another guide. Haha.

7. Pagburnayan/Pottery

Thought we'd get to make our own pots. We didn't. Just watched a potter in action and got to pose with his masterpiece. We didn't mind. By this time we were already tired from the travel and the plentiful stopovers.

8. Hidden Garden

Just a nice garden with a restaurant where you can get refreshments. Overpriced though.

9. Baluarte ni Chavit

There were ponies that pulled carriages that you can ride on for free. The ponies looked way too small for that kind of work. :( And there were two ostriches freely running around. Ostriches are not very friendly so this was very surprising.. This place also had quite a few tigers. And one peed on us! The ostriches looked at us weirdly after that.. For a place with no entrance fees and had a "no tip/donations" sign, I wondered how they maintain this place..

By this time, we were already quite tired and ready to head to our last destination for the day, Heritage Village/Calle Crisologo, Vigan. :)

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