Hello, everyone! I’ve been out and about for some good reasons. Work. Life. Birthday. and. Travel. Before my birthday month ended, I embarked into a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. A solo trip to India, my first out-of-the-country alone! And I would like to share with you my learnings and realizations via #IndianInsights series. I hope you’ll enjoy reading this, guys!
Whenever I mention my India trip, people will warn me about two things aside from rape: dirt and stink. The basis? Shared personal anecdotes and travel videos.
Dirt is fine. Manila isn’t as clean as Singapore. But stink is a different story. So I flew ready with Vicks inhaler and a little bottle of oil from my former bossy. Better be ready than sorry. 😁
The moment I got in the plane from Kuala Lumpur to Kolkata, I braced myself and started sniffing (which I’m so good at). They said the flight will be a nice introduction to India’s smell. Thankfully, there is none. Yet.
When my plane landed, when I came out of the airport, when I got in a taxi, when I entered the train which will take me from Kolkata to NJP, my sniffing was in full mode. My hand, ready to grab the oil anytime. To my surprise, a single drop wasn’t necessary.
Yes, Kolkata is not so clean, but it isn’t stinky as it is believed to be.
There is nothing wrong in coming ready. In believing stories. In researching about a new place. But I’ve learned an open mind is more than essential. You’ll never know how a country, a place, a human heart can surprise you.
Like how I thought I can only see a cherry blossom tree in Japan and in South Korea. Then I stumbled upon this lone Himalayan cherry blossom. (Some research says cherry blossoms are originally from the Himalayas. 😊)
FYI:The Vigan empanada is much in keeping with the Vigan people’s love for vegetables in their cuisine. It is similar to a thin taco that is fried to a crisp, with vegetable and meat filling. Rice flour is used for making the crust or the shell. The galapong or rice flour dough is made a day before it is used. Atchuete or orange food color, salt and oil are mixed into the rice though. The dough mixture is then kneaded as thinly as possible on a banana leaf (wax paper is a good substitute). Vigan empanada’s vegetable filling is made up of green papaya that is grated, toge or mung bean sprouts, monggo or mung bean and shredded carrots. Its meat filing consist of whole egg and skinless Vigan longganisa.
After buying souvenirs and pasalubongs, we then proceed to a place to eat called…
The Hidden Garden
There are some beautiful flowers and plants but our main concern is really… to eat. 😀 Soooo…
(L) Bagnet – Bagnet, to put it simply, is crispy fried pork belly, a cross between Chicharon and Lechon Kawali, where the lean meat is crispy but not dry and the pork skin with all the pork fat is fried to a crisp. It is usually served with a dipping sauce of Fish Paste (Bagoong Isda) with chopped red or white onion, tomatoes and green onions.
(R) Tapa Tagalog – Tapa is dried or cured beef, mutton or venison, although other meat or even fishmay be used. Filipinos prepare tapa by using thin slices of meat and curing these with salt and spices as a preservation method.
Tapa is often cooked fried or grilled. When served with fried rice and fried egg, it is known as tapsilog (a portmanteau of the Filipino words tapa, sinangag and itlog[egg]). It sometimes comes with atchara (pickled papaya strips) or sliced tomatoes as side dish. Vinegar or ketchup is usually used as a condiment.
After the late lunch, we then proceed to our penultimate stop…
FYI: The Baluarte or fortress is a must-see attraction for first time visitors, and even for those who have visited Vigan before. It has a mini zoo with animals from other countries and others endemic to the Philippines. It is a private collection and is therefore continuously being improved.
There are indeed animals that we saw for the first time. 🙂 There is also a Safari Gallery with a lot of mummified animals inside. (Which for me is really creepy!)
After Baluarte, we also went to…
FYI: Pagburnayan Jar Making is one of the famous and must see attraction in Ilocos Sur. It is located in Brgy. Pagburnayan Vigan. Pagburnayan is a place where they used the old and authentic methods in pottery. The root word “burnay” is an earthenware jar crafted by potter’s hands with the aid of a potter’s wheel. It uses fine sand (anay) as a tempering material and fired at a high temperature in a huge brick-and-clay ground kiln that make it is harder and more durable than other terra cotta. The local bagoong(fish sauce), sugarcane vinegar, and basi wine would not taste as good as if not fermented in burnay jars.
We’re not able to take photos as we are actually rushing to go home already. (The travel is roughly 12 hours. :D)
Let me take you to a joyride. Let’s discover the beauty of Ilocos Norte!
Last week, I posted Part 1 of Ilocos Norte escapade! The beginning of the more-than-one-year-in-planning adventure was also posted already!
So hop on and let’s continue the ride! 😀
After almost 12 hours of road trip! We finally arrived to Pagudpud! 😀
FYI: Pagudpud is a fourth class municipality and a coastal resort town of Ilocos Norteprovince, in the northern Ilocos Region of the Philippines. According to the 2010 census, Pagudpud has a population of 21,877 people. It is the northernmost settlement on Luzon Island and a popular tourist destination because of its resorts and beaches.
And our first stop is…
It was raining hard when we arrived in Kabigan Falls but we brave the rain and the one-hour trek to see the majestic Kabigan Falls!
FYI: Kabigan Falls in Barangay Baloi, Pagudpud is a 120-feet high falls with a base of natural cool pool. Tucked inside a forest of rich greens, the more-than-a-kilometre trek is surely an adventure worth trying.
Because it was raining, we rented a 20-peso-worth of raincoat!
The trek was muddy, tiring and a bit slippery, but the view is indeed breathtaking!
And then… we reached the falls! 😀
After we got back to our van, we had a yummy lunch but we fail to take photos! (Maybe the trek really made us hungry! :D)
And then… while the rain is getting really really hard, we take a quick peak to the famous…
The bridge is elevated 31 meters over sea level. It is a concrete coastal bridge 1.3 km long and connects the Maharlika Highway from Laoag, Ilocos Norte to the Cagayan Valley Region. It rises along the town’s coastal mountains, which is the starting point of the Cordillera Mountain Range that snakes through Northern Luzon. It is the 4th longest bridge in the Philippines.
The viaduct is truly a beauty to behold. But we’re not able to cherish it ’cause the rains really hard. 😦