Monday, February 2, 2015

Postcards from Vigan, part 4: Calle Crisologo, Crisologo Museum, Villa Angela, Syquia Museum and Plaza Salcedo's Dancing Fountain

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More than three weeks after the fact and I’ve finally finished editing pictures from our trip to Vigan, in the northern region of the Philippines – well, almost (just one little unexpected batch of pictures to go).


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Here is the rear-view mirror of our callesa as it approached Villa Angela Heritage House.


Is there anything new I can say about the places we visited? Probably not. We just occupied ourselves with tourist-y things to do: snap pictures and eat the local food. 

I’m always afraid of sounding either disingenuous or naive, but I’ll say it anyway: I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. Even as I begin to ramble on to cover captions for more than 70 images. You have been fairly warned.


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Truth be told, I’d be happy to go anywhere with this guy here. Though it took more than 20 hours in a bus, with many stops, going to Vigan and journeying back to Manila, I enjoyed the trip almost as much as the destination.


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At Villa Angela Heritage House (larger images on my visual diary),  what I loved most was how the morning light embraced this statue of Jesus and Saint Joseph.


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I couldn’t care less about the interiors, even if our callesa driver claimed that both Tom Cruise and his local counterpart, Piolo Pascual, stayed at the place. (Both have pictures on the walls to prove that such celebrities graced the house with their presence.)


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Every family indulges in myth-making.


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Here I am before one of the wooden doors at Calle Crisologo (more pictures on my visual diary). The doors are high enough for carriages of an earlier era to fit through.


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Here is a second-floor door-height window, which looked as if it opened to a balcony.


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The ground floor of Spanish-era wood and stone houses were used as garages and stables.



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Horseless callesas displayed at the Crisologo Musuem (more images from the Crisologo Memorabilia Museum here).


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Numerous static seats with wheels lined Calle Crisologo. Suitable for tourists tired of taking selfies.


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I actually liked the hats displayed at Crisologo Museum. The guide said the collection was comprised of gifts from various family guests. I love the woven ones above.


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This hat, if my memory serves me right, came from Cotabato, Mindanao, in the south of the Philippines.


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If only it were practical to carry around cumbersome woven hats while one commuted in Manila, I would surely use one every day. Looks way better than a for-rain-only umbrella.


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Kitchen utensils and woven baskets with clay bowls, still from Crisologo.


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Notice the rusty knobs.


Striped tee, Izzue
Shorts and hoodie (tied), Topman
Sneakers, Generic Surplus
Tote, Monocle


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A glass cabinet fit for a saint (from Crisologo Museum).


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Our trip to Vigan was short: one whole day spent touring around on a callesa and one morning to drop by a museum we missed. Of course, we ate at both restaurants and holes in the wall.


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Explored the side streets besides the main Calle Crisologo. After a while, one gets tired of the same street lamps, carvings, and heavy doors. Not that I wouldn’t have wanted to stay longer to see the town.


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It would have been better if we had more time to explore the place on foot.


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And if both of us knew how to speak Ilocano, the regional language, so that we would have had more stories to bring home.


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If you ask me, I prefer the side streets to Calle Crisologo. Besides being more photogenic, sincere decay and dilapidation have always had a greater appeal to me.


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I wonder how it would have been to live in such a house. To wake up every morning to the noise of the streets, with calls of peddlers drowned by the sound of hooves on cobble. 


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If anybody wanted to know, the boyfie’s small pouch is made of T’nalac fabric made by the T’boli tribe from the south.


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I love the sight of cactus plants as high as trees.


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And the blue sky of Vigan.


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But one could also spot this: signs left by local government.


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At the various memorabilia museums and mansions (Crisologo, Syquia, Villa Angela), one is left the notion of how class and politics must have ruled the lives of the people who originally dwelled in the preserved houses.


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Now the town is overrun by tourists (yes, they were not spared – view candid pictures of Vigan tourists I took here) with their monopods and selfie sticks.


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If only these heavy doors could talk.


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I wonder what kind of chatter mixed with the negotiations between ruling dynasties and merchants.


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Now one is not sure of the authenticity of the wares sold.


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If they reflected the predominant design of the commemorated era.


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We arrive like the afternoon light on ruins.


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Unaware of the stories stripped from history books.


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Concerned merely with bookings and accommodations.


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Anyway, at least that’s one thing I can strike off my bucket list.


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Though I can’t help but wonder whether the bricks that appeared beneath the concrete were there to begin with.


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What caused the ruin? Where are the families now?


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We arrived in Vigan a day before the holiday to mark the arrival of the pope. But no matter how many people crowded the streets, the place felt like a ghost town. Of course, I wouldn’t know any better as a transient tourist.


Raglan, Uniqlo
Shorts, Lee


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The boyfie posing with a statue of a street urchin – furnished with a begging tin.


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We probably shouldn’t have sat on the sidewalk.


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What with the amount of foot and hoof traffic.


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A nostalgic carriage for the guests of Hotel Luna.


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A younger cactus plant.


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More street texture, in the form of firewood.


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A selfie taken at before a gilded mirror at Syquia Mansion, my favorite museum in Vigan.


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We went to Syquia Mansion on our last morning before we left for Manila because the place was closed the Thursday that we took a callesa ride. I love the statues in the hallways and on the mantlepieces.


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The place had the best use of mirrors.


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And curtains.


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The mix of pieces displayed a certain taste – acquired I’m sure over decades.


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And from trips abroad.


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The boyfie having his moment below a trellis at Syquia Mansion’s second-floor courtyard.


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More vintage lamps, wood work, and icons.


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Me fat on longganisa and bagnet (shown below).


Shoulder bag bought at Calle Crisologo


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Who is the lady and who the lady-in-waiting?


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JV resting on a wooden and rattan seat at Syquia.


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Before I forget, it was only after research that I found out that Syquia Mansion was where the late President Elpidio Quirino lived.


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His wife was from the Syquia family.


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Was it a marriage of commerce and politics?


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Whatever the case, the owners of the house had good taste. Just look at the star-spangled tiles on the ground floor.


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The other addresses on Calle Crisologo had plainer interiors.


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The bag I bought, hung on a knob.


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A callesa passing in front of me. What was missed is the sack in front that helped to keep the streets shit-free.


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Time ravages everything.


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But that doesn’t mean that celebration is vain (more pictures from Plaza Salcedo’s Dancing Fountain here).


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This trip, after all, marks an anniversary for me and the boyfie.


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Months strung like longganisa on a string, consumed one by one.


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Or do you prefer the analogy of popping roasted corn?


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Everything is set to music even if nostalgia is on mute.


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Even I, coming to the end of this lengthy blog post, cannot help but feel wistful and sentimental.


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An obsessive-compulsive’s closure? 


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Grease and fat shouldn't be primary source of a humble man’s sustenance. (Shown here: bagnet for sale.)


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I prefer to mark things by using a rare initial, not a constant watermark.


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A grin that warms the heart.


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Here’s to our next trip, and more years to share!


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