My friend and I hopped on a kalesa, and had a pleasant and stress-free tour of Vigan and the nearby towns of Ilocos Sur. Activity in the province was slow, and it felt like time stood still for one afternoon while we were treated to the lovely sights of Ilocos Sur. For Php150.00/hour, the tour included a visit to:
- Bantay Church and Bell Tower in Bantay
- Pottery-making or burnayan in Vigan
- Baluarte in Caoayan
- Hidden Garden in Vigan
- Burgos Museum and Elpidio Quirino Museum in Vigan
Our first stop was the Bantay Church or Shrine of Our Lady of Charity. According to the marker, the church was initially named St. Augustine Parish Church by the Augustinian friars. It became a shrine to Our Lady of Charity on 12 January 1956 when the miraculous image of Our Lady was crowned as the Patroness of Ilocandia by the Most Reverend Monsignor Vagnozzi, Papal Nuncio to the Philippines. Standing at a distance, seemingly like a watchtower, is the Bantay Bell Tower. True to its form, the Bell Tower indeed doubled as a watchtower during the war. From the uppermost part, I could see the province’s skyline, with South China Sea as the background on one side, and the Cordillera mountains on the other.
Images of the Church and Tower:
The next stop was a visit to the burnayan, or pottery shop, in, if I’m not mistaken, a certain barangay in Vigan. I had in my mind images of locals molding jars from clay a la Demi Moore in Ghost, minus the cheesy music, of course. I was greeted, however, with an unlit oven, and lines of already-molded huge pots. The burnay, or earthen jars, are used for storing water, rice grains, salt, or fish paste (bagoong), among others. These locally-made pots are likewise sold and transported to different parts of the country.
Images of the burnayan: