Tag Archive: Ilocos Norte



From Laoag City to Vigan and back, we remember our wonderful dining experiences in these 4 restos. If there was more time, I’m sure we would have tried other dining places in between those yummy bagnet, longganiza and empanadas. So. Let’s not beat around the bush. Whenever the subject is food, no one should be kept waiting.

Vigan Empanada

Herencia Cafe

Best dining location ever.  Pick a table by the window and enjoy a panoramic view of the Paoay Church in all its majesty. It rained while we were cruising in a van from the airport thru a couple of touristy sites before sitting down for a proper lunch here.  A late lunch, but no one was complaining.  

This is the home, the birthplace of the famous Pinakbet Pizza.  Pinakbet as in that very Ilocano dish which found its way to almost every Filipino family’s dinner table.  Pizza as in that most famous export of Italy, along with spaghetti.  And it was such a treat to be able to taste the authentic Ilocano dishes such as Bagnet, Poqui Poqui, Dinengdeng and Crispy Dinuguan

Herencia Cafe : Right Across Paoay Church

Herencia Cafe: Home of Pinakbet Pizza

Bagnet, Kilawin, Pinakbet Pizza, Poqui Poqui, Dinengdeng, Crispy Dinuguan

La Preciosa @Laoag City

Our van driver wanted to bring us here on our very first day.  Perhaps he felt an authentic Ilocano meal here would have made a fine introduction to Ilocos Norte.  He wasn’t wrong.  Even if we actually “ended” our trip with a meal here on our last day.  

The restaurant has a bakeshop right beside it.  Which is fine if we have grown “tired” of Ilocano cuisine. Not so though.  We have not outgrown our taste for Dinengdeng and Crispy Dinuguan which they call Crispy Dinardaraan here.  

La Preciosa

But we were not prepared for Warek Warek.  No Ilocano has ever introduced me to this local dish of pig’s meat and entrails (tongue, liver, intestines) parboiled with calamansi, grilled, sliced, served with the juice of more calamansi and seasoned with salt and pepper. Having tried it, I was convinced we should not order any more dish involving innards. So no Higadu for us. But don’t miss the chance to try it when you get here.  Along with the Inabraw, Insarabasab, and Duyduy.

Cafe Leona

No one goes to Vigan without a “proper stroll” along Calle Crisologo.   You can do it during the day, but we strongly recommend you don’t miss it at night.  It had just rained when we got here, and the rainwashed cobble-stoned paths glistened as the lights from colonial-inspired lamp posts reflected on the water.   At the end of Calle Crisologo is Cafe Leona.  I didn’t mean to stop here for a meal except for my usual late afternoon brew.  Thought it would be a good place to sit out while the rest of the family explore.  By the time they were back, they were famished and ready for an early dinner. 

Cafe Leona. Along Calle Crisologo, Vigan

Cafe Leona’s menu is as confused as my current state while there, minding my 2 “elves” while their parents and aunts camwhore outside.  Thinking the best thing to do was to submit to Fusion Cuisine,  that was exactly what we did.  I wasn’t too happy with my Pasta with Longganiza, but the kids were happy with theirs.  Guess this place provides a “good break” while our stomach enzymes were still busily digesting our Ilocano breakfast and lunch. 

Kusina Felecitas / Cafe Uno @ Grandpa’s Inn

Grandpa

In Vigan, we would have been quite content with the empanadas filled with Vigan longganiza, egg and papaya.  But in Kusina Felecitas in Grandpa’s Inn,  we found this rare Malaga fish on its Menu, prepared in sour broth as with any other sinigang dish,  but soured with the local santol fruit!   We also indulged in the famous Vigan longganiza, the usual accompaniment of Poqui Poqui and Dinengdeng,  and the Kulintipay Shells.   These shells are actually the very same capiz shells you see framed in the sliding windows of Grandpa’s Inn.  I have not seen them for ages, much less, ate them.  Well, we were in luck in Vigan!  

Sinigang na Malaga Sa Santol

Among all the dining places we have tried, this one’s our favorite in terms of ambience. The restaurant looks more like an art gallery. The paintings hanging on the walls cover all the way to the Inn’s coffee shop aptly called Cafe Uno. Next time we are in Vigan, we would most certainly check in at this lovely Grandpa’s Inn

 

Kulintipay Shells

More? Read my TravelBlog post. 


How much do we know of the Luna brothers? Honestly? I simply know one is a painter, the other a General. Both are patriots. And both are friends and contemporaries of Dr. Jose P. Rizal. Many of us would think that knowledge is enough. Toinks!

Juan Luna Shrine in Badoc, Ilocos Norte

On our way from Laoag to Vigan, we passed Badoc, Ilocos Norte. This is the last town of Ilocos Norte. And this is the birthplace of the Luna brothers. The Juan Luna Shrine can be found here — a building made of brick housing the memorabilia and paintings of this patriotic, and very controversial painter.

Death of Cleopatra (Museo del Prado @Madrid)

Spolarium (now on display @National Museum of the Philippines)

Luna killed his wife and mother-in-law because of

jealousy.

So goes the story. Makes for a great headline.

The patriot who painted such classics and award-winning Spoliarium (Gold Medal, 1884, now on display at the National Museum of the Philippines), Death of Cleopatra (Silver Medal, 1881, Museo del Prado in Madrid), Parisian Life (another Silver Medal, 1889, GSIS Museum), Battle of Lepanto, Blood Compact (1886, Malacanang Palace), Una Bulakenya (1895, Malacanang Palace), among others. The patriot as a murderer? Says who?

Inside Juan Luna Shrine

The Tour Guide did not miss a beat telling and retelling this story. Sure, Juan Luna shot his mother-in-law and wife dead. We also just learned that he shot his brother-in-law Felix Pardo de Tavera too in the same incident, but this “lucky” fellow survived. Was it an accident or was this a crime of passion?

Most answers you’d find point to Juan Luna shooting his wife Paz in a fit of jealousy. The accused lover was a certain Monsieur Dussaq. Having settled in Paris after his marriage, I can only assume this Dussaq is one Frenchman. So, did Juan shoot his wife et al? All this after only 6 years of marriage. Our Ilocano Tour Guide has another version. Like Juan tried to force open the door to their home in Paris by shooting at the door knob, not knowing the mother-in-law was peeping through the keyhole with the wife right behind her. Quite a stretch………..if you ask me. But oh well, that’s the version. (*big yawn)

The couple had 2 children but one died in infancy. The surviving child, Andres, is also a painter and the architect who designed Arlegui House, the residence of ex-President Cory Aquino, and the San Vicente de Paul Church in San Marcelino Street. Many of his works were unfortunately destroyed during the Second World War.


Rizal as a Scribe? or a Sphinx?

Una Bulakenya (Used To Be On Display @Malacanang Palace, Now @National Art Gallery)

The Other Luna Brothers

Juan’s passion for the arts was influenced by his brother Manuel who was also a painter. A better one, if we were to believe Dr. Jose Rizal. From Badoc, Ilocos Norte, the Luna family moved to Manila where the brothers studied. Manuel and Juan traveled together to Spain where Juan had more art (painting) lessons while Manuel ventured into music and later claimed fame as a violinist.

When Juan was arrested for shooting his wife and later acquitted (on grounds of insanity), it was Antonio (yes, General Antonio Luna) who accompanied him from Paris to Madrid and finally to Manila. Both brothers were arrested for rebellion charges, and later released. Juan headed back to Spain, while Antonio remained and was later killed by the Kawit Batallion (another controversial story involving Emilio Aguinaldo, but that’s another story).

One unfinished, intriguing story involves the painting “Una Bulaquena” or Woman from Bulacan. The painting was inspired by a woman who was allegedly the one great love of Antonio Luna, though the other version cites Juan having courted her after losing/shooting Paz. A case of sibling rivalry? Who knows?

This photo shows how tall or short Rizal was..........

Juan Luna’s Distinguished Models

Not many of us know that Dr. Rizal actually posed as Datu Sikatuna in Juan Luna’s “Blood Compact”. In his silver award-winning painting “Death of Cleopatra”, our national hero actually posed in earlier sittings as a scribe complete with a headdress , making him look like a sphinx. Juan Luna himself posed as Marc Anthony in the same painting. Somehow, I can imagine how these men must have enjoyed all these sittings, horsing around, posing in costumes, etc.

The original Parisian Life painting used to hang here in Bahay Nakpil-Bautista in Quiapo

Then of course everybody knows Dr. Rizal was one of the 3 models in the GSIS-acquired “Parisian Life”. The other 2 gentlemen in the painting were Juan Luna himself and Ariston Bautista, in whose house this same painting hung for years. Errr, that is yet another story again.

But these men were not just models. They were our heroes. Patriots. Gentlemen-friends, if you may. Their love of country, passion for the arts and literature, intellect, perhaps even love of women must have bound them like blood brothers in a place far away from home and family, in an era marked by secret alliances and trysts, murder and heroism.

C’est la vie………..

Inside the Shrine @Badoc, Ilocos Norte

Exit Through The Backyard: More Paintings (Reproductions)

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