Metro Manila, Philippines
Metro Manila, Philippines
Eighty-one provinces, 136 cities, 1494 municipalities, and over 41,000 barangays make up the Philippines. The country is divided into 17 regions, including the National Capital Region (also known as NCR), the Caraga Region, and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (also known as ARMM). Each has unique natural wonders, cultural achievements, and artistic expressions worthy of being promoted and boasted about. Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, and Pampanga make up what is known as the Ilocos Region in the Philippines. This region is the first one in the country. The area is home to well-known places of worship, beaches, museums, and historical attractions.
The historical region of Ilocos offers a plethora of buildings representing the “Old-World” style of architecture. This type of architecture combines stones, lumber, and metal. Old-world architecture is usually decorative and dramatic, like the Baroque style that intends to heighten feelings of motion and sensuality. The baroque type of architecture represents the Spanish colonization period. This Saint Augustine Church, or the Paoay Church in Paoay Ilocos Norte, is considered one of the heritage sites of the Philippines. Founded by Augustinian missionaries in 1593, the Paoay Church is embellished with eight pilasters, coral-block buttresses, brick walls, and ornate stones finials. Ilocos Norte is also famous for its windmills in Bangui. They were stretched in the nine-kilometer shoreline of Bangui Bay. We can also find the Patapat Viaduct, an elevated road, in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte.
Although the Philippines are generally considered a tropical nation, the country’s northeastern region features a desert. In Paoa, Ilocos Norte, next to Suba Beach and covering an area of roughly 88 square meters, lies a protected sandy coastal desert known as the Paoay Sand Dunes. It is an excellent place for sand boarders and 4×4 jeep riders.
Region I is home to yet another momentous historical site. In all of Asia, the Spanish colonial town of Vigan in Ilocos Sur, established in the 16th century, is the best example of how well it has been conserved. The city of Vigan was an important commercial center in the Philippines long before the advent of European colonists. It is located on the northwestern coast of the main island of Luzon, close to the delta of the Abra River. The traditional checkerboard layout used for Hispanic street layouts ultimately resulted in the development of two plazas next to one another. The neighborhood is home to 233 historical buildings that are closely packed along a grid of 25 streets, and together they make up the historic footprint of the entire town. Because a sizeable element of Vigan’s Hispanic colonial legacy, in particular the city’s grid street system and historical urban plan, has been preserved, the town stands out as one of a kind. The Ilocano poet, writer, and Governor Marcelino “Mena” Crisologo is honored by naming one of Vigan’s most well-known streets, which stretches for a total of 500 meters and is known as Calle Crisologo. Stone homes, tungsten lamps, and kalesa may all be found along this street, which was built during Spanish colonization. During the day, visitors can spend time perusing the antique shops and museums on Calle Crisologo, such as the Father Burgos Museum and the Crisologo Museum. Calle Crisologo is transformed into a place steeped in history and magic when, at night, lamps line the roadway and cast their light onto the cobblestones below. There are also several eateries and cafes in the surrounding area. The Bantay Bell Tower in Vigan City is just another historical tourist attraction in the city. It is said to be people’s watchtower for defense against attacks during the 16th century. Since the tower sits on a hill, visitors can enjoy its panoramic view by climbing stairs that can be accessed through an entrance in the tower’s base. It was believed that the view from the building is one of the reasons why it was supposedly Diego and Gabriela Silang’s favorite date spot in the 17th century.
The province of La Union is well-known for its many historic churches and serves as the northern region’s pilgrimage hub. The San Fernando Cathedral is the city’s oldest church. It was finished in the neoclassical style during the 19th century when it was constructed. Other beautiful churches in the province that are worth visiting during the season of Lent include the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Charity, San Nicolas de Tolentino Church, Saint William the Hermit Cathedral, Saint Michael the Archangel Church, Shrine of Our Lady of Namacpacan and Saint Catherine of Alexandria Parish, San John the Baptist Church, Pindangan Ruins, and Saint Michael the Archangel Church. The Shrine of Our Lady of Namacpacan and Saint Catherine of Alexandria Parish are also in the province. Most of these places of worship exhibit the astounding beauty that can only be described as historic architecture. In addition to its medieval cathedrals, La Union is home to some fantastic natural beauties. Urbiztondo Beach, located in San Juan, is considered by many to be the “Surfing Capital of the North.” Its waves have a reputation for being the most reliable anywhere in the nation. The months of July through October and November through March are often considered to be peak surfing months in this region. Visitors will find that the area offers a variety of amenities, including surfing classes for all skill levels, surfboards for rent, restaurants, and accommodation homes, which makes it much simpler for them to take advantage of the beach retreat and surfing experience.
Pangasinan will also not lag when it comes to tourist destinations. The province is best for its natural and historical treasures. One of its world-famous attractions is the Hundred Islands. A total of 124 islands laid out in Lingayen Gulf offer a magnificent view of what the remnants of an ancient coral reef look like. In 2013, whale sharks were seen among the islands, boosting the province’s tourism. The Cape Bolinao Lighthouse is one of the five significant lighthouses in the Philippines and is the second highest lighthouse overall. It was constructed in 1905 by engineers from the Philippines, the United States, and Britain. Even though the lighthouse is no longer operational, it remains a popular tourist destination due to its distinctive construction and breathtaking vistas. Another favorite destination in Pangasinan is the Tayug Sunflower Eco Park, a two-hectare park of thousands of sunflower blooms and several sunflower mazes. There are also beds of marigold, petunia, and celosia, as well as other ornamental plants. The Balingasay River in Bolinao, located in Pangasinan, is often considered the province’s most pristine river. Fifteen hectares of mangroves, some more than a century old, call this protected area home. In addition to fishing, visitors may also go bird watching or swimming in the river. A river cruise is one of the most soothing ways to take everything in and enjoy the scenery.