The second half of the first day of the 2014 Barkada Tour started with another foray into Ilocano gourmet tasting. Lunch stop was at La Herencia Cafe, in Paoay, reputed to be the birthplace of the Pinakbet Pizza, which did not disappoint.
This “healthy, vegetarian” pizza is best enjoyed with a drizzle of bagoong, fermented shrimp or anchovies and salt.
Paoay is also where the Malacanang ti Amiana (Malacanang of the North) Mansion is located.
The Marcos Museum was closed, but his Mausoleum in Batac was just round the corner. The caretaker graciously opened the room. The darkened room was illuminated by strategically placed lights. Former President Ferdinand Marcos lay in a glass coffin, his heavily waxed visage seemingly unchanged from the one time I was fortunate to see him give an extemporaneous speech in person. It was eerie listening to the taped description of what was involved in keeping the corpse, kitted out in a barong tagalog in what is supposed to be a temporary resting place.
Then it was time to check in at Sitio Remedios, best described by an excerpt from their website,
a private village resort situated in an 18,000 square meter of land in Barangay Victoria, Currimao, Ilocos Norte, facing the West Philippine Sea. It is a re-created Ilocano village typical of the mid-fifties, and stands as a reminder of a more genteel era. The houses and other buildings are made of vintage bricks and wood salvaged from mid-century structures mostly from the towns of Ilocos Norte. The lay-out is in a grid typical of Spanish times, the quadricula, respectful of spaces and ancient trees, amid which the structures are built. The houses were constructed by workers coming from the towns where the houses were sourced, guided by architect Rex Hofileña, who without any detailed architectural plans, coached them to surface their innate artistry and skill to build remembrances of their Ilocano past. The Sitio is dedicated to the patron saint of Currimao, St. Michael, the Archangel, and to the Lady of Good Voyage, o Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, the namesake of the mother of the owner, Dr. Joven R. Cuanang.
It was a special dinner for the group of eight, who fifty-two years ago, fresh-faced, just emerging from childhood, met in St. Theresa’s College, San Marcelino, Manila and lived together in the dormitory with Sr. Felicie Decroix as the house mother.
Exhausted from the day’s sightseeing, Bertie and Maggie settled down at Bahay Piddig in a room designated as Kuarto ni Cecile, named for Cecile Licad, Imelda Marcos’s piano prodigy who went on to play world wide. Bahay Piddig is a bungalow culled from old Filipino houses and artistically reconstructed into a typical Filipino house of yore.
The house next door, Balay Batac, the largest house in this resort, had two floors. Cora, Emily and Marlyn had the bedroom downstairs and two flights up, were Ann Maria, Edna and Virgie.
Around and about Sitio Remedios