To start of this discourse paper, I’m just going to give you a walkthrough what we did in our Ilocandia tour, our trip was from aug. 5 – 10. We left SDA at around 9pm – 10pm, we drove throughout the night, till morning at around 6am we arrived to our 1st destination “Santa Maria Church” in ilocos sur, at first I was not to excited about the place because it was too dark, then as soon as I climbed up through the stairs and I saw the buttresses of the church I was surprised to see that here in the Philippines, and then the next thing that caught my eye was the bell tower, you can imagine being there in 1765, where you can really appreciate the structure of how it was built and the scaling of the whole complex.
Our tour guide said that is was built in 1765 by the Augustinians, like all churches it served as a fortress during the Philippine revolution, the architectural style used was baroque architecture, in 1993 it was enscribed by unesco as 1 of 4 baroque churches in the Philippines. When I entered the place I was moved that they didn’t change anything at all, the guide said that the church was being preserved as much as possible, a minimal amount of it was touched, but the bell tower was structural unsafe, it is slowly tilting over to the right, like the leaning tower of pisa, at the back there was an abandoned graveyard , the view was so breathe taking, having seen it during sunrise the composition was just spectacular, it is one of the most amazing thing that I have yet so see.
Our next stop was the Quirino bridge, I’ve been to the north before with family, the last time I saw the bridge was 2 years ago, it is really something to think about, because it was already made during the time of the Japanese, you’ve got to wonder how advance we we’re back then.
After fooling around at the bridge, we headed back to the bus, to go to our next destination “Vigan” it was still really early in the morning . so some of use? I mean most of us we’re asleep so, but sometimes I was half awake or awake, I could see the mountain surrounding us, my attention was snatched by how the sun was rising up in between the mountains. Kinda makes you imagine, when we we’re kids, when we draw mountains that was always the composition “2 mountains and the sun at the middle”.
As we arrive in vigan, it was such a nice thing to remembering being there 2 years ago. When we went to the hotel to check in, as soon as I get the key and the room assignments I immediately went up to the room to rest a little bit because I didn’t get any sleep in the bus, there was a lot of things that I noticed going up, the staircase was literally like during the Spanish time, and then the other ornaments were all antiques, plus the furnitures was really noticeable that it was an antique. Then the room was a bit plain but the bathroom has this unusual way for ventilation the wholes from the bathroom was ornamented “Spanish inspired” that was leading to the corridor. So there was a sense of insecurity because the whole we’re too low and someone can easily see if there is someone inside. There’s a problem there with the space bubble. The 1st night we had in vigan was pretty exciting, I’ve never had imagined that Boss From Hell, was that talented in playing the piano, I think he left us a trademark impression of how good a musician he is. We student’s were shocked to know that majority of our faculty were talented not just in architecture but in other fields as well.
After having a quick rest and freshening up, we then headed down to get some breakfast, our breakfast was a vigan delicacy “vigan longganisa” really mouth watering, the taste is really different from the one’s in manila.
After our well deserved rest, we headed out to check out our project lots, we 1st checked out the “sensei’s crib” lot which coincidentally named “Javier”. The roads surrounding the lot was a no car area, the means of transportation there was via horse carriage (kalesa) or tricycle. And in front of the lot was the statue of Leona Florentina, the statue is a very iconic image there. That’s when we are designing, we should be compassionate to the surrounding.
And then after a few steps we went to our next lot, the “my studio” lot we we’re able to see the size of the lot, and it was in fact, really big and the height of the surrounding houses were 3 meters for the 1st floor and 3.2 meters for the 2nd floor. Another thing we got to see was how the exteriors of every house was like, some are really ornamented and some are simple yet eye catching due to it’s plain yet antique preserved look. Both the “sensei’s crib” and “my studio” we’re point to the main plaza, the main plaza is huge, didn’t expect it to be that big, and at the middle of the plaza, the obelisk giving the city a sense of power, towering over everything .
After seeing the plaza we headed to our “my crib” lot, the lot had the following fast food chains, “jollibee” and “chow king” and a part of the national bookstore, and the surrounding was a food court which was over populated during lunch time, so that’s one thing to think about in designing the house, “privacy issue” without turning my back on the people. And another element to consider is the church and the belfry. A powerful element that needs to be considered and should not be overwhelmed, the church has a large role in terms of city planning, not just because of the religion but for congregational purposes as well. And there are also 2 more significant buildings to be considered, 2 government buildings near the “my crib “ lot and another plaza in front of the lot.
Then after that we waited till the clock turned 11, to head to our next item on the list which was the governor’s office, which there was a presentation of the vigan is being preserved and there was a brief history lesson there also, in the presentation the speaker told us that there are guidelines when constructing a new house within the heritage site, same with restoring the old house.
Right after that we had our lunch, then after that we headed to the burgos museum, which was a bank before, you will be able to notice that because once you enter the museum you will see on the walls there are grids where the tellers used to be.
Then we went to Pagburnayan or Pottery Making, where we we’re welcomed by the national artist “Fidel Antiporda Go” this part of the tour is one of the most exciting part for me, where he showed us his talent in molding pots, which was handed down to him by his father, you will see generations of artistry in Him. He showed us how to make clay pots. And that patience is a key part in making pots, He even shared to us how many pots He can make in a day (70 pots). That’s a big number considering His age. After making a pot He then showed His artistry by making a clay light house. After that he offered some of the students to try it, my friend who tried it out said “it’s harder than it looks”. I’ll take her word for it, I wanted to find out for myself but due to the lack of time I didn’t get the chance to.
Right after that we headed to the hidden valley, there was nothing much there but just a mini forest. Then we went to the baluarte, which was really exciting because the last time I went there, I saw the tiger walking around w/ his handlers. As soon as we’ve arrived the 1st thing we all saw were the tigers. The baluarte didn’t change since the last 2years, the only new thing that I’ve experience there was the hands-on encounter with the tiger, having my picture taken with the tiger really pumped my adrenaline.
This Vigan tour really helped out my views on classic/period architecture. The days I’ve spent staying in a heritage site houses, made me say to myself “I wouldn’t mind living in a place like this” it is more peaceful living in a heritage site, and you can appreciate period architecture more not just visually, but having the experience of staying in one, there is a greater understanding when you have really seen and felt something than just reading it from a book.