Color the Streets Salad


It’s everyday pinakbet in Ilocos! You could say the Ilocanos are long-established organic farmers.

ChiliOrganic VegetablesAgnatnateng
KamotigNatengSarguelasManangBunga ti MarrungayGuyabanoIgaoSabong ti MarrungayLusciousPalanganaBotbote
Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013

Sunday Lunch with Friends at Vigan’s Casa Teofila Lodge Resto Grille

Garden Bench

If you need to stay in Vigan but won’t consider confining yourself in a room in a centuries-old casa, you just might mull over an alternative accommodation. Casa Teofila Lodge looks more like a huge house, located not too far from the heritage village, about 5 minutes away if you’re taking the tricycle. But we’ll get back to that later.


I met Mary Fe or Mafe Chan Po, the owner of Casa Teofila Lodge at a Red Dot function a couple of months ago and it so happens that my bestie Marianne was a high school classmate of Benjie Po, the husband of Mafe. It was a slow Sunday, so my hubby went with us to the south. It turns out the Chans and Reny’s family are close from way back, especially their moms.

After meeting with the couple at the Red Dot-Vigan, which Mafe also manages, we drove to the hotel for lunch at the Resto Grill, the hotel’s restaurant which is transformed into a bar at night, complete with live acoustic music on Wednesdays and Fridays, and KTV singing on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Seize the super 5-beer-plus-1 deal for only 200 pesos. Saw the menu and the prices of food are unbelievably low, certainly tourist-friendly! They fed us the house specialties such as sisig, Pinoy BBQ and what they call their Bilao ni Mang Azon; consisting of grilled okra, finger chili, eggplant, squid, liempo, tilapia; fresh pokpoklo, tomatoes and onions; chopped mangoes with bagoong alamang; and red eggs. Loved the hot sinigang na baboy which I ate with patis, yum!

Casa Teofila Lodge Resto Grille LunchBilao ni Mang Azon at SisigPinakbet

Lovely pinakbet, an Ilocano meal-in-one favorite. I noticed Ilocos Sur’s pinakbet is not so pinakebbet or shriveled, unlike ours in the north. The last I had in Candon looks fairly the same. I prefer the veggies a little hilaw. On the contrary, that won’t be the authentic Ilocano pakbet.


Let’s now talk about lodging. Saw almost all the rooms. Nothing too fancy. There are many to choose from, depending on the budget. They have dormitory rooms which can accommodate up to 10-20 people. They also have air-conditioned ordinary rooms that are low cost. However, they also have newer suites for those who can afford to spend more. The hotel is constantly being renovated a little at a time, says Mafe. Cable TV and WiFi are available.

Casa Teofila, ViganCasa Teofila SuiteCasa Teofila Lodge, ViganCasa Teofila Dormitory Rooms

Frankly, I haven’t experienced spending a night in Vigan, so I’m admittedly not an authority on hotels and inns, etc.. About the food culture in the south…  I’m getting there:)

Casa Teofila Lodge & Resto Grille Pantay Daya, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur
Tel. No.: (077) 722 6482 / CP Nos: (0920) 690 5999 / (0922) 851 3513 / (0935) 190 3688 / (0917) 799 0513

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013

Ilocos terracotta town: A gamut of San Nicolas damili wares

Laoag Central School graffiti art

I wanted a “banga”, or earthen pot, for an authentic Ilocano “pinakbet”, and so I headed down south to the town of San Nicolas, where “damili”, or pottery, is an old cottage industry. While tracking down the potters in the thriving town that used to be a territory of Laoag before its reconstitution on the first of January in 1909, I learned quite much about this culture and tradition that might be as old as the coming of the Spanish conquistadors to the land of the Ilocanos.

The unglazed earthen wares, which are more eco-friendly, come in many forms. In one pottery place alone, which I found in Barangay Sta. Monica, the finished terracotta products on display were plant pots, tiles, “dalikan”, “banga”, “liso”, jars, novelty items, and miniatures, each skillfully crafted by the artisan potters.

Preservation of “damili” is one of the paramount concerns of the LGU of San Nicolas. As a tribute to the age-old tradition, an annual Damili Festival, also a celebration of the town’s reestablishment, is held from November 9-December 31.

A potter at his wheel: Feeling the earth move under his skin

Dalikan, a traditional charcoal stove

Do you see something strange but the tribal figure?

Decorative tiles

Unfired greenware

Applying external pressure with “sipat” movements — a stage in the moulding process that comes after the wheel stage, and before drying and firing.

Choosing my banga.

I got my “banga”. My best pinakbet ever, I tell you.

(If you need a pinakbet recipe, here it is. Same steps.  Don’t include the chicharon, though.)

P.S. Earthen jar or “burnay” fact: In a grenade attack, an Ilocano journalist’s precious life was saved because of a water-filled “burnay”. Read this article.

Location: Damilians in Brgy. 6, San Juan Bautista / Bolit’s Rangcapan Pottery, Brgy. 24, Sta. Monica, Nagrebcan, San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, Philippines

Photos by Blauearth Copyright © Blauearth™ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED