Vigan Living: Casa Caridad

Garden

Renowned for its old world charm, Vigan (a designated UNESCO world heritage site), in the new millennium, has multiplied its efforts to preserve the historic town. It also recently made the New7Wonder Cities.

One of Vigan’s sons, tycoon Jose “Bonito” Singson, is so passionate about heritage preservation. He welcomed his longtime friend and FoodPrints host, Sandy Daza, and the team into his nest. A Vigan house so splendidly restored — a mix of Spanish Colonial, Chinese and Ilocano influences, the details very quiet, making personal memoirs and portraits and his daughter’s artworks stand out.

The Resident of Casa CaridadPias (Kamias)

The first time we were at Casa Caridad,  his house named after his late mother, he treated us to cocktails – the finest Ilocano nosh of “bogi ti Semana Santa”, ipon with capers, fresh oysters in the shell, fine wine and pias with salt to keep us up.

The next day, at the actual shoot of Sandy and Bonito’s trusted cook, manang Tita Mendoza, a historical spread unfolded. As a blogger, I’ve always aimed to experience Ilocano food from a different perspective. Hoping to blog about the food of Vigan separately and completely soon. Meanwhile you should watch the FoodPrints Vigan and Ilocos Sur episodes to see what I mean.

With so much thanks to Bonito Singson.

Sabong ti KarabasaFoodPrints Ilocos Sur BTSChef Sandy Daza in ViganBaldoza-TiledStained GlassA Vigan HouseVigan SweetsSampling Vigan’s Spanish influenced canatillo, turones de mani and balicucha.MaseteriaPiedra ChinaPiedra ChinaVintage Moviehouse SeatsIf you will notice, we were actually seating on vintage moviehouse chairs.AtriumA Vigan house like no otherIndayonPink Garden

Stained glass photo by Nikki Alfonso, hammock and door photos by Christine Rae de Leon and movie, Vigan sweets and second photo by Melanie de Leon.
Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2015

Edmaration vs BlauEarth | Make empanada, not war

Vigan Empanada

Opposite poles attract, I hit it off right away with Edmar Guquib, the blogger from Vigan, Ilocos Sur. We had the honor to tape (guest) for FoodPrints with Chef Sandy Daza in Ilocos Sur (still to be aired this May on the Lifestyle Network). Of course, an Ilocos Sur experience is not the same without the Vigan empanada, just like Ilocos Norte is not complete without the Batac, or Laoag, empanada. According to Bigueños, the yellow Vigan empanada traces its roots to tacos, introduced by the Mexicans during the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade, while the Batac empanada, according to Nana Glory Cocson of Glory’s Empanada, her very own empanada creation inspired all the other orange empanandas in Ilocos Norte. Edmar and I both agree, each empanada is different from the other.

FoodPrints Ilocos Sur BTS

BlauEarth deconstructs Edmar Guquib aka Edmaration.

What is Edmaration all about?
Edmaration is a fusion for Edmar and admiration, a name coined by an old friend of mine when I was in college. I thought the name is cool and unique, so I used it to watermark my then photos uploaded on the now defunct social networking site Friendster. College friends started to call me Edmaration. I also used it to name my first ever blog, Edmaration. No longer about my college life, the name Edmaration is all about my blog now. Everytime people call me Edmaration, they are referring to the blogger in me and the blog they read. Edmaration is a travel blog I created to pen down my first motorbike adventures with my brother. However, I discovered later on that travel is a very broad realm, so it was hard to ignore the other wonderful experiences traveling could give like culture, heritage, food and people to name a few. Through Edmaration, I am able to share my stories, insights and my take on anything related to traveling.

What do you do apart from blogging?
I am a full-time nurse assigned to the Emergency Room and Outpatient Department. I also work in the Operating Room though it is not a part of my official designation. If I’m not in the hospital, you’ll see me singing videoke, traveling leisurely or eating empanada in Plaza Burgos.

Vigan empanada and okoy

I’m also a nurse. You’re The Town Explorer, how many miles have you traveled on your bike?
I measure qualitatively how far I’ve traveled. The travel memorabilia and souvenir shirts in my closet, as well as the scars, sun burn and skin abrasions I’ve earned show how far I’ve traveled in the name of adventure. The countless memories and thousands of photographs I’ve taken remind me that I’ve walked, trekked, ran, hiked, flew, sailed and road-tripped far and beyond.

How often do you post?
I don’t maintain a regular set of posts within a time period. There were months that I can publish 13-16 entries in 4 weeks time. Sometimes I don’t write at all. October 2014 to February 2015 was a major blogging hiatus of mine when I didn’t publish new articles due to personal reasons. However, I’m more than happy that I’m back in the blogosphere and I am aiming to post a minimum of two articles weekly. So help me God.

FoodPrints Ilocos Sur BTSFoodPrints Ilocos Sur with Chef Sandy Daza (photo with Edmaration)

Travel or food?
I consider travel to be very broad, so it can be narrowed down to subcategories. I don’t find traveling complete without trying and discovering the local food. It can represent a culture, a group of people or the destination itself.

Describe your hometown of Vigan
My hometown is indescribable. Though not perfect, it is a place that nurtures its citizens through culture and heritage, both the seen and the unseen. We Bigueños take pride in our culture and heritage. It is also culture and heritage that binds as together. While trying to preserve our heritage, the city, in return, has given us the opportunity to live, grow and succeed in a peaceful, culturally-rich community that stays strong and intact. The well-preserved ancestral houses are living testimonies that the citizens of Vigan care so much of the wisdom of our ancestors and the good values they wanted us and the next generations to have.

What to you is the best part of blogging?
The best part of blogging is when one day you wake up and your family, friends and your community are already very proud of you, regardless of your social status, and they realize you are a kickass blogger using your influence to spread hope, inspiration and… wait, uhm, world peace!

Selfie with Edmaration (photo by Edmaration)Lampong (photo by Ali Co-CallejaAt Calle Crisologo with Edmaration

FoodPrints BTS photos by Edmar Guquib, Alina Co-Calleja, Melanie de Leon and BlauEarth
© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2015

Almost Summer!

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Thank you to Jana Siratranont, former Tourism Officer of Ilocos Sur, for leading me to the Kannawidan food and product fair featuring the indigenous products of the different municipalities of Southern Ilocos. After a scrumptious merienda of dinoydoy pasta and a rich slice of my fave sans rival at Bigaa Gastropub, btw, Joey Generoso and the entire Side A band were also drunching, I proceeded to the stadium and had fun exploring.

Omg, such beautiful discoveries like Bungo ice cream, which I had been chasing in the last few years. The most recent, I went to Brgy. Bungro, San Ildefonso, with my cousins, but community folks were having a day-off from all the holiday madness. I thought the flavors would be so strange to appreciate, but it turns out they are quite contemporary, not to mention the green branding. Malunggay was lovely, it’s their best seller, but bell pepper tasted so much like cheese pimiento, say? I give them two thumbs up!

Isn’t the oversized durian bag from San Juan so chic and perfect for summer? You can get one through special order at Gab’s Buricraft, located in front of the San Juan Public Market (09153729960 / 09434166978).

Thanks also go to Peng, Melchor and Jerson Paz, who took the photo of Jana and me at Bigaa.

Picture 697Picture 690Picture 699Picture 701Picture 704Picture 715Picture 708Picture 686Picture 673Picture 681Dinoydoy is a traditional mashed squash dish. With bagnet and pasta, it came out appetizingly fab! Picture 683Picture 682
Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2015