June 23, 2024
Philippine Experience Caravan

Look! Department of Tourism’s Philippine Experience Caravan in Region 1

PH | Look! Department of Tourism’s Philippine Experience Caravan in Region 1 | One of the Philippines’ most captivating and stunning regions is Ilocos. It’s a location where nature, culture, and history all combine to provide tourists with an exceptional and life-long experience. The region, which includes the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, and Pangasinan, is located in the northwest of Luzon. This is why Department of Tourism launched Philippine Experience Program last March 19 to exhibit culture, heritage, and arts of Region 1. The municipality of Bacarra, which is well-known for its ancient Domeless Bell Tower, is the first of numerous stops in the Province of Ilocos Norte. Once the tallest structure in the area at fifty meters, the building withstood earthquakes and continued to stand as a testament to the Bacarran people’s tenacity in the face of many hardships. 

Photo Credit to Department of Tourism

After the delectable breakfast at Bacarra, the delegates were taken by the Philippine Experience Program (PEP) caravan to see the Malacañang of the North, which was constructed as the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos’ official house. The grand two-story building that commands a breathtaking view of Paoay Lake is the perfect example of Ilocanos’ rich Hispanic architectural legacy.  Now reduced to a shadow of its former existence, the mansion functions as a historical museum. Visitors who would like to see the home may peruse its treasures while taking in the scenery of Paoay Lake, which the estate is situated next to. 

The most exciting aspect, though, was when participants in the Philippine Experience Program (PEP) were welcomed to Kusina Valentin in Paoay with a taste of some classic Ilocano foods, ‘with a twist.’ These included crispy dinuguan, bagnet kare-kare, and pinakbet pizza. Paoay Church may be reached via a short stroll from Kusina Valentin. Secretary Frasco later presented an Award of Appreciation to the Town of Paoay in recognition of the town’s gracious reception of the PEP caravan.

Department of Tourism
Photo Credit to Department of Tourism

Following a tour of Ilocos Norte’s historical sites, the representatives of the Philippine Experience Program (PEP) journeyed for around 1.5 hours to arrive to Vigan City, located in Ilocos Sur. After making a brief visit at the renowned Luna Hotel, Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco and the PEP delegates were met by Mayor Jose “Bonito” Singson Jr. and other Vigan City authorities at the Vigan Museum.

Visitors may learn about the rich history and cultural legacy of Vigan City at the Vigan City Museum. Along with a home depot and a skills training center for productivity and livelihood, the Museum also contains the local library. The participants were transported from the hotel to the museum by a leisurely callesa ride that took them past the centuries-old history residences that line the cobblestone lanes of Vigan’s ancient heritage town.

Surrounded by rich cultural heritage, the local governments of Vigan City and Ilocos Sur Province honored Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco and the PEP delegates with an al fresco dinner in the middle of Calle Crisologo to cap off Day 1 of the Philippine Experience Program Ilocos Region. As the focal point of the Vigan Heritage City, Calle Crisologo, also called the Kamestizoan District, is recognized. A journey back in time to the Philippines’ colonial past is made possible by the ambiance, which is replete with ancestral mansions from the 18th and 19th centuries, complete with huge hardwood flooring, historic tile roofs, balustrades, and azoteas in a variety of Spanish, Mexican, and Chinese architectural styles. The UNESCO World Heritage List designation of this captivating historical and architectural landmark was made possible by its appeal.

Department of Tourism
Photo Credit to Department of Tourism

Ilocos Sur Governor Jerry Singson greeted every PEP participant warmly during his welcome speech. “PEP is more than just an event; it’s a representation of our unity as we unite to present the finest that the Philippines has to offer. Together, we clear the path for a more promising future for travel to our nation,” Governor Singson remarked. During her keynote address, Secretary Frasco expressed her sincere appreciation for the PEP participants’ genuine hospitality from the provincial people and local government representatives.

“Philippine Tourism is a source of national pride for our country, that I confidently say that the heritage city of Vigan and the province of Ilocos Sur evince this national pride. For I can see that when tourism is a priority for the local government then everyone comes together to ensure that the destination is well preserved, livelihood continues to be provided to the people, and the heritage and culture of the place lives on in the youth,” the Chief of Tourism said, praising the genuine efforts of the Province and the City to raise the profile of tourism within local government.

To learn more about the Philippine Experience Program, visit the social media pages of the Philippines’ Department of Tourism.



Department of Tourism – Philippines

The Philippines