Tuesday December 1, 2020

By: Becky Garcia

Photos by Lorna Llanes


Making the Most of Vigan in 24 hours: I have done the Vigan sojourn countless times. But our last trip was extra special because Narvacan Mayor Chavit Singson – more commonly known for his moniker “Gov” – intended it to be a birthday celebration for my better half, Dr. George Sarakinis. We flew in with the friends closest to my husband’s heart; meaning that if you are on the list, you are dear to him (some couldn’t make it). He was right on the mark with his selection of handpicked guests, because everyone was a joy to be with. Couples who joined us were firsttimers Atty. Rene & Ann Puno, and Pacqui & Lilibeth, together with repeaters Ambassador Vic & Connie Garcia, Gunter & Joanne Matschuk, Merci Padolina, and John Gaddi & Sonny Tanchangco. An additional first-timer was Beauty Queen Cora Ugalde Armenta who flew in from Los Angeles for the occasion.

Our party of 24 stayed at the very exclusive “Forbidden Village” enclave of the good Mayor; comprising of several 2-3 room villas scattered around a beautifully manicured lawn with a huge social hall, and a swimming pool in the center. Each villa is beautifully designed for the comfort of its special guests, and my permanent accommodation is always Villa #1 with my favorite sisters Atty. Manette Agbayani & Anna Sia occupying the second room.

The first stop for the group was the Baluarte Zoo, proceeding first to the Safari Gallery and then onto the animal show, which made Lulu Boon, Marissa Fenton, Olah Gray Brady, & Mercy Padolina scream upon discovering that a huge phyton was actually under the chest they were sitting on.

Lunch thereafter was at Pinakbet Farm which offers traditional Ilocano dishes, capped by the delightful performance of Ilocano songs and dances by the staff. The afternoon was spent with kalesa rides & tour, in addition to shopping around the UNESCO World Heritage-acknowledged Calle Crisologo, and a snack of Ilocos Empanada. The trip is not complete without witnessing the grand fountain show of the Vigan Plaza. Dinner was at the Bartech – whose food will titillate your precocious palates – and again we were treated to an awesome performance by a young local group of street performers.

The birthday party culminated at the Safari Hotel where the group danced to live band music in order to burn off the extra calories gained from the gastronomic pleasures that Vigan offered. Atty. Rene Puno, wife Ann, & Gela Cornilessen wowed the crowd with their musical performances while the rest of the guests danced endlessly.

The next morning was spent feeding a giraffe prior to flying back to Manila before lunch. It was a hectic – but one of our most pleasurable – trip to Vigan indeed. Thank you Manong Chavit for giving my hubby Dr. George Sarakinis a grand birthday to remember!

Gela Cornelisse, Becky Garcia, Dr. George Sarakinis

Anna Sia, Merci Padolina, Gela Cornelissen, Cora Ugalde Arments

Atty. Rene Puno, Paqui Campos, Dr. George Sarakinis

Lulu Boon, Olah Gray Brady, Kris Sanguin

Marissa & angel Fenton, Ann & Atty. Rene Puno

Lilibeth Garcia, Manette Agbayani, Anna Sia

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