Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ilocos Norte: The black sand beaches of Currimao and old-world charm of Sitio Remedios

Sitio Remedios Sunset Door & Oar
Sitio Remedios Door Details - Image by Oggie Ramos for InFlight
The sun hung low on the horizon as we entered a pathway lined with trickling, whispering fountains and profuse with lush greens. At the end of the pathway lies a gurgling big fountain and a small chapel that wears the hue of the imminent sunset. Extending towards the black sand beach, we saw rows of old-style Spanish houses. The location is Currimao, a seaside town over 460 kilometers northwest of Manila. The place is Sitio Remedios, a heritage village where the past lives on in the present.

Sitio Remedios Chapel Beautiful Light - Image by Oggie Ramos for InFlight
Much has been said and written about Sitio Remedios -- of how charming, lovely, and romantic, even, this village of faithfully-reconstructed Spanish era houses is. And much of that is true and well-deserved. Sitting on one of the benches near the infinity pool and sippling tanglad (lemongrass) tea while waiting for the sun to set, it felt like time slowed down to a halt. Going into the Balay Radrillo and seeing the old world furnishings, from the hardwood floors to the old tumba-tumba (rocking chair) by the capiz window, and the four poster bed and chandeliers, it's easy to imagine Spanish-era ships sailing out to sea with their stash of tobacco.
Balay Radrillo Second Floor - Image by Oggie Ramos for InFlight
After dusk has set in, we had the privilege of dining with the owner, Dr. Joven Cuanang, a neurologist and native of Batac who in 2005, had the mind to rescue old Spanish-era houses from demolition and relocate them here. While he regaled us with his stories, we had a hearty dinner of fried talakitok, pinakbet (Ilocano dish of vegetables simmered in shrimp paste), and arguably, the best bagnet (deep-fried and refried pork) I've ever tasted. The bagnet deserve special mention here -- as it was was refried to a crisp and served with manggang hilaw and bagoong (unripe mango and shrimp paste).
Sitio Remedios Outdoor Night Setting
Sitio Remedios at dusk - Image by Oggie Ramos for InFlight
After dinner, we took a casual stroll to look-see nearby Playa Tropical. The sand felt fine and cool to the feet while the beach was clean save for the occasional goat dropping. If you don't have the usual misgivings about black sand and a little adamant about making the extra two hour trip to Pagudpud, Currimao is a good place to cool off your heels, enjoy the sunset, and if you're staying in Sitio Remedios, live in the past.  (For more info on Sitio Remedios, visit


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