This is my final entry on Sitio Remedios Heritage Village. Save the best for last as they say. It took me four entries just to cover this destination alone. Just that there's so much to say and share. I can't miss anything. More entries to come to cover all destinations I visited during my one week sojourn in Ilocandia.
Sitio Remedios is located in small town Currimao, province of Ilocos Norte in the Philippines. By air it is accessible from Laoag International Airport via Laoag-Paoay-Currimao Road or via the national highway through San Nicolas and Batac. By land it is about 8-9 hours away from Manila and 3-4 hours drive from Baguio passing Vigan City.
Most of the people living in Currimao depend on fishing and farming as their main livelihood. There are no major banks, shopping malls and fastfood outlets. This provincial scenery is the setting of Dr. Joven Cuanang's dream to build a heritage village by the West Philippine Sea.
After experiencing warm welcome by its very accommodating Manager Josue Raymund 'Reyboy' Barona and having fine Ilocano gastronomic experience at Balay Piddig and Balay Batac, I finally had a chance to tour the village, visiting each home.
From the moment I set foot in Sitio Remedios, I was transported to a genteel era reminiscent of 1950's. The decade my parents were born. The baby boomer as they say. And what made it more interesting was the experience to appreciate Ilocano culinary heritage.
During summer months and holidays most people I know go home to their respective provinces for vacation. I, on the other hand have no other home province to call instead of Antipolo in Rizal. Both my parents were born and raised in this town along with other relatives who all have settled in Antipolo.
Long drives to a so called 'provincial home' is non-existent. That's probably the reason why I get so excited whenever there's an out of town trip to a new destination. The long drives, plane rides and banca rides give me reasons to explore beyond my comfort zones.
When I heard about the construction of Sitio Remedios Heritage Village in Currimao, Ilocos Norte about six years ago. I promised myself to visit whenever I am in Ilocandia. I thought this would be my chance to experience a 'provincial home' far from Antipolo. A home reminiscent of a gone era. A home of vintage furnishings infused with modern convenience.
Sitio Remedios Heritage Village is a sister destination of Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo. Both properties are owned by Dr. Joven R. Cuanang, one of the foremost neurosurgeons in the country and medical director of one of the best hospitals in the country, St. Luke's Medical Center. He is also an art patron and leader of foundations that support culture and arts. It was built to recreate and showcase Ilocano architecture reminiscent of his mid-20th-century childhood and as a fitting tribute to his mother, Remedios.
Six years after Sitio Remedios was constructed, I finally had a rare chance to visit and stay for one night during my one week sojourn in Ilocandia. On October 25, 2012, I took a one and a half hour bus ride from Vigan to Currimao. The bus dropped me off at the junction of Currimao where I took a five minute tricycle ride to Sitio Remedios. It was already five thirty in the afternoon and drizzling when I arrived.
I was welcomed by Resort Manager Josue Raymund "Rayboy" Barona at the gate and ushered me to my assigned guest house. Along the way we walked at Avenida de Azucao which is a replica of an ancient bridge made from antique bricks. Immediately, I felt like I was transported to a genteel era. I was impressed by the grand entrance flanked by reflecting pools planted to azucao lotus plants. On both sides of avenida are the fourteen Stations of the Cross placed on cement plinths in the shape of lotus flowers. It took me awhile to cross this path as I was just stunned by its beauty.
I am the modern day Antonio Pigafetta - chronicler of my journeys, expeditions, life experiences and what not. Just a tiny being barely making a dent in the universe.