Monday, 7 March 2011

Resort Feature: Sitio Remedios Heritage Village (Currimao, Ilocos Norte)

Balay Batac

Capilla San Miguel
Sitio Remedios Heritage Village, near Playa Tropical Resort Hotel in Currimao, is an amazing  recreation of a mid 20th century Ilocos Norte village sitting on a 1.8-hectare beachfront lot and laid out in a qudricula, a grid typical of Spanish times.   

The resort's Abrao Restaurant by the sea serves local Ilocano fare (bagnet, Vigan longanisa, etc.), fresh fruit juices, and refreshing herbal drinks and teas.It is owned by Dr. Joven R. Cuanang, a neurologist, Harvard graduate and Medical Director at St. Luke’s Medical Center.  The resort was named after his mother.  At the center of the resort is the quaint Capilla de San Miguel, a chapel named after the patron saint of Currimao. The chapel, fronting Plaza de Manzanillo, is a wide-angle vantage point from which to see the six distinct villas, 5 named after the respective towns (Batac, Dingras, Piddig,  Bacarra and San Nicolas).from which the reconstructed ancestral home originates. 


Kwarto ni Cecille

The wood and furnishings of each villa, already considered scrap by their old owners, were rescued from old Ilocos houses about to be demolished and gathered by Arch. Rex Hofilena who used the materials to form each villa.  The interior decor was provided by Dr. Cuanang's prized collection of family heirlooms, antique furniture (beds, dining tables, wooden sala sets, and the ubiquitous butaca plantation chairs with elongated arm rests, vintage lamp fixtures, etc.), locally-woven white cotton linens and paintings from his Manila galleries.  There are no television sets in the villas but they do provide airconditioning in the bedrooms and hot and cold showers.  The one-storey Balay Piddig (PhP6,000/night for 2 guests), with its calado (daintily-cut wood) entry porch, has a room affectionately called Kwarto ni Cecile, named after world-renowned pianist Cecile Licad who inaugurated the place on May 2006 and rested here during her Ilocos concert tour.  Her room is now the Honeymoon Suite. The house also has the upright piano that used to occupy the Dr. Cuanang’s ancestral house in Batac.  

The resort's swimming pool
The living room of Balay Batac (PhP12,500/night for 4 guests), the largest house in Sitio Remedios, has Dr. Cuanang's parents’ wedding picture, retouched in the inimitable larawan style  by National Artist BenCab. The portrait  "Remedios, Maestra" by Antonio Leano graces the sitting area while a large mural by the artist Manny Garibay, honoring the bravery of Gen. Artemio Ricarte (El Vibora) hangs in the dinning area. A portrait of Bishop Gregorio Aglipay graces the second floor sitting area while portraits of brothers Juan and Antonio Luna are also featured.  The one-storey Balay Bacarra (PhP6,000/night for 2 guests), made from wood salvaged from a Bacarra house, features pictures of nautilus shells and artsy nudes by famous fashion photographer Wig Tysman, an old drawing of the Bacarra Tower by Zany Laygo and "An Ilocana Balasang," another gift by the National Artist, BenCab. A bedroom, called Kuarto ni Antonia, was named in honor of its first occupant, Antonia Bersola-Babao. 
The modest Ablon (an Ilocano word for "healing through touch/massage"), adjacent to the dining area, is Sitio Remedios’ on-site health and wellness spa.  Twin enamel bathtubs here have a commanding view of the sea and the fiery Currimao sunset.  The resort also has a swimming pool and jacuzzi in front of the dining area. Historical lectures are also conducted in a hall called Centro Ilocos de Juan Luna.  
Sitio Remedios Heritage Village: Brgy. Victoria, Currimao, Ilocos Norte.  Mobile number: (0920) 925-0217.  Email: sitio_remedios@yahoo.com. Website: www.sitioremedios.com.

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