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Monday, March 25, 2013

A Short & Interesting Visit to Sarrat, Ilocos Norte

Sta. Monica Church

I supposed to have my trip north of Laoag City and visit the famous Bangui Windmills and Pagudpud until one staff member of the hotel suggested to have a side trip to Sarrat. I didn't know that former President Ferdinand Marcos' birthplace on this small town east of Laoag City. I asked if it will be a long travel and he said that travel time will take 20 minutes from the city. I hailed a tricycle and asked the driver to drop me off to the terminal to Sarrat. I rode a jeepney and after 20 minutes, I arrived to this quiet town.

Source: Wikipedia

Located to the east of Laoag City, Sarrat is a landlocked town situated along Padsan River. It was renamed San Miguel during Spanish colonization and changed it to Sarrat in 1916. A 4th class municipality and one of the quiet and peaceful towns in Ilocos Norte.

Welcome Arch of Sarrat

I dropped off to the Public Market and walked along the town proper and I find its peacefulness of the area. It was different atmosphere from Laoag and I immediately took some pictures until I reached Sarrat Church.

old structure

this way to Sarrat Church

Rit-ritemon Kayong Uprising Monument

Old Sarrat Town Hall

me and the town hall

approaching Sta. Monica Church

Sarrat Church

up close

Sta. Monica Church or simply Sarrat Church, it as built around 17th century. It was constructed in Baroque and Neoclassical styles. I love the design of the church especially the bricks for it shows how old the structure. It was also the last church built by Spaniards in Ilocos Norte. On the right side was the bell tower. It was huge and I automatically saw it. Like other churches in the country, the bell tower was built few meters from the church.

that mighty bell tower

great structure

another one

with me

The church was said to be the longest center aisles in Ilocos Norte and one of the longest in the country. at 137 meters long, it should be the one. No wonder that this place was chosen to be the wedding of Irene Marcos (daughter of the late President Ferdinand Marcos and First Lady Imelda Marcos) and Gregorio "Greggy" Araneta. It was one of the lavish wedding event in the year 1983 with thousands of guests and it was like a feast during the event.

church interiors


celebrating mass

sit down and pray

center aisle was wide and long

nice design of the church interiors


me seated

I was just amazed on the design and those baked bricks and formed into a church. I felt peacefulness and solemnity inside. After I prayed and took some photos inside, I went outside and saw a convent which it called Casa del Palacio Real. This place was frequently built before due to fire. It was completely restored on June 1896. The convent was made of baked bricks. I was interested in the arch bridge that connected the church and convent. I love the design of it. 

A bridge called Paradizo

Casa Paroquial de Sarrat

Arch Bridge

my pic

solo shot

way to the convent

church buttresses

the church convent

going to the back of the church

This town offered lot of interesting places and it was a worth visit. It was a short and meaningful way of discovering the other town of Ilocos Norte. I also visited the new Sarrat Municipal Hall (former Irene Marcos guest house) and also the famous Ferdinand Marcos Museum on where the late president was born in this town. 

Padsan River up there

New Sarrat Municipal Building

Ferdinand Marcos Museum

How to get there?

via car / van - from Laoag City, drive along Rizal Street / Laoag-Sarrat-Piddig-Solsona Road.  Travel time takes only 15 minutes. Tourist spots are along the national road and you will never get lost. First destination will be Marcos Museum and followed by the New Sarrat Municipal Building.

via commute - Jeepneys and Tricycles are means of transportation in Sarrat. From Laoag City, just ride a jeepney to the terminal along Rizal Street. Travel time will be 20 minutes. However, waiting will take much longer due to filling up of passengers. Fare costs PHP13. Travel will end at Sarrat Public Market but you drop off to Marcos Museum since it's just along the National Road. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

My Ilocano Fusion Dinner at Saramsam Ylocano Restaurant, Laoag City

Traditional meets Fusion Ilocano Meal!

When it comes to food trip, I am very excited. In Laoag City, many restaurants served from any variations:  traditional Ilocano dishes, local and international cuisines and many more. One restaurant serves Ilocano food but more of a twist. It was a Traditional meets Fusion. This place was famous in Laoag and I was curious to try it. I hailed a tricycle and asked the driver to brought me to Saramsam Restaurant and after five minutes, I arrived to this place.

Welcome to Saramsam!

It was featured in different magazines and television shows. No wonder that I arrived here and entered to the restaurant, I was amazed because of the traditional interior designs. It was more on romantic touch, dinner for two set-up. The place was very cozy and the staff were courteous too. Good thing that few people dined the moment I arrived so I easily looked for a place and waiter handed over the menu book.

homey feel

me inside the restaurant

Ilocano pasalubong items

waiting for my meal


their Traditional Ilocano food

Desserts and Drinks

Their Fusion Ilocano dishes


Pasta with a Twist

I ordered Poque-Poque Pizza, the name sounded intriguing especially to Tagalog speaking people like me. You may ask your friends about that "double" meaning of what I talked about. Going back to the meal, poque-poque is a dish made from eggplant sauteed with tomatoes, egg and onion. The dish will be compliment with rice but with fusion, the restaurant made it into pizza. My drink was Baraniw iced tea. It was an iced tea with Wild Basil. It was a great meal. Poque-Poque Pizza tasted so good and I was amazed on the fusion because it worked on the pizza. For the iced tea, it was beyond expectation. It was not a concentrated iced tea mixture but a real tea with basil. It was nice compliment on my food trip meal.

Fusion dishes

One slice of Poque-Poque Pizza

great dinner meal

I tried also Malunggay sherbet and it tasted so good. Not too sweet and I didn't taste bitterness as I expected. It was a great dessert with fusion. :)

Malunggay Sherbet

taste so good

It was a great dining experience with Saramsam. Ilocano dishes served with a twist were delightful and at the same time delicious. Good job for letting traditional and fusion Ilocano meal and dishes experienced for both locals and tourists like me. :)

Have some Take-out. :)

More information:

Saramsam Ylocano Restaurant and Bar
Address: N. Corpuz Building, Rizal Street corner Hizon St., Barangay 7-A, Laoag City

Phone: (077) 771 5825 or 0917 570 2110

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