Guests will fly to Laoag and stay at the beautifully restored 19th-century Filipino-Spanish village of Sitio Remedios Heritage Village located by the South China Sea in Currimao. From there, the itinerary includes taking in the sites, culture, and cuisine of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur.
Tour Flair's exotic Food Safaris always feature inspirational and traditional local regional cuisine prepared in person by celebrity chef Sau del Rosario, Tour Flair's signature chef. "He also performs cooking demonstrations of local recipes," she adds.
"For the Vigan safari, Chef Sau will cook with local Ilocano chefs and serve dinner at Sitio Remedios, where our guests will be billeted in individual cottages. It will be a fabulous six- course sit-down dinner with wine. Each course will be individually plated and beautifully presented—truly top-of-the-line, world-class cuisine."
Chef Sau says that, while actual items in the menu sometimes change depending on the freshest ingredients available during the tour, guests can look forward to dishes such as Pinakbet Pizzeta (bite-sized pizzas topped with shriveled sautéed Ilocano vegetables), Baby Arugula Salad with Bagnet (crisped pork belly) and Grilled Squid with Ar-arusip (popularly known as "sea grapes") with bagoong (fermented shrimp fry) and Ilocos vinaigrette.
Guests will be feted with Lamb Pinapaitan Broth and, for the main course, Deconstructed Prawn Okoy (fritters) with Poque poque (scrambled grilled eggplant) and Vigan Longganisa (native sausage) Rice.
"Of course, no Filipino meal is complete without desserts," Chef Sau points out. "Some featured treats include: Tsokolate Eh (hot thick chocolate) with Tupig (charbroiled glutinous rice and coconut pastries) and Mini Bibingka (rice cakes)."
Sites and tastes
Throughout the three days, guests will see the famous St. Augustine Church and Bell Tower in Paoay, Museo Ilocos Norte in Batac, and Sta. Monica Church in Sarrat. "Every day, guests will enjoy assorted native delicacies during merienda," Keating says with a smile.
A tour of the heritage city of Vigan includes visits to Syquia Museum, St. Paul's Cathedral, Plaza Salcedo, and the Palacio del Arzobispo (an 18th-century archbishop’s residence). "The day includes a pagbumayan (pot-making) demonstration, a superb lunch at an ancestral mansion, and a five-course Spanish-colonial dinner with local wine at the Arce Mansion, where guests will wear period costumes while being entertained by a guitarist and singer."
Of course, the trip will not be complete without a visit to Pagudpud beach. "We'll have lunch at a resort by Maira-ira Beach, also known as the Blue Lagoon, and we'll wrap up with a visit to Malacanang ti Amianan—the Malacañang of the north, and the windmills of Bangui," she says.
Del Rosario trained in France with Michelin star Chef Christian Plumai (L'Univers restaurant, Nice), and three-Michelin star Chef Jacques Le Divelec (Le Divelec restaurant, Paris).
He then ran the Mediterranean themed restaurant Luna in Shanghai; Swisshotel restaurants Equinox, Jaan, and New Asia Bar and Grill; as well as The Stamford, Raffles, and The Plaza in Singapore.
He returned to Manila and has since opened or served as consultant to several restaurants, including Museum Café and Chelsea Market and Café. He has worked with some of Manila's leading hotels, including Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Shangri-la Edsa, New World Hotel, and Peninsula Manila.
More, more, more
In 2013, Tour Flair will hold Food Safaris to Tagaytay, Davao, Bacolod, and Quezon (for the Pahiyas Festival), as well as Manila-based Food Safaris to Binondo (Manila's Chinatown) and to a Spanish-ancestral mansion near Malacañang. Tour Flair has regular tours to Baguio and Banaue Rice Terraces; Amanpulo; Batanes; El Nido, Palawan; Boracay; and Bataan.
Tour Flair is managed by sisters Teresa "Dinty" Barredo-Keating and Mindy Barredo Perez-Rubio (sisters of Repertory Philippines' artistic director Carmen "Baby" Barredo) with their long-time childhood friend Lory Vi Valdes.
Tour Flair's Vigan/Ilocos Food Safari is Oct. 20-22, 2012. Package is inclusive of airfare and two-night accommodation at Sitio Remedios Heritage Village. Booking deadline is Sept. 30, 2012.
Contact +632-736-3883 or +63917-530-6090 (Philippines), +1-650-366-4869 (USA) and +1-300-104-174 (Australia) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit tourflair.com.