Images flashed by: tethered goats, chickens scratching in the gravel, bamboo poles stacked like teepee's, A-frame
chicken huts arranged in rows - open ended and knee high, glimpses of the South China Sea through a blur of palm
trees, yellow rice drying on tar-like mats, a girl staring at a dead chicken on the road.
Well into Ilocos Sur Province the old buildings took on a Spanish character, or was that just my imagination?
At Santa, the last major town before Vigan, the road climbed into a range of hills then down and around a bend to a
long steel bridge over the Tineg river, wide and shallow with more gravel than water. Below men tended fish traps,
kids swam, and a solitary buffalo squatted.
Vigan is about a mile off the highway. We left the bus at the terminal and asked a tricycle driver how much to
Aniceto Mansion. Five pesos (about 20 cents US). The Aniceto was once a private Spanish home - wooden construction
with windows of capice patchworked into wooden frames. It was dark and cool inside. Autographed photos of President
Ramos decorated the far wall. Reception was a single table at the far end of the foyer near a wide wooden staircase
leading to the guestrooms.
We asked the receptionist about Captain Donato. She had never heard of him.