The historical portal fantasy series, Maria Clara at Ibarra based on Jose Rizal's novels "Noli Me Tangere" and "El Filibusterismo" is the latest local series to capture the attention of viewers.
Fans of the show or those who have always dreamed of traveling back in time and want to experience their own isekai moment in real life can do so by visiting various filming locations around Bulacan, Pampanga and Ilocos Sur.
In fact, Villa Angela Heritage House, a bed-and-breakfast inn in Vigan featured in the series is open to guests for overnight stays, with some rooms starting less than P2,500 a night.
“Villa Angela is honored that some of the scenes of GMA7’s newest teleserye, Maria Clara at Ibarra, are being shot there," Emmeline Verzosa, the fifth generation property manager told PhilSTAR L!fe.
"The original entrance to the house when my Lola was still alive was used as the entrance to Ibarra's house. The scene where Klay is sleeping in the sala was also taken there,” she said of the property located two blocks away from the UNESCO-inscribed Calle Crisologo.
Aside from the property serving as Ibarra’s big house in San Diego, Laguna as seen in episode 10 last Oct. 14, Verzosa shared that the comedor, sala, and master's bedroom can be spotted in various scenes.
History of Villa Angela
The house was originally built in 1873 by spouses Maria Villanueva and Agapito Bonifacio Florendo, who in 1859 was a former Gobernadorcillo of Vigan. It was then bequeathed to their eldest daughter, Joaquina Villanueva Florendo, who in turn passed it on to her niece, Angela Florendo Villanueva after whom it was named.
Angela married Pastor Verzosa who lived on the lot behind the house, which now serves as the main entrance to Villa Angela. Their son, Candelario Villanueva Verzosa and his wife, Purificacion Jaramillo Lahoz, undertook its restoration in 1986 “to preserve it and to be used as a repository of the family relics and memorabilia.” It was inaugurated on December 24, 1988, during their Golden Wedding Anniversary.
The house eventually became part of the movement to save Vigan ancestral homes in the early nineties and was among the showcases for making Vigan a UNESCO world heritage site declared in 1999. It was one of the first among 187 registered ancestral houses in the Historic City of Vigan that was restored.
Favorite filming location
Aside from Maria Clara at Ibarra, fans of classic films may find different areas of the Villa Angela familiar, as the house has been a favorite venue for location taping of historical movies and television series for decades.
The grand sala was used in the filming of some scenes in Marilou Diaz-Abaya’s Jose Rizal in 1998 (starring Cesar Montano), Maruja in 1996 (starring Carmina Villaroel, Rustom Padilla now BB Gandanghari) and even a couple of episodes of Ang Probinsiyano starring Coco Martin.
Hollywood star Tom Cruise also stayed in the Vigan property when filming Oliver Stone's 80s war movie where the Philippines stood in for scenes set in Vietnam and Mexico.
“When Tom Cruise was shooting Born on the Fourth of July in Ilocos in 1988, he wanted to experience staying in a typical Vigan home and was hosted for an overnight stay at the Master’s bedroom,” shared Verzosa. A picture of Cruise with the owner hangs in one of the main rooms in the house.
You don’t have to be an action star or a celebrity to stay the night here. If you want to experience the charm of old world Vigan or are looking for an elegant venue to host Filipiniana weddings and birthday parties, Villa Angela’s bed-and-breakfast inn is open to guests.
Versoza points out that unlike other heritage houses in Vigan with big rooms that have been converted into smaller hotel rooms for better marketability, their original four bedrooms on the second floor, as well as most of the house, have been preserved.
Descendants of the original owners took pains to maintain the ambience of the old Spanish period in all rooms and keep the antiques and memorabilia when they restored the property.
Villa Angela’s living room area has huge windows made of capiz or windowglass shells while visitors can can rest in traditional wooden chairs called butakas.
The grand sala and the comedor with two long dining tables which can seat 10 and 12 persons have also been retained.
A long driveway with ample parking space makes the house an ideal venue for hosting events and gatherings.
While most of the house has remained intact, unfortunately part of the original clay tiled roof on the old kitchen collapsed leaving a hole on the roof during the July 27 earthquake, but restoration will be starting soon.
There are four main private rooms guests can choose from at the property.
“All bedrooms have four-poster beds and en suite toilet and bath with heated showers that have been added for convenience. In the olden days, there was only one toilet near the kitchen for the use of all inhabitants. Though all rooms are air-conditioned, guests have an option to experience sleeping inside a mosquito net,” said Verzosa.
Guests who want a lot of space can opt to stay in Cuarto de Angela, the Master’s bedroom with a King-size bed. Across it is Cuarto de las Hijas with three beds good for three persons.
Cuarto de los Hijos, which has a king-size bed and a double bed also good for three persons, has access to the azotea or balcony. The smallest room is Cuarto Pequeño with a queen-size bed good for 2 persons.
Meanwhile, two of the rooms in the property have been converted into Domitorios that can hold 10 persons in 5 double-deck beds. Each dorm has two en suite heated showers and toilets. It also has a long comedor for dining or meetings.
While guests get a taste of traveling back in time during their stays, there are modern amenities in the property available including television with cable and Wifi in all rooms.
Room rates vary depending on the size. The smallest room starts at P2,300 for two persons and the family rooms are P5,000.00 for three persons. Rates already include breakfast of Vigan longganisa, daing na bangus, or tocino with rice, egg, fruit and coffee/tea.
Aside from the heritage house's rich history as a B & B and filming location, Verzosa shared that it also served as a volunteer center for the Leni-Kiko campaign.
“How appropriate that it has a record of upholding democracy and nationalism,” Verzosa noted.
Villa Angela Heritage House is located along 26 Calle Quirino, Barangay VI, City of Vigan, Ilocos Sur 2700. For inquiries and reservations, contact [email protected] or book directly through their Facebook page: Villa Angela.