Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The Ilocos Adventure: Vigan

We spent the first leg of our honeymoon in Vigan. We took the 10:00pm Partas trip from Cubao terminal which was P665 per head. We were aiming for the Florida's deluxe bus but when we hit their terminal, tickets were already sold out. We arrived at Vigan at a little shy of 6am the next day. I personally chose Cordillera Inn because of its ideal location which is just along the popular Calle Crisologo at the heart of the Heritage Village.

Being that Vigan is known for its preserved feel of the Spanish era, it was a plus that Cordillera Inn could almost be considered a museum on its own right with all their antic vase, sculptures, and furniture they have. Like staying in a heritage house!

yummy brekkie for the roaring tummy upon arrival: Vigan longganiza and fried hito with matching vinegar ilocana
Cosina Ilocana where we had our not-so-Ilocano breakfast before check-out the next day

The afternoon of the arrival day was well spent having been able to tour almost all the tourist spots in the city. We started at Burgos Museum where we were guided by a college student who happened to be rendering her OJT there. The museum used to be Padre Burgos of Gomburza's house. Below is a photo blog on things to see inside.

Young Ferdinand Marcos (leftmost) & family

kids played with the old school phone :)
Next stop: Bantay Church and Bell Tower (although we didn't really spend time and take photos of the church). Before entrance to the tower ground, there's an area where you'll be asked to register your name and city. And oh, they ask you to give donation. Yes, a man behind the donation box taps it to literally remind you in case you forget. Lol

The view was breathtaking that my acrophobic husband almost fainted upon reaching the topmost level.

In exploring the city, there are 2 types of transportation to choose from -- via tricycle or calesa. Before starting with the tour, I made sure to visit the Tourism Information Center (along Calle Crisologo, beside Cafe Leona) to get full knowledge on places and transportation. I thought previous research might not suffice  because not everything you see online is accurate so it's always better to take it from the locals. True enough, I was told that tricycles are supposed to charge only Php10 per head for destinations within the city. I have read from blogs of tricycles charging at least Php80 from one point to another although they usually charge double during the wee hours and 9pm is already considered late. A calesa tour, on the other hand, costs Php150 per hour.

Being the urban boy and girl that we are, riding a tricycle was no novel experience so we chose to take the calesa. It at least gave us a relaxing transition from one spot to another. According to our kutchero Kuya Zaldy, there's a certain law in Vigan prohibiting calesa drivers from overpricing to protect the tourists. I hope they have the same for the tricycles.

Our next stop was the Hidden Garden. This one is within the outskirts of town but we did not get bored with the travel because Kuya Zaldy had so many stories to share.
There's a restaurant inside the garden and I have heard of so many good reviews on their food and fresh fruit shakes. Too bad we're too bloated from the empanada, okoy, and fruit shake we had along Plaza Salcedo to take in some more.

On the way to the Hidden Garden, we passed by the Pagburnayan Pottery -- a place where you can have a first hand experience in pottery making. However, since hubby does not fancy those things, we decided to skip it. Boo! Haha

Our next stop was in Baluarte ni Chavit. I must say, I was impressed by how everything was tourist-friendly. I don't mind paying entrance fees knowing that those are for the maintenance; but bold reminders, like the one below, are fantastic!

Our last stop was in Syquia Mansion (old house of President Quirino) which wasn't as well-preserved as the Burgos Museum. To our disappointment, we found a TV set and a modern kitchen inside. Maybe it's because it has also become the home for the caretakers. Entrance fee was Php30 per head for adults, if memory serves me well.

We were able to finish the entire tour after 3 hours but instead of paying only Php450, we paid Kuya Zaldy Php500 for the stories he shared. If in the future you would need his service, you can reach him at 0918.460.6599.

They say the tour of Vigan is incomplete without dining in Cafe Leona, still along Calle Crisologo, so we decided to have dinner there. Hubby ordered Pinakbet while I got myself the Cafe Leona Angel's Hair pasta. We also tried their pork barbecue.

Kuya Zaldy

Views of the cafe (daylight and evening)
Calle Crisologo at night.

After Vigan, off we went to Laoag.

The Ilocos Adventure: Laoag

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  1. Wow! Pakbet, bagnet and pinakurat! :)

  2. Until now I still feel bad about the Vigan-Laoag flight which my family missed sometime last year. Naiwan kami ng airplane. Huhuhu.

    I miss Vigan. It's been over 10 years since I last visited the place. Arghh!

  3. Wow.Nice,I hope I can visit vigan too.
    belated Congrats^^ as well

  4. awww..I miss the way, I'm from Ilocos sur..we're 5 towns away from Vigan..nadaanan niyo for sure yung Candon..I'm from there..:)


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