Friday, April 20, 2012

Vigan: The Allure of the Past

If the words like old baroque churches and heritage houses make your heart beat fast with excitement, then you must visit Vigan of Ilocos Sur.

I have always been fascinated by these old structures that goes way back to Spanish Era.  Owned by the same family and handed over from one generation to another.  Painstakingly preserved for the next generation and for the viewing public.

Going there was a gruelling 9 hours bus ride.  We took the Partas bus in Aurora Blvd. in Pasay City..  We decided to visit Vigan on a Monday to avoid tourist crowds, so we went to the bus terminal Sunday evening as the bus schedule for Vigan leaves 9:00 pm.  We went to the bus terminal a bit earlier since they don't do reservations.  The fare costs Php 661.00 per person.

We arrived at Vigan around 5:30 a.m.  When the bus entered the town it was like a ghost town.  Good thing when we got to the terminal, there was a little buzz because of the tricycle drivers waiting to pick up some passengers.  We took a short trike ride going to Grandpa's Inn.  It's right in the heart of the old Vigan town.  And yes, you guess it right, it is also an old building.  The trike ride costs Php 50.00.  Since our reservation was for 9:00 am. we have to pay an additional Php 150.00 per hour for early check in.  All in all, we have to pay Php 2230.00 for an overnight stay with breakfast.  So we creeped into our room since the building is mostly wood and it creaks big time.  Our room was modest with an ensuite bathroom.  They have totally upped the historical feel in this place and its definitely giving me the heebie-jeebies.  The tv was hiked up so you have to lie down to enjoy the tube.  Good thing the room is with wifi.

We woke up around 10:00 am, showered and went down to take our breakfast.  Husbandry had tapsilog while I had chicken longganisa.  It was a good breakfast, the place is quaint in daylight.  We had our tour arranged by the hotel.  They have hired a kalesa for us to take around the city/town.  Kalesa, for those who are not in the know, is a horse-drawn carriage.  So really, we did the most tourist-y thing to do.  We roam the city riding the Kalesa.

Here's all of our pit stops:
      St. Augustine Church and the Bantay Belfry Tower

Syquia Mansion

 Crisologo Museum

Pagburnayan Pottery


Calle Crisologo

Vigan Church

We had to cut the tour short because it was getting hot.  We went back to the hotel and found out that Cafe Uno is part of the hotel we are staying at.  We ordered Bagnet, Miki and Garlic Fried Rice.  Total wallet damage was Php 800.00.

Before the sun truly set, we decided to explore the city and found out that the city center is small and a walking distance to everything.  We went to Plaza Salcedo to buy the infamous empanada.  I must say it was absolutely yummy.  One piece costs Php  35.00.  The colonial feel of the town center reminds you of the streets of Itay (not that I have been there, but I so want to).  Small motorcycles are their means of transportation.

The next day, we already packed our stuff and headed to the bus station going to Laoag.  Before we went back to Manila, we stopped at Vigan again to buy pasalubong like Marsha's Royal Bibngka and tupig.

It was fun roaming the city.  What I love most about Vigan is their food.  Something to lure me back into this place.

more pictures...

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