Historic City of Vigan

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This place will really bring you back to that very very classic Philippine way of living. Ang layo (it’s far from Manila) but worth it. Longest drive I did and it was really a pain in the A**. But once you reach Vigan, that pain will magically *poof*. 🙂

Did you know that Vigan City is one of New7Wonders Cities officially announced last May 2015? 🙂 You can read more about it on this link.

GETTING THERE:
Bus lines going directly to Vigan from Manila are found in Cubao, Pasay City. Aircon buses are available everyday and travel time is about 8 to 10 hours. Ticket fare is around 6++ php. Here is a very helpful site that you can check where you can book your bus seats, PinoyTravel.

For our trip, we drove all the way to Vigan which should be around 7-8 hours. In our case, we drove for 10 hours!!! Thanks to our sleepyhead navigator friend who’s take note using GPS, had us having lunch at Baguio City. For short, we took a wrong turn. Good job Kiko! hahaha! Plus, we got caught in Baguio as coding scheme was in place. It was a crazy tiring trip but it was full of fun.

HOTEL:
We stayed at Cordillera Inn. We did not book in advance (first time we did this). We went to Vigan then just simply look around for available hotel/motel/inn…. whatever…. as long as we have a place to sleep and breakfast the next day. 😉  You can check reviews about this inn at TripAdvisor. We got a family room for around 3600 php, we were 4 by the way. That includes set breakfast. Best thing about this inn is that it’s situated in the heart of Calle Crisologo.

PLACES TO VISIT:
Well first, have a stroll along Calle Crisologo (best at dawn). This is the main street and the heart of Vigan. You will find here lots of souvenirs like keychains, shirts, furnitures, ashtrays, dreamcatchers… Tasty snacks/food like Vigan longganisa, bagnet (deep fried pork), chichacorn,  and the ever famous Vigan empanada and “okoy” (deep fried shrimp). You can get the best empanada and okoy at Irene’s Vigan Empanada. You will see here vintage houses, though some had been reconditioned since it’s already breaking down. Still, you will feel that blast from the past thing from the 16th century. Here you will see a lot of “kalesa/calesa“, this is one mode of transportation during the 18th century. It’s a carriage pulled by a horse. These calesas are driven by a “Kutsero” who will offer you tour around Vigan (300php/hour), which will lead to our next place.

The Bantay Belfry, 10 mins away from Calle Crisologo. The belfry sits on a hilltop and was used as people’s watchtower for incoming enemies during World Wars I and II. Tourist can climb up to the top overlooking the province of Abra. You can also play the role of hunchback of Bantay. 😀 Side by side is St.Augustine Parish Church, also known as Bantay Church. You can stop here for awhile and thank our Maker for a safe trip.

Next is Padre Burgos House, a National Museum. Built in 1788, the Padre José Burgos National Museum is in the ancestral home of Father José Burgos, one of the three martyr priests executed by the Spanish in 1872. It houses an extensive collection of Ilocano artifacts, including a series of 14 paintings by the locally famed painter Don Esteban Villanueva depicting the 1807 Basi Revolt. Weavings, Tingguian (Itneg) jewellery, musical instruments, pottery, photos of Easter processions and elaborate furniture are also on display. Source: LonelyPlanet.

One of Vigan’s tourist attraction is the Pagburnayan Jar Making. The word “burnay” is an ilocano term for jar or pot. Why has this become a tourist attraction? Well you get to see in front of you how skillful potters make a jar/pot. What’s really cool is that they will let you try it and form your own pot masterpiece for “Free” (let’s see how that goes for you, hahaha!). They produce different items like flower vase, burner, oil burner, small jars for salt/sugar/pepper/magic sarap storage, palayok, and ashtrays.

You can end your night at Plaza Salcedo and watch the dancing fountain. Show is roughly 30-40 mins. There were colorful laser and lights everywhere that goes with the local music playing at the background. If you feel hot and want to cool down, feel free to play and get yourself wet from one end of the square were water sprinkles and jetting away.

TIPS:
– Be mindful with the time when you go out for a tour with your calesa ride. Take note that they charge your per hour.
– If you have a car, best to go to their local market for Vigan longganisa and bagnet. It’s cheaper and of course you can still ask for “tawad” (discount) if you will get more than a kilo.
– If you will bring empanada/okoy for pasalubong to your friends, Irene’s Vigan Empanada can box it for you (box of 8 or 12).

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