The Philippines has so much to offer when it comes to beautiful and fascinating tourist destinations to visit. Millions of tourists would relatively want to experience an undeniably WOW Philippines. The country as an archipelago comprised of three major islands – Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao have all their unique places & scenic spots to experience – culture, food, and its people.
One of the most world renowned heritage city by UNESCO is Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. This is a perfect place to visit if you want to experience and see an old-Spanish fashioned facades and structures.
If you are coming from Manila you can take the bus or plane ride going to Vigan City. However, I highly recommend going on a land trip to appreciate other beautiful spots as you go through different provinces during your entire travel. You can take Partas or Maria de Leon Transit in Sampaloc, Manila.
We chose Maria de Leon Transit as it is more accessible by night avoiding the crazy traffic of EDSA going to Pasay City. The ticket costs Php 750.oo (Manila – Vigan City). The entire travel will most likely take for about approximately 7-8 hours. From Sampaloc drop at the Vigan Grand Arch, Caltex Bantay. Then, from there you can take a tricycle ride that costs Php40.00 going to Vigan Proper.
We left Manila at 11:oopm and we arrived 5:30am the other day, so the entire travel was only 7 hours. Establishments in Vigan normally open at 8:00am, so for instance this happens to you and your check-in time is 2:00pm; the ideal thing to do is to go around and take a walk along Calle Crisologo, appreciating the bright lights and clear blue skies.
Calle Crisologo will take a walking of 10 minutes or so. This is the famous street in Vigan City; small “tindahan” and shops open at 8:00am or 10:00am. But early morning walk would make you appreciate the street of Crisologo (cold and quiet).
The photo above is an old house or sort of an abandoned apartment. This is one of the reasons why the city has been chosen as the Best Practice for the Initiative for Sustainable Conservation and Management of a World Heritage Property by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The perfectly conserved Spanish designed facade makes Vigan City known in the world.
Since Calle Crisologo took us only 10-minutes to wander, we decided to hire a tricycle to tour us around Vigan – to the places popular for tourists. The tricycle driver would normally ask you for Php150.o0 per hour. I tell you, this is practical and the best time to tour around because less people would go this time.
PLACES TO VISIT
The Bell Tower
The bell tower is a sight to behold, over a hill top next to St. Augustine Church. The structure as it is conserved was erected by Augustinian Missionaries in 1950s. It’s made of bricks, rocks, and a perfect mixture of seashells and sugar canes.
Baluarte is a zoo within the City of Vigan, according to the tricycle driver who brought us here, this is a private-owned amenity of the city that the public enjoys for free. I won’t tell who owns this as I don’t want to endorse ‘politicos’ 🙂
The Hidden Garden
The Hidden Garden is a place for people who loves plants. Also, I call this as a one-stop-shop, you can buy your favorite plant and eat afterwards in their restaurant beside the garden!
According to the lady, this used to be a small garden area around 1960s or so. Now, the owner decided to expand the place and put up a restaurant for people who would want to take a quick break from a tiresome touring around the city. One of the services that Hidden Garden offers is Landscaping.
After taking a quick stroll in the area, we had our breakfast at their restaurant. Of course we ordered the best of Ilocos!
This order is good for three (3) people. It will cost you Php600.00.
Jars made from Vigan are much sought-after by foreign and local visitors. This earthenware is called burnay. “The industry that has grown from the making of burnay dates back to pre-colonial times when immigrants from China came to settle in Vigan. They practiced the craft of making earthenware using the grade A clay that was found in plenty in the Western area of Vigan.”
Both local and foreign tourists visit the pottery to witness how the burnay jars are crafted. They also buy for decorations inside their home and gardens; some miniature jars have also become popular as souvenir items.
Where to Eat?
The most exciting thing about travel is FOOD. Vigan City has different restaurants and fast food chains that are also present in Metro Manila, but if you want to try the best and popular restaurant in Vigan, it’s Cafe Leona.
Of course you don’t want to miss the famous Calesa-ride that will ‘romantically’ tour you around the City. It costs Php150.00 per hour but you can also have it half hour for only Php75.00 if you want to experience a quick ride. Calesas are seen everywhere in Vigan, but most likely they are visible along Calle Crisologo and near the plaza.
We stayed at Grandpa’s Inn, an overnight stay costs Php1,780.00 for an airconditioned room. Free-wifi and free breakfast! 😀
Are you not convinced yet why you should visit the Heritage City? Take a look on some of my photos below.
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