Vigan is a city rich in heritage and culture. I have always been fascinated with Vigan. It is kinda awesome that such a place still exists which is reminiscent of the Spanish period. Let’s face it, the Spaniards left such a mark in the history of our country. They didn’t stay for more than 300 years for nothing. It would be a shame not to explore the city which has a “lost in time” look and feel to it. It was in 2009 when we first decided to get lost in the north.
Our first stop was Vigan.
Where to go and what to do when you’re in Vigan? Here are some of the places we’ve visited:
Calle Crisologo. This is the famous cobblestone street of Vigan. Here, you have lots of choices for pasalubong and souvenirs. You can even ride the calesa for just 50php. I recommend the Collado Arts and Souvenirs shop. They have nice shirts which are reasonably-priced. The locals fervently told us to return at night. And we did. Calle Crisologo looks and feels eerie at night. Most shops were closed; even calesas were sparse. It felt surreal walking those cobblestone streets at night.
Father Burgos Museum and the Crisologo Museum. Want to be transported back in time? Go visit these museums. We only got to visit the Crisologo Museum. Entrance fee? No entrance fee, just donations.
Pagburnayan Pottery Making. How I wished we could have recorded this in video! The Manongs were so skilled that it only takes 5 minutes to create a masterpiece. Amazing!
Baluarte Vigan. Also called the Fortress of Vigan, Baluarte is a privately owned collection of Mr. Chavit Singson. It has a mini zoo which houses animals from other countries as well as those endemic in the Philippines. There are a number of tigers in the zoo. Can I just say that I love tigers? (and this is not just because of the Thomasian in me.. haha!)
St. Paul’s Church or Vigan Cathedral. The St. Paul’s Church facade is beautiful, with the belfry sitting on its left, across the street. Since it was my first time visiting the church, I made 3 wishes. For the life of me, I can’t remember what I’ve wished for. Haha! But surely, they must have come true.
And now that you know some of the sights and attractions of Vigan, how do you get there? If you’re planning on touring Ilocos (like we did), it is more convenient to use a car/van. You may also opt to take the bus. Partas Bus Terminal is in Cubao and there is also the Viron bus terminal in Sampaloc, Manila. Travel time from Manila to Vigan is approximately 7-10 hours.
Where to stay in Vigan? A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Historic Town of Vigan has lots of accomodations. Situated within the heritage disctrict of Vigan are hotels such as the Hotel Salcedo de Vigan, My Vigan Home, Vigan Hotel, Vigan Plaza Hotel, Corillera Inn, and the Aniceto Mansion. If you’re looking for budget-friendly accomodations, you can ask the Tourist Center located near Cafe Leona for the address of some cheap hotels. The people at the Tourist Center were very nice. They even called the hotel and made reservations for us. We stayed at the Green R Hotel. Really budget-friendly and very clean. They even had tabo — very Filipino-friendly! Haha!
I have been to Vigan three times already. Still, I want to go back. Can someone tell me where you can have your photos taken wearing period clothing from the Spanish colonial time? (Inggit kay Ten >.<)