Bagnet was enough reason for me to take this trip, but the 4-day jaunt to Ilocos was far more exquisite than I expected. Missing the flight to Manila didn’t even stop us from forwarding to our planned short junket. 5 hours delayed from our plotted itinerary, we fine-tuned our tour schedule and ended up taking the Partas 9PM night bus to Vigan, which isn’t bad at all.
At around 4:30AM, after a 7.5 hour bus ride , we finally arrived at Partas Bus Station in Vigan. We hailed a tricycle just outside the terminal and haggled a deal with the driver on the tricycle’s ‘per-hour-rate.’ From 150Php, got a deal of 130php per hour. First on our itinerary is an attraction situated at a nearby municipality northeast of Vigan, The Bantay Bell Tower, where we witnessed a stunning sunrise. The Bantay Belfry was built in 1591 and was considered to be the people’s watchtower, part of the city’s defense that hands in forewarning against possible attackers. Just a few minute walk from the belfry is St. Augustine Church which was built in 1590.
Buluarte Vigan/Fortress of Vigan/ Baluarte ni Chavit, is a complex that lies in hectares of land which has mini zoo that houses Bengal tigers, peacocks, civet cats, iguanas, a variety of reptiles and species of birds. Also get to spot adorable fawns and deers moseying around the complex. 🙂
Vigan Hidden Garden was our next stop where we got to see varieties of different plants, bonsais and potteries. Also get to try some local specialties at their restaurant, Lilong and Lilangs.
Two century old houses were our next stops. First the Crisologo Museum then the Syquia Mansion right after.
Crisolgo Museum. Floro S. Crisologo was the grandfather of the clan and a congressman known for being responsible for landmark legislations that not only benefited his constituents but the whole country as well. But his very notable work was for the establishment of the Social Security System, which serves the whole country to this day. Before he was killed in October 1970, the congressman was in the process of having a bill approved to abolish the death penalty because he believed that death was not the solution to stopping crime. The museum houses the family’s memorabilia and prized possessions. Even the old car where Floro Crisologo’s wife survived an attempt on her wife is on display.
The Syquia Mansion houses the Philippine’s 6th President Elpidio Quirino’s extensive memorabilia is actually owned by his wife, Dona Alicia Quirino. The mansion has huge oil portraits of the family, with three identified as works by national artist Fernando Amorsolo. You can also spot a replica of Juan Luna’s Spolarium upon entering the 2nd floor.
The tour lasted for about 3.5 hours and had instructed the tricycle driver that we will be alighting at Calle Crisologo. Since it was still 9:30AM and the stores at Calle Crisologo were still closed, we opted to walk around Calle Crisologo, Plaza Burgos, Plaza Salcedo and Saint Paul Cathedral.
One must not miss taking a walk at Calle Crisologo. 4 blocks of cobblestone streets with rows of heritage houses, Calle Crisologo is probably Vigan’s most famous backdrop. And yeah, those huge wooden doors give amazing tones to self portraits. 😉 And to add more to the Philippine Hispanic ambiance, ride a calesa!
St. Pauls Cathedral, also known as the Metropolitan Cathedral, was built in 1574 while the church as it stands now was completed in 1800. Two plazas surround the church, Plaza Salcedo just across the church’s entrance and Plaza Burgos just right beside St. Paul Cathedral’s Bell Tower.
Vigan Empanada is a popular street food in Ilocos Sur. It is made of fried rice flour with vegetable and meat filling. Best enjoyed when dipped in vinegar. Yum! We had our serving at Vigan’s Empanadahan, just beside Plaza Burgos for 30php a piece.
Sinanglaw / Sinanglao is doubtlessly my favorite among the food I’ve sampled in Vigan. Sinanglao is beef with innards and skin in beef broth. To make it more flavorful, kamias is added. Get your fill at Vigan’s Empanadahan just beside Plaza Burgos at 60php a serving.
Cafe Liona’s Vigan Longganisa and Bagnet.
Bill: 425php for a serving of bagnet+longganisa+ 2rice
Crispy pork belly fried to golden perfection! Yum!
The longganisa is garlicky, black pepper spicy and a bit tangy. Perfect with fried rice! Nomnom!
Cafe Uno. A slice of cake and some cold refreshments at Cafe Uno before heading to Partas Bus Station to hop on a bus to Laoag Ilocos Norte! Also needed to recharge our phones batteries and gladly they had plenty of wall outlets available. 🙂
It was a short yet edifying experience but had to go to Vigan Partas bus station for yet another adventure – off we went to Ilocos Norte!
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