Mar 27, 2015

My Dream Vigan Trip! (Ilocos Part 1)

I finally scratched Vigan off my dream destinations!!! Woohoo! But that does not mean I'm not going back there again!

So, we had a long vacation last February and I was so lucky to be included in this Ilocos trip mostly organized by my good friend Christine. With weeks of searching for affordable places to stay and cool tourist spots, we were able to pull it off. There were five of us in that trip: Me, my friend Christine, her friend Ted, Christine's roommate Annie and Anni'es boyfriend, Ar-Jay. Though it was my first time to see the gang, I think we hit it off pretty well. Although the formal introduction was made when we finally set foot in Vigan! Haha!


Around 9 PM on February 18th, we gathered at Partas bus terminal in Cubao. We were on for about a 9-hour trip to our first stop - 7 eleven! Haha! we arrived at Vigan around 6 AM the next day. We were a bit hungry (and definitely tired from the trip) but most of the stores are still closed. We spotted a 7 eleven somewhere near the bus terminal and immediately went in for some coffee and light snacks. Then, with the help of the kind tricycle drivers around the place, we headed to our first stop, the famous Bell Tower. This has been around since the 1500s~ definitely epic!

Our next stop was Pagburnayan - the famous pottery place.

The potters make jars out of clay using a foot-powered wheels. When some asshole tourist asked the cocky potter why can't they just use an electronic gadget or machine to make the wheels move, the potter simply replied "We can do that if you will pay for the electric bill. Also, he would lose his job (pointing to the man who was steering the wheel) if we use a machine. Can you give him another job in case we use a machine in making jars?" I dunno why, but the conversation was entertaining for me.

I was amazed when the potters started molding. It takes years of experience to do that kind of awesome shit. I saw with my own eyes how the mass of mud was shaped into a flawless jar. PRICELESS!

After the jar-making demonstration and exchange of amusing retorts, we headed to the Hidden Garden. We were given free samples of hot ginger tea as a welcome gift.

We walked around and took some pictures before heading to our hotel. We were kinda beat from the long trip!

After taking a cold shower, late lunch and a good ounce of my much needed horizontal life pauses (I mean nap), we set off to get a taste of some European inspired houses.

We dropped by the Crisologo house-turned-museum first. Marcelino Crisologo (aka Mena Crisologo), the owner of the house was a native of Vigan. He was a politician, poet, writer and playwright; he popularize Ilocano art and literature. He also became the first governor of this province. The popular Calle Crisologo, that measures to about half-kilometer located at the heart of Vigan city was named after this highly respected person.

I've always wanted to have a photograph just like this~

After about 20 minutes of roaming around Mr. Crisologo's house, our feet dragged us to cobblestone pavement. And just like that I was already living my dream. I have no idea how long I have been wanting to visit Vigan. All I know is that I HAVE to be there and see this cobblestone pavement and the awesome architectures.

As we walk around, I can't help being happy for those lucky people living around the area who can always experience the old simple lifestyle that freaks like me have always been dreaming about.


It was December 1999 when Vigan was first enlisted as a World Heritage site by UNSECO (United Nations, Scientific and Cultural Organization). After 16 years, it was hailed as one of the New 7 Wonder Cities of the World! Walking along Calle Crisologo was like walking in the past. Can you imagine how many people from the past have actually walked in here?

Quick history of the city's name:

"The area of Vigan was originally a settlement of traders coming from the Fujian Province,China. At the time of Spanish colonisation, the Chinese settlers, whose language was Southern Fujianese (Min Nan, often referred to as "Hokkien" by most Filipinos), referred to the area as "Bee Gan" (Chinese: 美岸; pinyin: Měi'àn), which means "Beautiful Shore." Since the Spanish conquistadors interchanged V and the B to refer to the B sound, they spelled the Hokkien Chinese name "Bee Gan" as "Vigan", which is the name used to this day.

...The most commonly known source of the city's name is from the Biga'a plant, which once grew abundantly along the banks of the Meztiso River, from which captain Juan de Salcedo derived the city's name (after a misunderstanding with the locals, thinking he was asking the name of the plants)" 

~ Wikipedia

After taking lots of photos and waiting until eternity for their famous empanada, we found a cozy place to rest our slightly abused legs and feet.

After having coffee, we took more pictures at Calle Crisologo, this time with the dramatic street lights! The last thing in our itinerary for that day was to see the dancing fountain at Plaza Salcedo. Too bad I ran out of batteries, so, I wasn't able to capture the beautiful lights at the dancing fountain!

We dropped by the empanada store again to have something to eat at our hotel. I went to bed at around 11 o'clock that night and for the first time that week, I had a good night's sleep! Knowing that I did some epic shits yet again, it somehow gave me peace. Even though my feet hurt like hell and my body was seriously longing for a therapeutic massage, I managed to get a deep sleep!

The following day, I woke up around 6 o'clock. We took turns in taking a shower, then we decided to have breakfast at McDonald's before going to Baluarte. Well, we passed through Calle Crisologo again before reaching McDonald's so...we had another photo opportunity - and this time the street was a bit more clear!

Breakfast McVigan!
We took a tricycle going to Baluarte. It was supposed to be quick ride but with all the tourists from everywhere, it took us more than 20 minutes or so to get there. So, here I am with my ever famous fake stolen shot while we were in the middle of a country side traffic.

There were interesting animals at the Baluarte, but what sparked my curiosity is the fact that all these creatures were kept at the same place. Yup, ostrich, white deer and little horses~ in one place!

We didn't walk too far because we couldn't stand the heat so my friend Tin and I just decided to wait for the others under the shade of a nipa hut. People said there is a tiger uphill, but I've already seen quite a few tigers in Beijing zoo and one in Manila zoo, so, I just chose to rest for a moment and catch my breath.

We got back to our hotel just before lunch time. We quickly packed our bags and checked out at exactly 12 noon. 

The traveling circle!

And so, the second part of Ilocos trip slash pre-birthday trip started. We're off to Laoag City, Ilocos Norte!


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