I and my friends had a great time visiting Ilocos Norte last February. It was an unexpected travel adventure. It was an escapade with no planned itinerary to check but we were still so blessed because the unplanned adventure did succeeded. To make the story short it was not your typical travel trip, but spell out the word happiness? That’s what we truly felt. We really enjoyed the trip and for me that was one of the best travel experiences I had last month.
We didn’t have enough sleep because from work we traveled straight to Laoag pero hala sige we were still up on exploring Ilocos from Norte to Sur. Ilocos Norte is love but Ilocos Sur is mystic! After exploring the North we took a bus from Laoag to Vigan. Sleepy heads and hungry tummies challenged us to explore the Southern part of Ilocos. To account here’s our journey to one of Philippine historical cities and together let us travel back in time at Vigan…
It was late afternoon when I and my friends arrived in Vigan, so first thing that we did was to find a place to leave our bags, wash up and rest in a bit. We took a motorcycle from the bus stop and the driver took us to some affordable inns in the city. We had visited three inns but the third one was the only inn that has vacant so we got it. The name of the accommodation is Casa Forcellan.
We had our short break at the accommodation. My friends did their shower directly but me, I took a short nap because I honestly so drain from a straight travel to Laoag. After my friends done with their showers, I took mine and we’re all set then. We headed directly to Vigan’s Plaza to witness the Dancing Fountain that would start exactly at 7 pm. There were really many people that time, as in from kids to grandma and grandpa the plaza was surrounded by people. They were all happy to witness the Dancing Fountain. I guess most of them were also visitors like us.
After witnessing the colorful dancing fountain at the plaza, we searched for a restaurant. We were all so hungry while at the plaza but we ransomed our hungry tummies for the event. I forgot the name of the restaurant the motorcycle driver introduced us but the foods tasted good. It was February then so the decoration of the restaurant was set for valentine season. One of my friends, Flori said Ïnday hindi tayo bagay dito (sabay tawa) haha.
Our tummies were happy after filled it with foods, so next to eating session, we had a quick visit at Calle Crisologo, the area wherein historical stuff can be found. The place was one of the reasons why Vigan City was declared by UNESCO as one of the New 7 Wonders Cities.
Calle Crisologo is best viewed during night time or around dawn time where street lights are on. When we had our night visit at the street, there was a wedding event held on the street so we haven’t able to go straight and explore the whole stretch of the street. Since we had a long day and so tired we decided to go directly to our accommodation and had our rest.
On the next day, we woke up early to prepare ourselves for our day 2 “gala time” in the city. We took a motorcycle to find a restaurant but we haven’t found any because it was at around 6 am in the morning. So what we did? We decided to just walk and find a good eatery around the city. It was then became an opportunity for us to explore Calle Crisologo again after an epic fail exploration at the streets on the other night. At least that time there were not too many people. There are many souvenir shops, antiques and jewelries along the street. There are also restaurants but unfortunately all were not opened at the time (around 6 am). One of the famous restaurants in Vigan which is just along Calle Crisologo is Café Leona. The café dine the mouthwatering longganisa meal which we haven’t tasted because the café was also still closed that time.
Upon enjoying the street, our feet led us to an eatery near the plaza and there for the first time I tasted the Ilocano's famous “Sinanglaw”. Aside from Vigan’s bagnet, longganisa and empanada, this type of soup in Vigan is one of the famous soup delicacies. Well for me, the soup actually tastes good. Now, I feel hungry writing this one whooo…
After had breakfast, we've chosen not to ride a motorcycle and instead walked around while enjoying the surrounding; there are many Kalesa touring around aside from motorcycles which are also busy picking tourists. Jo saw the word Vigan near at the plaza and she wanted us to take her a photo with it so pinagbigyan namin and I joined her on her trip. ;)
Just to complete the day at the city, we then decided to visit the Bantay Tower. A motorcycle driver offered us the trip going to the tower for a certain cost. There are actually tours being offered within the city and this could be done with the motorcycle drivers who are allowed to service the tourists and at the same time serves as the tourist guide. If you want a city tour you can choose to ride a Kalesa and let the kalesa driver tour you around.
We found it difficult to get the best shots at the tower because as a tourist spot, there were many tourists who were so busy taking pictures at the tower during our visit but at least we had a good one. Yay!
The last spot we visited was the Baluarte owned by Chavit Singson. No entrance fee needed and anyone could enjoy the zoo and catch a sight of variety of animals inside. The zoo also offers an animal museum where animals authorized killed by Chavit were preserved. There are souvenir stalls at the zoo and luckily the stall we’ve came to visit whose like me and Jo is a bisaya. She also came from Mindanao and she gave us discounts on souvenir items we’ve bought.
Around 11 am when we completed our tour at Baluarte, we headed directly to find a restaurant again to eat our lunch. At Calle Crisologo where the motorcycle driver stopped us, we asked a Kalesa Driver where we could eat our lunch and he led us to a famous one in the City which unfortunately I forgot the name again. Pity me! But at last at the restaurant we tasted the Vigan Logganisa we were long to eat since on our first day in the city.
But before the kalesa driver took us to the restaurant we took our spare time to take selfie with the kalesa. That was my first kalesa ride so I never missed out to take a photo haha.
See? Our adventure in Vigan City is not as perfect as anyone could imagine or the typical trip others have. It was part of our unplanned adventures in the province of Ilocos but I could say it is a good journey to look back.
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