Vigan-Ilocos Sur


As someone who's never been to Europe, I really want to feel how is it like to be in Europe. Looking at my bank account, I had no enough money to travel to Europe. I was happy when I saw in google, a city in Philippines named Vigan, which from the picture really looks like an old city in Europe. Without any hesitation, I pointed Vigan as my must-stop in Philippines.

Vigan is located on the western coast of Luzon, even almost reach north of Luzon itself. It is the capital of Ilocos Sur Province. The word Vigan came from a taro plant, in Ilocano the plant was called as Bigaa. The old town which used to be a Hispanic town has become one of the preserved World Heritage Site.

Saint Paul Vigan Cathedral
Good explanation huh about the city? No wonder I was so excited to go there. From Sagada, I had to take the opposite route to Baguio in order to catch a bus bound to Laoag then we can jump off in Vigan. The journey from Sagada to Baguio itself took 6 hours then from Baguio to Vigan took another 5 hours. I knew it's a tiring journey but for the sake of visiting Vigan, I'm willing to go through the tiring journey. I would say that the bus from Sagada to Baguio was a thrilling experience for me. The road was in good condition but the fact that it circled the hills where next to the road was deep brink while no safety, I don't know how to explain it, perhaps, a kind of roadblock to prevent any vehicles to fall to the cliff, in case accident happened, was not installed. We were at the hills, more than 2000 meters height and the road was winding, inside a high speed bus. I didn't dare to imagine what would happen if we fell.

Somewhere in the city
It was midnight when we arrived in Vigan. A sort of relief filled up my mind and soul. I just wanted to lay my body on a bed. It's a tiring journey. We headed to Grandpa's Inn in Vigan and took a rest. The next morning, time to explore the city. I was somehow disappointed, maybe because I expected to high about the city. I thought it would be a nice relaxing city where I could walk comfortably in the middle of old buildings. I was wrong, yes I could walk but too many tricycles! I didn't expect so many tricycles in the town. Okay, I tried to calm myself down, kept positive and tried to find any good places to see in the town. Unfortunately, there's not much thing to do in the city. The only interesting thing for me was the jar making in Pagburnayan. It's the first time for me looking at the process of how the clay is shaped and become a jar, interesting. The idea to stay and relaxing in Vigan for two nights was erased, and we moved to Laoag.

Pagburnayan Jar Making

Getting to Vigan

Since my last position was in Sagada, I took bus from Sagada-Baguio (PHP 220) around 6 hours. The arrival bus terminal from Sagada is different with the Partas bus terminal which goes to Vigan. You can take taxi to the terminal, just tell them Partas Bus or terminal near SM Mall. Partas Bus from Baguio leaves every hour. Latest one is 10 p.m. The bus costs PHP 330 and took 5 hours. From Manila there are also several buses such as Partas, Domonian Bus, Florida Bus, etc takes around 7-8 hours.

Where to Stay in Vigan

There are a lot of old mansion houses in Vigan offering an old vintage ambiance in the house. It's difficult to find cheap places to stay in Vigan actually. Average price is more than PHP 1,000 per night. We stayed in Grandpa's Inn, to be honest it was not worthy because we paid PHP 1,700 and stayed in a very small room. They have cheaper room as well for PHP 700/night but I'm not sure about the condition. There is also another cheaper place to stay in Vigan, you can check Vigan Hotel. They have single room with fan costs PHP 395/night

Transportation around Vigan

Colorful tricycles
Tricycles are everywhere so it's very easy and cheap as well. Tricycles only cost you PHP 20-40. If you wish to take Calesa, the carriage pulled by a horse around the city, it is PHP 150/hour. There are some museum and ancient houses in Vigan.


Traveled in 11 February 2014

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