What better way to spend a long weekend than by exploring a historic city? And since this year’s People Power Anniversary (February 25) fell on a Monday… my husband and I took the opportunity to visit Vigan, Ilocos Sur. Coming from Pangasinan, we boarded a Partas bus and embarked on an 8-hour trip. We didn’t mind the long commute, as we were truly excited!
Upon reaching our hotel (we had made reservations about a month beforehand), we took a quick rest before heading to the famous Calle Crisologo in Vigan town proper. Here, we marveled at the Spanish colonial houses, cobblestone streets, and “kalesas” (horse-drawn carriages) shuttling tourists around town.
The next day, we had a more jam-packed schedule. First on the list was Baluarte, which featured a zoo and safari museum. There was an open area where camels, llamas, and ostriches roamed freely (one of them actually pecked at my feet). We also got to see a lion, tiger, crocodile, and peacocks showing off their gorgeous feathers!
Afterwards, we proceeded to visit several museums: Crisologo Museum, the ancestral home of one of Vigan’s historic figures; National Museum-Vigan, which featured multicolored “inabel” (woven fabric), among other artifacts; and the Provincial Jail (turned museum), which displayed memorabilia of the late President Elpidio Quirino. Aside from learning a bit of history, we also made some interesting finds, such as a decades-old phone and a special chair designed for using the “arinola” (chamber pot)!
In the afternoon, we strolled along Plaza Salcedo, which is situated across from the magnificent St. Paul’s Cathedral. The plaza’s Dancing Fountain was set to open at 7:30pm, so we made sure to find a good viewing spot. Once the music began, the fountain show was spectacular… the perfect way to end an amazing day!
Of course, a trip to Vigan would not be complete without trying out the local cuisine. A must-try is the “sinanglaw” and “dinakdakan” — their versions of “nilaga” (boiled meat) and “kinilaw” (raw meat soaked in vinegar). And then, there’s the ubiquitous Vigan “empanada” (filled pastry), which I had to have not only once… but twice!
Colonial architecture, ancestral houses, museums, horse-drawn carriages, delectable dishes… Indeed, Vigan offers a glimpse of our past! If you are looking for a unique travel experience that the whole family can enjoy, consider taking a trip to Vigan. Better yet, go further north to explore the city of Laoag… another destination to be shared in a future blog post!