28.1.15

Gone to Vigan: A Trip to the World's Newest Wonder City

If there's one place in the Philippines that perfectly embodies the convergence of history and urban development, it would certainly be Vigan. Now declared as one of the New 7 Wonder Cities of the World, there surely are a lot of stories to unfold in one of the few Hispanic towns left in the country.

We were a group of 5 in this travel. And I would always prefer to travel with a group. Here are some of the perks that you can have in a group travel:

a) You can save! Since I travel in a group of 4 or 5, all of the expenses are shared by everyone. I won't have to worry about expensive tricycle rides from one tourist destination to another.

b) You also have a photographer! I hope this doesn't sound utilitarian at all 'cause you also return the favour. You take each other's photos instead of asking a local or another tourist to take your photograph! Plus, you can ask for more shots at your best angles.

c) You can share the experience together! You can sit down in a coffee shop and try their signature Vigan hot chocolate. And you can have the rest of the night talking about how relaxing the experience is. While this varies from one person to another, I always find comfort in sharing how wonderful our collective experience is. It allows me to appreciate a certain place based on another person's perspective, and not just on my own personal experience. 

This doesn't mean, however, that I don't want to experience travelling alone. I have a lot of friends who have shown the wonders of solo traveling. And I've done a couple of solo travels in the past. So it's always a matter of time and situation.

So much for that, let's explore Vigan!

Going to Vigan is not that stressful! Indeed, you just have to hop into the bus and give it a night. And the next thing you know, you're already in the famous city!

There are sleeper buses in Cubao's Partas Bus Terminal going to Vigan. And believe me, these buses are really comfortable. Even if it doesn't have the bus restrooms, the seats are cool enough to give you the space and recline that you need. 

As a freelance worker, I can do all of my workloads while traveling (perks of freelancing). We rode the bus by 11 in the evening and arrived in Vigan at 7 in the morning the following day. 

So we immediately went to the lodge where we stayed for a night, and started exploring the city!

Our first stop was the Bantay Church and Bell Tower. 




I love the overall vibe of this place. And I would suggest that you go here in the afternoon to avoid the scorching heat of the sun. 

Then, we headed to the 'Banga'-making place. Here, you will witness how the fine-crafted clay pots are made. Plus, you can also experience making your very own 'banga'. This rounds up to a laid-back cultural immersion, as long as you're not afraid to get your hands dirty!


And then we had our lunch in the cozy Hidden Garden Restaurant.  Upon entering the place, you can find many Buddha statues. As you approach the restaurant area, you will be welcomed by uniquely designed table areas, where you can eat your sumptuous meal. We ordered their bestseller Sinigang this time. The place also has a comfortable swing to chill at, and great musicians who will serenade you. 



Then, you will see the trails heading to the garden. The area is filled with different kinds of plants - some of them could be rarely found in other places. It's an amazing place to relax. With the scenic view of grey and greens and the cold breeze of fresh air, you'll surely enjoy having a short walk in this bonsai garden. 


Then came Baluarte! Baluarte is a zoo park owned by Ilocos Gov. Chavit Singson. Here, you can find different animals ranging from crocodiles, tiger and snakes, to donkeys, parrots, monkeys and many others. 




Baluarte offers different fun activities, but their main feature is the horseback riding. If you're looking for a good place to relax, you can include Baluarte in your list. Try their refreshing sugarcane juice too! 

And of course, a Vigan travel won't be complete without the popular walk in its historical houses. Here are some of our snapshots!



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Vigan Trip Travel Itinerary

Manila to Vigan

11 pm (night before): Ride a bus going to Vigan at Partas Terminal in Cubao

Day 1

8 am: Arrival at Vigan

Breakfast Eatery beside terminal - P40.00

Arcellana’s Lodging House

Note: Here, we rented a tricycle to tour us around the city for the whole day. We paid P1,200.00. 

10 am: Bell Tower and Church

(Snack: Tinubong -P100.00) 

11 am: Clay Pot Making Place

12 pm:  Lunch at Hidden Garden 

1:30 pm - 3 pm: Baluarte ni Chavit (no entrance fee)

(Snack: Sugarcane + Lemon Juice - P40.00)

3 pm - 4 pm:  Syquia Mansion

Go back to Arcellana’s for rest

7 pm: Dancing Fountain at Plaza Burgos

7: 30 pm: Dinner - Cafe Leona (Bihon, Mixed Seafood, Thai Soup)

Tip: Try the signature hot chocolate in Cafe Leona, which only costs P50.00. You will be given a small cup of it, enticing you to order more. 

Day 2

Wake up at 7 and prepare

8 am to 9 am: Breakfast at Cordillera Inn Restaurant

(Vigan Longganisa, Fresh Farm Egg, Rice, Tea - P140.00)

Tricycle to Terminal - P50.00

9 to 11:30 am: Vigan to Batac

Vigan to Batac - P111.00

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I love Vigan because it allows its visitors to experience a historical perspective of modernization. It enables a unique experience of thought - something that has the sweet taste of a rich past. And I love how it showcases the beauty of the present - enabling a stark contrast between two cultures in different generations.

As we take our ride back home, I'm proud to say that I've been to Vigan, and I want to see its wonders once again.  

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