Vigan takes you back in time and transports you to a world only seen in history books and era-films. It is in itself a UNESCO World Heritage Site for remaining as a Hispanic town with Calle Crisologo being the highlight. It has maintained its centuries-old cobble-stoned houses, it has kalesas roaming parts of the town, and is also officially recognized as one of the 7 New Wonders of the World, as adjudged in 2015.
Getting there via Dominion Bus’ deluxe bus at 330 am (the bus left Cubao at 9pm) was not exactly how I planned it. And because no shops were open, unlike in Manila, where you could spend countless hours at a Starbucks cafe, 7-11 stores and what-nots. I had no choice but to get an affordable room to stay at until I leave for Pagudpud that same afternoon.
Luckily, a tricycle driver showed me ARCELLANA LODGE, a 10-minute walk from the Calle Crisologo, where I got a room for PhP600.00 for a day with AC and shower (but don’t expect much from a lodge like this). It had 2 single beds and a 14-inch TV set. An enough place where I can wait till the morning, take a shower and leave my bag at while I check the tourist spots – mostly museums – in the area.
The tricycle fare was only PhP 10.00 per pax. So I asked the driver to drop me off at the famed Calle Crisologo, a street of a few blocks, which one can walk from one end to another in about 10minutes. It has really old Spanish houses, and even establishments like Max’s, Mang Inasal, Mocha Blend and Island Souvenirs have to follow the same structure.
Souvenir shops also line the street, selling longganisa, native bags and carved wooden furniture. Just a tip, if you’re planning to buy anyway, I suggest you buy pasalubong from here because they’re more expensive in Laoag.
At the end of the road is the cathedral, which has been standing there since the 1800’s and is considered a major historical landmark in Luzon.
Cafe Leona is also situated at the other end of Calle Crisologo, where I later ate lunch. The cafe was so named after the Ilocano Poet Leona Florentino, who is known as the “Mother of Philippine Women’s Literature”.
There are banks where you can withdraw from in Vigan. And as a friendly advice, it would be best to withdraw here especially if you’re going straight to Pagudpud because there are no ATMs there.
Next I went to the Crisologo Museum, a privately-maintained museum of the Crisologo Family, where the large portrait of the late Congressman Floro Crisologo can be seen at the entrance. He authored the SSS bill, as what Tita Remi, the caretaker and family member said as I logged my name in. He was the father of BingBong Crisologo, and husband of former Governor Carmeling Crisologo. BingBong and incumbent Ilocos Sur Governot Chavit Singson are actually maternal cousins but their families are political rivals.
In the museum, one can find the hats collections of Floro and Carmeling, their kalesas (horse-drawn carriages), the car which was preserved from when Carmeling was ambushed.
After this I went to Baluarte, which, animal lover as I am, I truly enjoyed. I even chanced on Diether and Gov. Singson himself.
I tried to squeeze myself in, not minding really if there are kids in front of me, who also wanted to get a closer view of the Tiger, which Diet pet a while back.
After touring Vigan ever so quickly, I then headed to Laoag to board a van that would take me to Pagudpud – follow me in my next Ilocos adventure!