Last July 16-19, 2015, my colleagues and I decided to explore VIGAN CITY, ILOCOS SUR.
We are so excited about our joyride because it was a last minute decision. We’ve bought a first class ticket from Partas Bus Co. stationed in Cubao. Our departure time is 10:00pm of July 16, 2015. The fare was less than P800.00 at that time.
The travel was all good but as we have reached the Tarlac Area, it all started to rain. Honestly, this travel was challenging for us because we’ve gone through floods, landslide and extreme exhaustion. Few hours, the bus stayed at the road together with the others because there was flood in Narvacan and landslide near Santa Area.
(Photo captured while were in Candon City, Partas Bus Terminal)
(stranded in the road, At Paraiso ni Juan Bridge)
Thankfully, after an hour, the road was cleared and weve continued to travel. After 45 mins. weve reached the infamous Vigan City.
At last, after 11 hrs on the road. (though i believe we will be able to travel less than 7hrs if the weather was only in good condition) but it was okay, i guess.
One of my colleague has a friend waiting for us in the city and guided us to one of the famous restaurant in town.
WHERE WE EAT-
The CAFE UNO located near Calle Crisologo. We’ve ordered the delicacies of Ilocos Sur. Kevin, the friend of one of my colleague (Theresa) decided to make us try the “Poqui-Poqui”/Powkie, an eggplant omellette, Vigan Bagnet (dried and fried pork pigue) together with tomato and bagoong, also the Pakbet Ilocano seasoned by pure bagoong iloko.
We all love to eat that’s why we’ve really enjoyed the food. I am not going to tackle about the technicalities of the food, but all-in-all, it captured the taste-bud of its customers.
WHERE WE STAY-
After our lunch, we’ve checked-in at the VIGAN HERITAGE MANSION, (ancestral house of Governor Pedro Singson), just in front of Calle Crisologo. A review of the hotel says it here at Vigan.ph
The interior was remodeled but the touch of hispanic descent never faded out.
(the spacious 2nd Flr. our room are adjacent to the stairs)
(in-house dining but only open every morning)
Lesson Learned: backpackers/travelers should research first about the weather of the place they’re going to visit because you might not want to be dripped-wet everytime youre outside and walking on the road.
Thankfully, the weather didn’t bother us anyway, because all the attractions are all indoors (ancestral houses).
One local told us that it was already raining non stop for 2-weeks in Ilocos Sur when we arrived, thats why it was a good idea that we’ve brought our slippers/sandals to be use while we roam around.
WHERE WE GO-
FIRST STOP: SYQUIA MANSION (Quirino Blvd., Vigan)
The house of the wife of Pres. Elpidio Quirino, Doña Alicia Quirino (late grandparents of Cory Quirino)
I am quite guilty about not fully listening to the tour guide of the museum because i was amazed by the collection of the antiques of the house. It feels like you’re going back in time. The Spaniards time where stereotypes are greatly pronounced.
The tour has an entrance fee of around P30.00 which will be later used for maintenance of the place.
(the “Karwahe/Caruaje” of the nobles)
(they called this the “main sala”)
I have learned that during that precolonial period of the spaniards, only the special guests will be entertained in the main sala. And those who are ordinary will be staying at the “ante-sala”. They have the “peep hole system”, this is same with the peep hole on our doors, the one with magnified glass whenever someone knocks on our doors. They called it “ante-pezza” which they will use if they want the visitor to come in or not.
They have grand collections of antiques like the pair of vase made of 18 karat gold which was originally a gift from the emperor of China.
A mirror made of 18karat gold frame.
(mirrors are sign of wealth at their time. the more grandious and the many you have, it means that you are luxuriously rich)
(i guess youve all heard about the “aliping sagigilid” and “aliping namamahay”, this is the passage way where the aliping sagigilid only can walk through especially when social gatherings are held)
They called the large open space window as “Ventana” where they usually watch the “Prosisyon” and the lower part window is called “Ventanilla” where the kids can also watch over outside”.
(the grand daughter’s room, Cory Quirino, she still occupies this whenever she visits their house)
(replica of Juan Luna’s, Spoliarium)
They also have grand dining area where the administration meetings are held at Elpidio Quirino’s time and many more.
SECOND STOP: CJ’s EMPANADA
We’ve tried here the “Double Special Empanada” (the curator at Syquia’s suggested to try this place and i guess it is not disappointing because the empanada was divine)
THIRD STOP : CALLE CRISOLOGO
A world heritage site. Ancient Ancestral Houses were built. Pebbled-brick road only the karitelas are allowed to pass-by.
(although its raining, the place is magical. as if youve turn back time)
FOURTH STOP: KUSINA FELICITAS
We also tried for dinner there at Kusina felicitas, just beside Cafe Uno.
This dish is called insarabasab (inihaw na baboy).
(sapurikit or Tinolang Manok)
FIFTH STOP: CRISOLOGO MANSION (Floro Crisologo, the founder of SSS)
I can tell that these people are not ordinary by the style of their houses. lol
The house is a combination of Filipino-Hispanic Culture.
These are the photos I managed to capture:
(Same as with “the Syquia’s”, they have two (2) grand salas)
(A mysterious tragedy for Mr. Crisologo that until now is an unsolve”d” case)
(if you think that youre collection of perfumes are grandious, i beg to disagree coz these collection was beyond imaginable. they still have another cabinet full of those.)
A dresser maybe.
Wooden Refrigerator powered by Kerosene.
The dry ice was imported to China.
Thank God we have the electric ones!
The traditional flat iron. Woohhhh!!!
But the toilet was seemingly disgusting though. A pig peep toilet. 🐷🐽 You know what i mean. No flush for those who are too sensitive.
A classic long dining though.
SIXTH STOP: PAGBURNAYAN “POTTERY PLACE”
(you can try to make pottery jars and give donation afterwards)
SEVENTH STOP: HIDDEN GARDEN and LILONG & LILANG RESTAURANT
(theena, one of my friend, in the entrance)
(indeed a hidden garden. so refreshing)
Lilong and Lilang Restaurant with great ambiance and interiors.
LAST STOP: Baluarte (Chavit Singson’s Animal Farm)
An exotic and exquisite hobby of a hunter.
Aside from the karitela, one of the main mode of transportation in Vigan is the Tricycle. Minimum fare will range between P10-P20. Higher than that is abusive. lol Coz Vigan is too small for overpricing if the fare is per head.
I wanted to share an interesting opinion about CAFE LEONA.
Before we went to Vigan i’ve read some blogs about this restaurant and the feedback was all good that we opted to also visit. To my disappointment, It wasn’t all i’ve expected.
Note: if you want to dine there, you should call ahead of time for reservation because the people are always jam-packed.
The dish we ordered are Vigan Express, Carbonara and Sinigang na Bangus. (We’d like to try dinengdeng and some ilocano dish but it was not available. i was like SRSLY? its 12nn and it wasnt available?)
The Vigan Express is like chopsuey with longganisa and tofu (tokwa) sauteed in creamy sauce with bell peppers.
FACT: this is the only food i think bearable at that time.
The Sinigang na Bangus served that time was TOO SALTY and I was like “WTH”, even my jaws are quenching and my throat immediately went dry.
SOLUTION: We returned it and when they served it again it was like they just pour a pitcher of water and thats it.
FACT: I am dissatisfied.
You called that Carbonara? The creamy sauce wasnt creamy. The taste? SO BLANT. Its like youre eating a cold pasta with oil. LITERALLY.
FACT: I cant believe I stand that.
I hope the owner should revisit his/her menu coz our experience there was not as good as ive imagined.
Atleast the crew are friendly and accommodating.
We went back to Manila, evening of July 18 with pasalubong (Bagnet, Vigan Longganisa, Chichapop and corn and Marsha’s Royal Bibingka)
AS MUCH AS I WANTED TO STILL WALK AROUND, THE WEATHER IS NOT FRIENDLY AT THAT TIME.
I hope i can still comeback and make good memories again.
Hope you enjoyed my blog!