The historic city of Vigan in Ilocos is one of the top destinations in the Philippines that many people wanted to visit. From its heritage houses to mouthwatering Ilocano delicacies such as bagnet and empanada, this city was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999 due mostly to the fact that the place has been preserved to show the fusion of old Asian and Spanish architecture.
Walking along the famous Calle Crisologo during the golden hour is just amazing wherein the cobblestone street, with colonial houses and street lamps lined up on both sides, illuminates – transforming into a dreamlike setting in the 16th century.
There are many company buses offering direct travel from Manila to Vigan, but I prefer dropping of to Laoag first to meet my relatives before getting to Vigan City. I went on a 7-hour trip and that was a butt tiring moment (imagine sitting 7 hours!) but despite of the long travel, I recommend it for people who has a small budget.
Among Vigan’s many restaurants, Cafe Leona, is the most popular. You can try out a variety of traditional Ilocano specialties, and some fusion European, Japanese and Western dishes here. Other good places to check out are Hidden Garde andCeledonia Garden, a large native restaurant in Brgy. Beddeng Laud.
must-eats in Vigan:
or pakbet is dish that’s indigenous to the Northern regions of the country, including Ilocos Sur.The original Ilokano recipe uses mixed vegetables like eggplant, tomato, okra and string beans, among others steamed in a flavorful bagoong, or fermented shrimp or fish paste, for seasoning.
If you haven’t ever tasted bagnet (boiled and deep-fried pork belly), you’re missing out on life. Imagine a huge slab of meat with crunchy golden skin that has been deep-fried to perfection.
It is similar to a thin taco that is fried to a crisp, with vegetable and meat filling. Rice flour is used for making the crust or the shell. The galapong or rice flour dough is made a day before it is used. Atchuete or orange food color, salt and oil are mixed into the rice though. The dough mixture is then kneaded as thinly as possible on a banana leaf.
Dinakdakan is an appetizer dish made-up of boiled and grilled pig parts – in which ears, liver, and face (mascara) are the most commonly used; other parts such as stomach and intestines can also be utilized.
Walking in street that’s full of memories from the past and rich historical ground makes my heart tremble (maybe its due to my excitement) Plus the people, they are all generous and joyfull, even all the mini souvenirs and food stall owners are smilling every time you look ate them.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
The St. Paul’s Cathedral known as the metropolitan Cathedral. It is a major religious landmark not only on northern Luzon but the country as well. Visitors must include a visit to the cathedral when in Vigan as it has been a center of Roman Catholic devotion for centuries. It was a mere chapel then, made of wood and thatch. In 1641, the chapel was replaced by a church. The cathedral follows a Baroque architectural design that has been modified by Ilocanos to strengthen the structure against earthquakes. This is now known as earthquake Baroque. Testament to the style’s effectivity is the fact that the structure’s original interior walls have remained complete.
The major attraction of Vigan is its mestizo district which is filled with Spanish-style houses that evoke a bygone era when its people lived prosperously because of the Manila-Acapulco maritime trade. For visitors who want to experience being transported back to this period in Philippine Spanish colonial time, a walk or a calesa ride through Vigan’s Calle Crisologo or Mena Crisologo Street is a must. One of the best UNESCO world heritage site that I visited.
• Partas Buses via Laoag – offers direct trip to vigan everyday
Paras Buses from Cubao and Pasay terminals have 3 hour interval here as early as 1:00 am
GO VISIT VIGAN!
photos : Philippine premier / Vigan.ph