10:45 AM – After a quick side trip at Juan Luna Shrine we’re now off to Vigan where we’re really spending our day. But before leaving Ilocos Norte
for a day how can we miss an obligatory pic at their welcome sign. Just be mindful of the vehicles passing by when taking pictures.
11:45 AM – We arrived in Vigan. As per Kuya Glenn it is one of the first three towns in the Philippines alongside with Cebu and Intramuros. Vigan, deemed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and just recently, was included in the New 7 Wonders Cities, is one of the most visited city in the North.
It is almost lunch time and we were brought by Kuya Glenn to Kusina Felicitas since we asked for a place where we can try authentic Ilocano cuisine. No wonder he chose to bring us here, food is of high quality, delicious and inexpensive.
Kusina Felicitas is Grandpas Inn’s signature restaurant, the other two are their café, Café Uno and their grill house, Uno Grille. Grandpas Inn is an ancestral house turned into a lodge and restaurant.
At the lobby of Grandpas Inn (picture below). We’re loving the cozy ambience and of course paintings and locally made furnitures.
After lunch we’re so giddy to tour the cobbled street of Calle Crisologo but we’re told that it’s even more beautiful to go there at night. The excitement for the
photoshoot, houses, streets and calesas will have to wait then.
1:15 PM – Pagburnayan
Pagburnayan, comes from the root word burnay. It refers to the hand-crafted earthenware pots made from Vigan. Burnay is a local term for jars. Tourist may try it too but kj (killjoy) as we are we didn’t get down and dirty as in literally dirty. We just satisfied ourselves looking at the skill hands of Kuya molding jars using the manual pottery wheel.
Known as Padre Burgos House, this museum is the ancestral house and birthplace of the priest patriot Fr. Jose Burgos. Inside the museum, you will see a collection of Father Burgos memorabilia, photographs and family antiques. We’re also pleased to see dioramas inside the museum. They’re depicting different historical events. It’s free entrance, you may give donations though.
Diorama of the Execution of The 3 Martyr Priests.
It is another ancestral home turned into museum. The house showcases the memorabilia of Floro Crisologo, a former congressman who was assassinated while he was waiting to receive his communion inside Vigan Cathedral. There are a lot of things to see – from antiques, cars, carriages, personal belongings, etc. Also free entrance. Donations are accepted.
It is the home of the former and 6th president of the Philippines, President Elpidio Quirino who hails from Vigan. The mansion is given by Alicia Syquia, the late president’s wife, as a dowry. Women before are the ones giving dowry to men when getting married. It is the typical of the many ancestral bahay na bato in the city – and the largest so far we’ve visited. It is a two-storey, blue and cream-painted mansion in the corner of Quirino Boulevard.
Entrance fee is 20 pesos for adults and 10 pesos for kids below 13 years old. It is open daily from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 1:30 PM to 5:00 PM in the afternoon.
This carriage will welcome you upon entering the mansion.
This is their dining room. The cloth above served as the ceiling fan of today and being manually operated by servants by pulling the strings attached to it.
This is one of the rooms in the house and I think is still being used whenever members of the family are in town. Notice the aircon in the picture.
The lady in the painting is Vicky, President Quirino’s daughter and the youngest first lady in Philippine history at the age of 16. Her mother, Dona Alicia, died during World War II together with her other three siblings. Only Vicky and her elder brother Tomas survived.
There’s also a patio/garden in the second floor. How cool is that huh. I imagined ballroom parties happening here attended by people in the high society. It’s spacious though it doesn’t show in the picture below.
Aside from the grandness of the house I became more interested in the peeping holes that can be found in the master’s bedroom and in the second floor which are used to view visitors in the receiving area before they are allowed to enter the living room. Peeping holes and the hanging fans, I’m quite amazed, very innovative!
3:30 PM – Rowilda’s Weaving
Aside from Burnay Pottery, Abel weaving is also one of the popular handicrafts that Ilocanos are proud about. Abel cloth is a traditional woven product in Vigan known for its durablity and beauty.
Rowilda’s Weaving is in barangay Camanggaan, it is just a 10-minute tricycle ride southeast of Vigan. Here you can watch hand weavers live in action. Looking at them, their hands so familiar with this art, crisscrossing on this seems to be complicated colored threads to create a loom is fascinating to watch. Skills + talent!
4:00 PM – Balaurte
I’ve been here numerous times even spent overnight in Baluarte itself when I joined my mom in one of their trips here. It is just a 10-minute drive from Vigan and owned by former Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson. It is a wildlife sanctuary dedicated to facilitating education, conservation and protection of endangered species and wildlife. It is so interactive that visitors can feed and pet them. You can also ride the small horse-drawn carriage (pony/calesitas). Or simply take pictures and enjoy the scenic view.
Entrance is FREE. So I really suggest if you happen to be up North, go and find time to visit Baluarte.
And how can we missed this freshly squeezed sugar cane juice for only 20php.
4:50 PM – Bantay Church, Bell Tower and Chapel by the Ruins
St. Augustine Parish Church commonly known as Bantay Church is in Bantay, Ilocos Sur. It has been a popular destination though not part of Vigan since it is just approximately 10-15 minutes away. You can ride a tricycle or even calesa to go here. Bantay Church serves as the Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de La Caridad, the Queen of Ilocandia.
Our group together with Kuya Glenn climbed up the belfry. You have to register first and give any amount as donation before you can finally proceed. We waited for others to go out before we get in.
Bell Tower or Bantay Belfry was said to be the people’s watchtower, part of the city’s defense during World Wars I and II. Up here you’ll see a beautiful view of the nearby towns and mountain. After 6PM no more guests are allowed to climb the tower.
Not far from the church and the belfry is the Chapel by the Ruins. It was damaged during World War II. It’s now a roofless small chapel. Perfect place to sit down and think about life. Lol. But seriously it’s secluded and crowd-free. No entrance fee here.
So many stops? We’re not yet done with Day 1.