Sunday, July 20, 2014

Viva Vigan!

Summer 2014 was one of the most memorable for me as our family had the chance to travel to the northern Philippines, first to Vigan City in Ilocos Sur, then to Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte and lastly, to Baguio City in Benguet Province. Vigan, for those who may not be in the know, is a World Heritage Site as declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), for its well-preserved Spanish colonial houses dating back to the 16th century. For this same reason, Vigan, earlier this July, made it as one of the top 21 official finalists competing for a spot in the New 7 Wonder Cities of the World. Hurray! How's that for a bit of good news? The other contenders include Bangkok, Barcelona, Beirut, Chicago, Doha, Durban, Havana, Istanbul, Mexico City, Mumbai and Perth. Anyway, we spent three days and two nights in Vigan, where our eyes feasted on many wonderful sights and our tummies, on the many savory Ilocano dishes like bagnet and Vigan longganisa. In one of my previous posts, I shared about those dishes that we tried in several restaurants. Now, I'm sharing the sights that we enjoyed in the heritage city.

                                                    Village Angela Heritage House
This was where we stayed - a 141-year-old house that was built in 1873. It is well-preserved, very clean and lovely. It may strike you as a haunted house (haha!) and some say they indeed experienced visits by some spirits but as for us, there wasn't any such encounter. Service by the three caretakers of the house was very friendly. They really attended to our needs and would even ask us at night what we would want for breakfast the following day. To give you an idea of how much stay here costs, we paid around P7,000 for one night for two big rooms. We were 14 in all. Breakfast was included. 

Yes, Tom Cruise stayed here while filming 4th of July.

Living room
Dining area
The room I shared with mom and sisters and the girls
                                                                           Antique pieces

                                                                    Cooking area

Meanwhile, here are the places we visited around Vigan:

Calle Crisologo - the famous cobblestone street lined up on both sides 
by centuries-old houses.

                                                                     The pottery

                                                                      Plaza Salcedo

                                                                  Vigan Cathedral 

                            McDonald's at the side of Vigan Cathedral and Plaza Salcedo

Inside McDonald's
     Baluarte - a zoo owned by former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis "Chavit" Singson. 
This is an 80-hectare park where lots of animals can be found and which is open to the public. Admission is free!

Hidden Garden  - it's a flora paradise and anyone who loves gardening will find a piece of heaven here. All sorts of plants are here for sale. There's also a foodie place called Lilong and Lilang Restaurant, where we had a sumptuous and enjoyable lunch.

Vigan is one lovely place to visit - truly something we Filipinos can be proud of. I hope it wins in the New Seven Wonder Cities of the World search. Let's vote for Vigan, folks!

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