Here are the attractions we went to:
1. JUAN LUNA ANCESTRAL HOUSE AND SHRINE
We first dropped by the Juan Luna house in Badoc, Ilocos Norte since it was on the way from Laoag to Vigan. Juan Luna is an acclaimed Filipino painter whose most famous work Spolarium is housed at the National Museum.
The two story home made of clay bricks and molave wood is the largest colonial house in Badoc. Aside from seeing where Juan Luna lived during the early part of his life, the home also pays homage to Juan Luna with reproductions of his work and other memorabilia displayed at the first floor.
2. BANTAY BELL TOWER
The Bantay Bell Tower, built in 1591, served as the city's watchtower against possible enemy attack. One needs to climb a few flights of stairs to have a brid's eye view of Vigan from the tower.
Bantay Bell Tower is also popular because the movie Panday starring Fernando Poe Jr. shot some scenes here. See the hole? It was courtesy of the Panday crew who made the cut for a crucial part of the movie. WTF!
|Movie Over History|
3. ST. AGUSTINE CHURCH
A few meters from the Bantay Bell Tower is St. Agustin Church, one of the oldest surviving churches in Ilocos Sur. It's impossible to miss the church when going to Bantay Bell Tower.
Baluarte is a zoo owned by Chavit Singson featuring exotic animals that roam freely within the complex. Admission is free but I couldn't help but feel bad for the animals because they looked lonely and out of their element. Don't forget to take a picture with the tigers which Baluarte is famous for.
5. RUBY JAR FACTORY
Ruby Jar Factory is said to be recognized by the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts for its exceptional skill and ingenuity in traditional jar making. Visit the factory to see how jars are made.
Whenever a group arrives, a demonstration is conducted by this expert jar maker. Those who want to try are given the chance. It might look easy but it's actually not!
6. CAFE UNO
In the middle of touring Vigan, we made a pit stop at Cafe Uno for lunch. Cafe Uno, Uno Grille, and Kusina Fecelitas are operated by Grandpa's Inn so we were able to cross-order from the three restaurants.
What we had for lunch:
Just like tawilis, it was easy and addicting to eat.
I was getting tired of eating longganisa and Bagnet at this point.
Soup of seaweeds and bennek, a local fresh water shell.
Horribly bad. We have yet to hit the jackpot when it comes to sweets at this juncture of the trip.
7. SYQUIA MANSION
The 6th president of the Philippines, Elpidio Quirino, hails from Vigan and Syquia Mansion is his wife's ancestral home. Syquia Mansion is one of my favorite stops in Vigan.
With the help of our very friendly tour guide, we were able to go back in history and relive how the wealthy Filipinos used to live.
During the administration of Pres. Quirino, functions were also held at the Syquia Mansion. I can imagine that they frequently used this spacious dining hall for meetings.
The mansion is still being used by members of the Quirino family when they are in Vigan. Here's where Cory Quirino stays when she is in town.
8. CALLE CRISOLOGO
Calle Crisologo is the main tourist attraction of Vigan. It is filled with Spanish style houses along cobblestone streets.
We took a calesa to tour us around the block. It was a great way to see the streets without exerting much effort.
What surprised me was how commercial Calle Crisologo is. The souvenir shops and restaurants that lined the street ruined the mood for me.
We did stop by Irene's Vigan Empanada to finally try the famous delicacy of Ilocos.
The emapanada was freshly made which I think was the secret why it was delicious.
We waited for night to fall at Calle Crisologo...
It offered a quiet, romantic vibe at night.
If one has the time, I would recommend a visit both in the early morning and late evening to have two different experiences. I preferred our night time jaunt because gone are the commercial establishments and the chaos that goes along with it.
Nearby Calle Crisologo is its town plaza where a lot of food hawkers are positioned.
The empanada here was actually more delicious.
We ended the night at Cafe Leona with fishballs,
and shots of tequilla.
Touring Vigan in less than 24 hours was both educational and interesting but it's something that should be done only once. There's no point or reason to go back.