Vigan, Ilocos Sur Trip

We took a weekend trip to Vigan, Ilocos Sur back in July 2009. As we approached Vigan, we were rewarded with wonderful scenic coastal views. You can see the photo above as we’re about to cross the Quirino Bridge.

We arrived in Vigan mid-afternoon on a beautiful Saturday and checked into the Vigan Plaza Hotel. July being the off-season, we didn’t have any difficulty getting a room without a reservation.

We stayed in the Ancestral Suite. It was a nice, large room with two beds, air conditioning, and a good bathroom. There was some noise from a bar downstairs at night, but it wasn’t too objectionable.

It’s conveniently located right next to Calle Crisologo, sort of the main attraction in Vigan.

Right across from the Vigan Plaza Hotel, we hired a horse and buggy (Calesa) to take us around Vigan.

Here’s a picture of the horse and buggy we rode in.

Since we got a late start, we weren’t able to make all of the usual stops, but we got in quite a bit.

The first stop was the Syquia Mansion, the home of President Quirino, and now a museum. A nice older gentlemen who had lived at the mansion for many years, and still lives there today, took us around and told us all the various stories. We gave him a donation.

We had a pleasant ride around town. Here we passed by Cafe Uno. I hear this is a neat place to eat. We didn’t have time to stop in, but I’d like to if we ever make it back in the future.

We also passed by Bantay to see the Bell Tower. This is a really lovely area. The grounds were neat and well maintained. It’s a great spot for taking pictures.

We stopped at small bunch of shops where there were potters at work, and got to watch them. It’s amazing how quickly they can fashion a perfectly formed piece of pottery. I remember making pottery in school many years ago, and it took me quite a bit longer and the result was not so perfect! But they make it look easy.

Hidden Garden is an interesting and beautiful place. We strolled around an amazing garden. It’s also a nursery you can buy plants from, and they’ve got a coffee shop you can get snacks at. I was thinking there might be a restaurant there, but there isn’t, really. It is a lovely place to stroll around and relax.

Next stop, the Baluarte Zoo. It was beginning to get dark by this time, so we only stopped long enough to peek inside and take a few photos. The huge dinosaur replicas were a unique touch.

By the time we made it back to Calle Crisologo the sun had set, and we were greeted by the wonderful soft glow of the warm street lamps and horse & buggies making their way up and down the cobblestone street.

The ambiance here at night is magical, and it made the trip really worthwhile. We ate dinner outside at Max’s, which was excellent, and headed back to our hotel room.

The next morning we had a nice breakfast at the hotel, and walked over to Calle Crisologo to check out the shops during the day. Here’s a shot of Max’s Restaurant in the daylight.

While my wife shopped, I stood around outside taking photos of the horses and buggies.

It was a beautiful, sunny morning.

There was lots of neat woodwork for sale.

After our morning walk, we went back to the hotel to pack up, and headed home.

We were treated to the lovely view along the coast on our drive home.

Next time I’d like to make it farther north and spend some time in Laoag, Ilocos Norte. Maybe another stop in Vigan along the way would be in order.

If I were to visit a second time, I think I’d like to make it to Cafe Uno, and spend a little extra time at my favorite stops; the Bell Tower and Hidden Garden. And a night time stroll along Calle Crisologo.