Vigan, Ilocos Sur, Philippines – From Pagudpud we traveled down south to cover the rest of our itinerary. This includes the areas near the boundary of Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte. From old churches to ancestral houses, zoo, museum and cobble-stoned street – Vigan all have it, no wonder the city is dubbed as one of the new 7 wonder cities of the world.
Starting off, Juan Luna Shrine located at Badoc, Ilocos Norte which is the first town of Ilocos Norte Province. The shrine is reconstruction of the Luna clan house which was burned down in 1861. Currently, it holds some of Juan Luna’s canvasses, vintage photographs and memorabilia of the clan including his brother’s, General Antonio Luna, and other household artifacts from Luna’s time.
Next, Church of Saint Nicholas de Tolentino, also known as Sinait Church of the northernmost town of Ilocos Sur. The church is famous for being the sanctuary of Santo Cristo Milagroso. History traces the statue to Nagasaki, Japan. It was sent in a box and float it in the sea by missionaries operating secretly in Japan together with the image of La Virgen Milagrosa of Badoc, Ilocos Norte. It is said that Only fishermen from Sinait were able to move the box, which contains the Santo Cristo Milagroso. While the box with La Virgen Milagrosa was moved by Badoc fishermen and unable to be moved by the fishermen of Sinait. They Hence, they took the statues each to their respective towns and became their patron saints. After saying our prayers we then moved ahead to Vigan.
Before entering the heritage city of Vigan, we first headed to St. Augustine Church and the nearby bell tower. Though it is just few minutes away from Vigan, the site is part of Bantay, Ilocos Sur. Thus, it is well known as the Bantay Church and Belltower. Besides the gorgeous façade of the church, we were also in awe seeing the belltower on a beautifully landscaped hill. Like any other bell tower in the region, it also served as a watch tower during the spanish era and WWII.
The next one is another ancestral house recently turned into a museum filled with old furniture and memorabilia dedicated to the late President Elpidio Quirino and his wife, Alicia Syquia. It’s is dubbed as Vigan’s Syquia Mansion. It’s really huge compared to other ancestral houses that we’ve seen. This explains the need of a guided tour to go around the area. We’ve learned much of Vigan, though, as the guides are very knowlegeable not only about the mansion but about Vigan as well. 😀
After the mansion, we did a short stop at Pagburnayan, the iconic pottery place in the city. Pagburnayan, comes from the root word burnay. It refers to the hand-crafted earthenware pots made only from Vigan.
Next stop, Baluarte. It’s a private zoo owned by a famous politician, Chavit Singson. The entrance is free for everyone as according to him, it’s his gift to the people of Ilocos Sur and tourists as well. Unlike other zoos, animals here can roam around freely and interact with the visitors, except the tigers which are locked in cages.
Wrapping up our Ilocandia trip, we ended the day visiting the famous cobblestone street of Calle Crisologo. We couldn’t help but admire the row of Spanish-style houses and imagine walking in the streets wearing a traditional Filipiniana and Barong during the bygone Spanish era. Of course, a trip to would not be complete without souvenirs and this was the perfect opportunity to shop for Vigan’s best products (antiques, abel woven products, bags, basi wine, burnay and dimili products, chicharon, jewelry, sweets, Vigan vinegar and woodcrafts)
This is a part of the Ilocos tour packaged that we availed from A&A Express Travel and Tours for only 5,999 PHP per person. Check out our next posts for complete itinerary.