Sunday, February 6, 2011

vigan day tour

getting around vigan is easy. like most places in the philippines, tricycle also serves as the main means of transportation in vigan. i'm amused with how a tricycle comes in different forms across the country. this goes to show how filipinos can be ingenious!

well, aside from these tricycles, calesas or horse-drawn carriages are also aplenty completing vigan’s historical character. however, the calesa is mainly for tourists, exploring the small city while the locals usually get around by a tricycle.

in order to complete the historical feel of our tour, we opted to hire a calesa. we started our tour at 9 in the morning after we had our needed rest due to the weariness of the long travel.

Breakfast in Vigan

some say that one way to truly experience a different place is to taste its local food. what better place than the street-side eatery where most locals eat?

Gaizel's Carinderia
The only noteworthy food above
is the dinakdakan at the upper right.
It's the Ilocano version of sisig.

this came convenient for us since we were a stingy pack so to speak. our “mamang kutsero” (person who handles the calesa) recommended the eatery after we blatantly rejected his typical fast food suggestions. anyway, one thing i noticed in the eatery was that, most of the food were either pork or beef. i was kinda disappointed since i’m not really a sucker for meat.

Museums and more Museums

while cebu turned some of its ancestral houses into restaurants, vigan on the other hand, turned its ancestral houses into museums.

 Arce Mansion
I had known from my colleagues that they rented costumes here,
which they wore during a breakfast buffet. Apparently this time, the mansion had not yet
opened for the day. We asked Mamang Kutsero and sadly,
he had no idea about the buffet and the costumes for rent in the mansion. :(

 Crisologo Museum
This is used to be the home of the Crisologos, a prominent political family in Ilocos Sur.
  Floro Crisologo was their patriarch until his gruesome killing in 1970.
Memorabilia of his tragic death can be found in the museum's basement.
His death remains unsolved up to this day.

 Around Crisologo Museum

 National Museum - Padre (Father) Burgos House
This was the birthplace of Father Burgos, one of the 3 priests (GomBurZa)
executed by Spain for suspected rebellion.

the first part of our tour were these old houses that belonged to the prominent families in vigan. the families’ memorabilia are still being kept in these houses, even including their old clothes and shoes. with us being there gave me this thought. back in the days the commoners could only look up to these grand houses but now, we the commoners in present time, easily tread on their floors and creaky stairs. nothing indeed lasts forever.

Old Structures

along with the old houses, there are a number of old structures around vigan as well.

 St. Augustine Church (1590)

Bantay Belfry (1591) of St. Augustine Church
Our guide told us that this was where the famous panday was shot.
If you don't mind the steep climb, you can see the magnificent view of Vigan
on top of the bell tower.

Vigan’s Livelihood

aside from its thriving tourism, pottery is also famous in vigan. we went to this “Pagburnayan”, where we got to see the hard labor involved in making clay pots. if i were to make a clay pot, it would be priceless! it's not that i’m good at it but the difficulty involved. but i guess the potters are already used to the intense labor and besides, it’s a total body workout!

How to Make the Burnay Jar
The topless guy tediously spins the wooden base by his feet,
while the other guy molds the clay. One real tough job!

Burnay Jars, Yet to be Finished

Hidden Garden

as we progressed on our tour, i realized that the tour was becoming like the tour i had in bohol. the places that we had to go were fixedly set. though, i know that it’s for the benefit of both the tourists and the tour guide but sometimes, i question on some of the places why they are included.

we went to this hidden garden where we saw plants that can be seen back home, small ponds, and few caged birds. yes, i admired how the big garden was well tended but it’s a little off if one is up for history.

Hidden Garden

my memorable experience there was eating the famous empanada in vigan. i wasn’t sure if it’s really the actual empanada everyone’s talking about. well the empanada that we tried was predominantly made up of green papaya with egg and bits of vigan longganiza, wrapped like in a lumpia wrapper or something like that, and deep-fried. it is recommended to eat it with vinegar. the different taste quite surprised me and i wasn’t able to finish it because of too much oil.

 Vigan's Empanada


baluarte is a zoo owned by chavit singson, another controversial politician in this region and who is also known all throughout the country. i discourage tourists to come here on weekends since that would mean competing with the locals. this seemed to be a famous weekend activity in vigan.

The Fake Life-Size? Dinosaur

Go Around by the Help of a Hapless Pony

First time to see a Camel!

The fear was all over my face! lol

entrance is free but the guys in baluarte know how to make sure that you give them a tip. very clever indeed.

Around Plaza Burgos

our tour ended in baluarte but my brother and i were itching for more. so we went around the city's center, plaza burgos.

from top to bottom. fast food chains, a bookstore and bank in an old-looking facade.
special mention to greenwich wherein we had our feast after our tour.
plaza maestro, an open-type mall. we saw some shops of local brands.
la veranda is an inexpensive coffee shop and has a free wi-fi!
but the place is too small for their videoke machine. 
st. paul's metropolitan cathedral is within the vicinity and this was
where floro crisologo was shot while he was attending a mass. such a horrible and tragic death.
calle crisologo at night and one of the souvenir shops along calle crisologo.

travel period: aug 6-9, 2010
2. vigan day tour
4. things to do in clark


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