Ilocos is already cross off my Bucket list. We finally let ourselves wander in the northernmost part of Luzon last August 30 - September 04, 2015. We could have been to Ilocos a week earlier but the strong typhoon toppled electricity transmission lines and trees in most of the Northern part. Some areas triggered floods and landslides that made some bridges and roads impassable except the national highway roads. After Typhoon Ineng left PAR, we pushed through with the plan. Our road trip was long and tiring but it was 6 days full of fun, really. Ilocos is the first and the farthest place we've gone to using our car (by land) and we thank God for guiding us through the entire trip. We never met any mishaps all throughout the travel. If you haven't been to Ilocos, then I suggest you start planning now. I don't want to give you a reason but I will let our photos speak.
Old Quirino Bridge (Ilocos Sur)
We left Manila at 4:00 a.m. and by around 10:30 a.m. (that's 6.5 hours travel including breakfast and restroom break), we were in Agoo, La Union already and decided to take light lunch because upon checking the Google maps, the next towns after Agoo to find fast food chains were about 3 hours away. Ilocos is Region 1 (wiki here), which comprises of four provinces: Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur & Ilocos Norte. Our road trip only concentrated on Ilocos.
Metro Vigan Inn
We arrived in Vigan, Ilocos Sur nearly around 1:30 p.m. and good thing, we found a Fastfood chain along the way. We bought a take-out lunch and headed to our booked hotel. Metro Vigan Inn is not at the center of Vigan City but it's just merely 3-5 minutes away drive to the Heritage Village. I loved our accommodation because aside from its cheap rate, our room comes with a gated car garage, which was really convenient. Right after eating lunch, my husband dozed off easily while I was wide-awake. I'm not really taking afternoon naps even I lack sleep or tired but I doze off early at night and wake up late the next morning.
The Vigan Heritage Village
The Vigan Heritage Village is a town in Vigan, Ilocos Sur that is considered the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia. In November 1999, it was placed on the World Heritage List commemorating its cultural significance. (source- wiki)
By 4:45 p.m., we finally set foot at the Heritage Village. We had no idea where to start the sightseeing but as soon as we stepped out of the car, I saw Max's Restaurant. The sight was familiar, as I have seen countless photos of it from the Internet. I guessed we found the threshold to the famous Heritage Village and I wasn't wrong; we are on the right track to ancestral houses. We found out later that we were actually at Calle Crisologo (de Vigan). The feeling was surreal; it dragged me back to 15th century. Calle Crisologo is a major attraction in Vigan because of the Spanish houses where the rich people lived during the Spanish era. It is the center of well-preserved Vigan houses.
A tour guide offered a Kalesa ride. We originally plan on using our car going to other attractions that are found outside the center of Vigan but due to the guide's insistence, we gave in and it was worth a try. He said it is best to see the Vigan attractions while riding a Kalesa. It was fun and we've seen more than planned.
The Bantay Bell Tower was build in 1591. It sits atop of a hill. We climbed to the highest part of the tower and greeted by an old, huge bell.
The Saint Augustine Parish Church, commonly known as Bantay Church.
Pagburnayan Pottery. It was my first time to see how a pot being made. Of course, we tried it. It was really fun. Nope, I didn't make that pot. It was the staff who made the pot and he let us do the "finishing". It was a "messy" experience and yes, I will do it again. Lol!
Calle Crisologo at 6:00 p.m.
There are more tourists when dusk finally took place. The Heritage Village is charming may it be day or night especially the famous Calle Crisologo. We dined at Cafe Leona and by 9:30 p.m., we are laid in bed saying goodnight to each other with the thought of what Day 02 have for us.
BIYAHENG ILOCOS 2015
[Cont...] Day 02: PAOAY, ILOCOS NORTE [Paoay Church, Culili Point Sand Dunes, Malacanang of the North]
Day 03: ILOCOS NORTE [Laoag Museo Norte, Bacarra Bell Tower, Cape Bojeador, Burgos Wind Farm, Kapurpurawan, Bangui Bay]
Day 04: PAGUDPUD [Casa Consuelo, Timmangtang Rock, Saud Beach, Bantay Abot Cave, Maira-ira Beach, Dos Hermanos Islands]