Thursday, March 3, 2016

Travel Diary: EXPLORING VIGAN [Vigan Town, Baluarte, Hidden Garden]

I woke up the next morning with a smile. We got fully recharged from the long drive to get to Vigan from the previous day and a complimentary full breakfast meal was just perfect for a much-needed energy for Day 02 road trip. As we settled in the car to head for the first attraction to visit, I searched my bag and fished out my two pages printed itinerary. Yes, you read it right. Two.

Vigan City is charming. That is how I simply described this small city and I loved its laid-back setting. For someone who used to a city life of Manila, it was a delight to see famous fast food chains and restaurants surrounding the Burgos Plaza. There's McDonalds, Jollibee, Chowking, Max's Restaurant. We have tried their local Empanada but the taste didn't appeal to us that much. Well, it's just us, okay? Our taste bud is different from yours, so I suggest you should give it a try. Whenever we travel to any destination, we never fail to try their local delicacies. We have tried their Bagnet (oh pork!) and we give two thumbs up for that. 

Plaza Burgos

Vigan Church is right across the Plaza Burgos. There's a dancing fountain show at this plaza at night but during that time, it was under repair and I heard that it will take another month before it will be ready again for a night show. I was disappointed because it is one of the attractions in Vigan that my husband and I looked forward to experienced.

We have waited in line across the road for the photo-op in this VIGAN sign. Yes, there's a queue and two policemen assisted it since crossing the road really needs an authority to stop the vehicles for the tourists to cross in this islet. And the same for the ILOCOS SUR sign, there's also a line but without the policemen since it is safe inside the Plaza Burgos.

Vigan Church

Baluarte is a merely 12-15 minutes drive from the center of Vigan. I have read reviews online that there's nothing much to see in this zoo because the animals aren't taken properly. That didn't stop us from paying a visit. Better visit the attractions of what a place has to offer for the enrichment of knowledge.

When my husband saw these huge dinosaurs statues, he got really excited. He paced me out and gone from my sight in a snap. Have I mentioned that he's fascinated with anything that a kid enjoys? Yes, my husband never gets old; he's always a kid at heart. Well, most men are. Agree?

Some said that Baluarte has poor animals. Some said most of the animals are caged and you can only see a few animals roaming in the field; those tamed. You know what? The management knows better than tourists do. Tell me a zoo that held no caged animals. To the best of my knowledge, only African Safari does that. Besides, there's no entrance fee in Balaurte. I don't see a thing to complain about. I've experienced Tiger Safari in Subic where people get to have a close encounter with the Tigers but we are caged in a moving truck. 

As we climbed further (which made us out of breath), we saw another caged field with a pair of zebras and a group of deer. Then, there's a small covered cage for the tigers. We saw there's ongoing construction in the surrounding and then we saw a newly built building from afar. It's the Safari Gallery of Gov. Chavit Singson.

The Safari Gallery is where you can find Gov. Singson's extensive collection of shot dead wild animals. It made my jaw dropped and I have to remind myself to close my mouth from time to time. It was my first time to see a gallery of preserved wild animals. Every single preserved animal that you can see in the display has an attached picture below it with Gov. Singson in each which clearly says that he killed the animals himself or whatever. I just discovered a bit of his personal side and it gave me goosebumps. Anyway, I shrugged out any thoughts and after my eyes seen enough, I decided to head out of the gallery for fresh air. I then guessed its time to head to the next attraction. 

Hidden Garden indeed is hidden. It is far than Baluarte and there's no single sign along the road that will lead us there. The locals just tell you it is ahead over the road but believe me, you'll get tired of waiting for any sign to pop ahead. My patience got tested and my husband expressed his frustration. I hate it when he's like that. He is the most impatient human being I've known. But you know, we simply clicked. I'm the pacifier, filling him with positive vibes in times like these. 

Hidden Garden is all about pots and plants, of course. If you are a bonsai lover, then you can get lost of yourself there and stuff your eyes with many bonsai. There's a restaurant inside and upon checking their menu and from what I saw, the ambiance promises an unforgettable unique dining experience. I'd really love to sit down and order one but the time didn't let us. It was around 10:30 a.m. and it's so early to take lunch. And I can't let myself ruin our itinerary, anyway. 


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