Ilocos Sur: Time travel in Vigan

June 16, 2014

For 300 years, Philippines had been colonized by Spaniards and it reflects on Filipino culture. Fortunately, we can see their remarkable contribution in our history by traveling back in time. Yes, it’s possible!
The most photographed part of Vigan. Calle Crisologo (Crisologo street)

Sculpted image of Jesus Christ in a bark

People travel to Vigan City in Ilocos Sur to experience what is Philippines like when it was under the Spanish government. Vigan City is the favorite spot when filming history-themed movies. It boasts magnificent century-old architecture of ancestral houses and churches, fascinating handicrafts and of course, good food!

Calle Crisologo at night.
The stretch of Crisologo street comes to life more with dimmed lights at night. A romantic walk-in-the-park for couples.

Calesa. Horse at work even at night.

While jeeps are the kings of the roads in Manila, Calesas (horse carriages) are in Vigan. A ride costs 100 pesos.

Where to go? Immerse yourself in Vigan's rich heritage.
City of Vigan seal.
We stayed in Vigan for two days and we would like other people to experience as much as we did. Here are the things you can do in this historic place if you want to spice up your weekend.


I chose CASA TEOFILA LODGE as it is recommended by some travel bloggers. Since it’s not located in the heritage park, the accommodation fee is much cheaper compared to other hotels.
Contact number: 0920-690-5999

A room good for 5-8 people. 

Interesting pieces. L- a ceiling lamp R- stained glass windows.

Our goal is to spend most of our time wandering outside and the lodge’s purpose is only to keep our things safe and for sleeping. The place is relaxing and quiet because there are no tricycles and cars around. An overnight stay costs Php1,900 for a room sharing with 3 BEDS, air-conditioned, with private toilet, cable TV, and free Wi-Fi. They also have a cafeteria and huge parking lot.

*We rode a tricycle throughout our tour in Vigan City. A single ride costs Php80, so we just shared the fare. Souvenir shops, restaurants, Plaza Salcedo, Empanadaan and the museums/ancestral houses are close to each other in Vigan Heritage Park, so the entire day could be spent by walking. Just ask the locals for directions.

On the other hand, Bantay Church and Bell tower, Baluarte ni Chavit, Ruby’s Pagburnayan and Hidden Garden are quite far so we just rode a tricycle.

DIY (do-it-yourself) ITINERARY:

Day 0 = FRIDAY
(We’re supposed to ride the last trip to Vigan around 10:30pm. Unfortunately, there are many passengers so we waited until 2am.)
2AM: ETD PARTAS BUS TERMINAL in Pasay City to Vigan

12NN: ARRIVAL in Vigan in front of Vigan Municipal Hall. Take a tricycle to Casa Teofila Lodge. (rest)
2PM: Ride a tricycle to Calle Crisologo (take some pictures, strolling)
3PM: Walked from Calle Crisologo to Syquia Mansion (take some pictures)

~We’re not able to visit Crisologo Museum due to lack of time. I’ve chosen Ruby’s Pagburnayan instead
4PM: Ride a tricycle to Ruby’s Pagburnayan (try jar/pot making, take some pictures)
5PM: Ride a tricycle to Bantay Church and Bell tower
~Had some snacks in front of Bantay Church
6PM: Ride a tricycle to Empanadaan (eat empanada and maruya)
7PM: Stroll at Calle Crisologo again (buy some souvenirs)

~We wanted to have dinner at Café Leona but it was crowded and there’s still a lot of customers on waiting list
8PM: Walk to Empanadaan from Calle Crisologo (dinner)
~Plaza Salcedo is beside Empanadaan, we watched the musical fountain show for a while
9PM: Ride a tricycle back to Casa Teofila (rest)

Day 2 = SUNDAY
9AM: Check-out from Casa Teofila Lodge. Ride a tricycle to Hidden Garden (brunch + lunch)
12:30PM: Ride a tricycle to Baluarte ni Chavit (take some pictures, hold blue parrots and snakes!)

2PM: Ride a tricycle to Vigan Longganisa Factory and bought cheaper Longganisa and Bagnet. Afterwards, another ride to Partas Bus Terminal
2:30PM: Bus ride to Cubao Terminal
1AM: Arrival in Cubao

How to go to Vigan City:

FROM PASAY CITY: Partas Bus lines bound to Laoag. The bus terminal is located near Winston Hotel along EDSA-PASAY. Tell the bus conductor to get you off at the Vigan Capital.

FARE: Php680 one-way ticket

TRAVEL TIME: Approximately 12 hours (with 3 bus stops)

NOTE: There’s no reservation for tickets, first-come-first-served basis. If you’re planning to go to Vigan on weekends, go to the bus terminal on Friday evening so you can arrive in Vigan the next day.
Before, there was Florida Bus line that offered sleeper’s bus with no stops, has sleeping beds and comfort rooms. It saves time as it only travels 8-9 hours from Manila to Vigan. Unfortunately, it was involve in an accident that killed some passengers, including the comedian Tado Jimenez.

Florida Bus line was suspended due to the incident. As a result, passengers bound to Vigan and Laoag flocked at Partas Bus terminals in Pasay and Cubao. We arrived at the bus station around 9pm hoping to travel early, but the terminal was jam-packed with people and buses were only few. We waited for hours until we got the 2am slot. We arrived in Vigan at about 1pm.


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