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Located in the northern part of Luzon in the Philippines, the UNESCO World Heritage city of VIGAN is arguably the finest illustration of a 16th-century Spanish colonial town in Asia. Its townscape is made up of well laid-out ancestral houses that are designed with red tile roofs, thick walls, huge wooden doors, high ceiling rooms and sliding capiz shell windows separated only by an intersecting pavements of broadly rectangular quarried stones in a grid street pattern that represents a coming together of the old European, Chinese and Filipino architecture.
While here, feel the city come alive at daylight with the busy flow of commerce in most of the lower floors of the houses and the clattering sounds of horse-drawn carriages called kalesa; and then witness how it slows down in the evening and turn into a tranquil block of old houses where you can freely walk on its street of cobblestones with golden lamps overhead guiding your very steps.
The heritage city of Vigan uses the three-wheeled tricycle in getting around its areas with a P10 minimum fare, depending on its distance from the town. Tourists however, prefer to ride a kalesa as they go on a tour to better feel the old and Hispanic vibe of the place. Fare is P150 per hour per carriage.
HOW TO GET TO VIGAN
Vigan can be reached both by air and land.
You may take the flight offered by Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific from Manila, Cebu and Davao which will get you to Laoag City. From Laoag airport, head out to the city proper on a tricycle. At the city proper, ride a bus to Vigan. Travel consumes 2 hours the most. Fare is P300. The buses to Vigan will only be up until 6PM. Past that, you will have to take a bus bound for Manila or Baguio. Tell the driver that you will head out to Vigan.
Access to Vigan by land is possible from these areas in Luzon.
- Manila to Vigan – travel time is 9 hours, depending on the traffic situation. From Manila, take a Partas, Florida or Farinas bus to Vigan. Lowest fare is P665. Bus stations are located in Cubao and Pasay. Bus trip will only be available until 10PM. (If you are looking for a travel guide for Manila, check this link: Manila Budget Travel Guide)
- Clark to Vigan – From the airport, head out to the shuttle service or ride a taxi and drop off to Dau Bus terminal where you can take the bus for Vigan. Shuttle service is P100. Travel time to Vigan is 7-9 hours, bus fare is around P800.
- Baguio to Vigan – Take the buses bound for Laoag and drop off in Vigan. Travel time is 5 hours, depending on the traffic situation. Bus fare is P400.
TOP ATTRACTIONS IN VIGAN
Here are 7 top tourist spots that you can cover in a day tour while in Vigan.
SYQUIA MANSION MUSEUM
DANCING FOUNTAIN AT PLAZA SALCEDO
BANTAY BELL TOWER & CHURCH
ABEL LOOM WEAVING
VIGAN IN A DAY
Vigan can be enjoyed in a day, from sunup to sundown, but can also be stretched to an itinerary for 2 to 3 days. The most popular way of getting around the top tourist spots of Vigan is by riding the kalesa which will take you to 8-10 key places in Vigan. Price per hour per carriage is P150. In an average, the tour to top destinations in Vigan will take for about 3 hours depending on your stay for each place. An alternative is by going around in a tricycle or a van which can be arranged with your hotel or with any available public vehicle driver outside Calle Crisologo.
Here is a suggested itinerary for Vigan that is good for 1 day only. Estimated budget per person for a party of two is P900.00.
|To Baluarte Zoo||7:30AM||P50|
|Abel Loom Weaving||9:30AM||P10|
|Bantay Church and Bell Tower||10:00AM||P10|
|Back to Calle Crisologo||11:30AM||P10|
|Lunch at Café Leona||12:00PM||P200|
|St. Paul’s Cathedral|
|Snacks at Burgos Empanadahan||3:00PM||P50|
|Buy Souvenir Items||4:00PM|
|Stroll Around Calle Crisologo||5:00PM|
|Dinner at Café Uno||6:00PM||P200|
TOP THINGS TO DO IN VIGAN
Here are top things to do and activities that are worth a try in the city of Vigan.
- Stroll the streets of Calle Crisologo during the Blue Hour and feel the wondrous delight it brings after a busy day.
- Experience authentic Ilocano cuisine by pigging out on some of the local favorites such as bagnet, empanada and longganisa.
- Try a hands-on pottery making experience in any of the Pagburnayan factories.
- Ride a kalesa and feel the colonial Spanish vibe around Vigan.
WHERE TO STAY IN VIGAN
Here is a mix of average to budget hotels and inns that can be found near Calle Crisologo.
- Escolta Homey Lodge Check rate and availability here
- Luzon Inn and Restaurant Check rate and availability here
- Hotel Veneto De Vigan Check rate and availability here
- My Vigan Home Hotel Check rate and availability here
English is widely understood in the area. But in case you want to speak the local tongue, here are phrases that proved to be useful.
English to Ilocano ( the most prevalent language among the locals in city of Vigan)
Thank You – Agyamanak
Good Morning – Naimbag a bigat
Good Afternoon – Naimbag a malem
Good Evening – Naimbag a rabii
How Much? – Sagmamano daytoy?
Where is… – Sadino ti…
BE A RESPONSIBLE TRAVELER
Lastly, have fun and don’t forget to be awesome! 😉
EXTEND YOUR TRIP
Complete your trip to the north by visiting Pagudpud and Laoag. Check out the budget travel guides below:
Or, visit other top destinations in Luzon:
- Baler Budget Travel Guide
- Zambales: Anawangin, Nagsasa and Capones Budget Travel Guide
- Palaui Island Budget Travel Guide
- Baguio Budget Travel Guide
- Sagada Budget Travel Guide
- Cordillera Budget Travel Guide
Or, go to Visayas and visit these fascinating islands:
Or, go to the surfing capital of the Philippines – Siargao! Budget Travel Guide here.
Or visit other countries in Asia:
- Bangkok, Thailand Budget Travel Guide
- Chiang Mai, Thailand Budget Travel Guide
- Johor Bahru, Malaysia Budget Travel Guide
- Singapore Budget Travel Guide
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