Article: Marianne Q. Rabang/Topic: Travel
Speaking English in the classroom is so much easier than using it in actual situations. However, we all know that the fastest way to improve in learning a language is actually using it. So, it’s time to go out and speak real English!
Hi everyone, we are Eri, Hyemin, Hanna, Mars and Joy. We went to Vigan City for a short vacation. Join us in our mini tour in one of the World Heritage Sites in the Philippines. We took lots of photos while we were at it. Enjoy the ride with us! (PS. The place is a bit warm compared to Baguio City, so we recommend wearing lighter clothes).
Hungry? Let’s Grab a Bite and Eat Empanada
After the trip, we were totally exhausted. Imagine losing your energy just by staying in the bus for 6 hours. The next best move is to fill our stomachs with a local favorite. The perfect food for a quick fill is none other than Vigan empanada. Of course, we had to use English in communicating with the empanada vendors.
The combination of longganisa (ground pork produced locally), sweet papaya, and egg is just perfect! Pour in some sukang Iloko (Ilocos vinegar) to add a tinge of sourness and that extra excitement. Trust us, it’s really delicious!
⭐ COST: One special empanada costs 35 pesos only. What a great deal!
Ready? Let’s Go for a Ride
Since we wanted to have the Spanish experience, we had to ride the famous kalesa (horse-drawn calash). Three people can fit in one kalesa so we rented two. The kalesa ride is a must when you’re in Vigan. The kalesa owner will be your tour guide and will take you to some historical sites and popular tourist destinations in and out of the City. Ask them anything in English and they will give you a brief history of the place.
⭐ COST: An hour aboard this traditional ride costs around 150 pesos. Be careful, some kalesa owners won’t tell you how much time you’ve spent so you need to budget your time on your own.
First stop – Bantay Church and Bell Tower
To start our journey, we first headed to the nearby town of Bantay.
With a nice view overlooking Metro Vigan (Vigan City and its neighboring towns), the Bantay Church and Bell Tower is just where you need to go. Don’t mind the short climb; at the end of the creaky staircases lies a fresh and serene view. Meanwhile, according to a custom with unknown origins, you can make a wish in front of the church that you visited for the first time. (So we did ^^)
⭐ COST: It’s FREE but donations are somewhat mandatory.
Second stop – Padre Burgos Museum
Artefacts, paintings, and photographs speak a thousand words. Our next destination was Padre Burgos Museum slash Elpidio Quirino Museum. There were various kinds of exhibits such as garments and years old paintings. Aside from these, traditional embroidery, cooking implements, and more are also present. A photo exhibit on women empowerment was also shown during that time.
⭐ COST: It’s FREE but you can donate if you feel like it. Don’t worry, the money will be used for the maintanance of the place.
Third stop – Pagburnayan (Traditional Pottery)
We were able to see firsthand how a burnay is molded and made. From clay to pot, it was quite a process! Luckily, there were many people in the vicinity so a live show was conducted for us to see.
Surrounding the area are tall trees, vibrant plants, and of course rows and rows of clay pots!
⭐ COST: It’s totally FREE. You can buy souvenirs from this place.
Fourth stop – Old Houses, Calle Crisologo
Walking around this place eased our minds. It’s architecture is totally different from Baguio City so it was refreshing for us to be here. Souvenir shops were also lined in an organized fashion so looking through them was a breeze! The place looked clean and highly photogenic. So… we took our time and shamelessly took photos here and there.
⭐ COST: Souvenirs cost as low as 15 pesos (keychains) to 300 pesos (shirts). There are also local snacks and delicacies that you can buy (chichacorn, bibingka, nuts, and more!).
Hungry… again? Let’s Have Lunch!
Guess what? After all the walking, talking, photo snapping and souvenir searching, we’re hungry again. It’s time to get cozy and have some lunch. We went straight to Kusina Felicitas in Grandpa’s Inn to replenish our energy. For those who have no idea what to order, just ask the waiters. They all speak English so it’s 100% convenient and customer-friendly! Here was our menu for the day:
The weather was warm enough so we didn’t get soup dishes. Instead, we feasted on authentic Ilocano dishes (poqui poqui, longanisa, bagnet) paired with rice. Yum!
⭐ COST: We can’t remember exactly (we’re so useful, right?), but we chose dishes good for 3 people. For 5 people, it was around 150-250 pesos per person.
Energized? Let’s Go to Baluarte
Baluarte is always a good place to visit, especially when traveling with children. Luckily, the five of us are all children at heart! It was nice to see different animals in one area, but it was also equally heartbreaking to see them roam around in a somewhat unnatural habitat. We continue to hope that they are all taken care of properly.
⭐ COST: Totally FREE.
Need More? Get a Dose of Vitamin Sea
We were really tired after the Baluarte trip. Our energies were drained. After a whole day of touring Vigan, we wanted to take a rest somewhere far from fellow tourists. It’s a good thing that Hanna suggested we go somewhere near the sea. We went to Caoayan, just 15 minutes away by tricycle. It was peaceful and calming. We couldn’t wait for the sunset but it was a nice time to unwind.
⭐ COST: One way tricycle ride to Caoayan costs around 10-15 pesos per person.
Night time in Vigan looks slightly different from it’s morning counterpart. Bright lights illuminate Calle Crisologo and the bars are open. Don’t miss the dancing fountain light show at around 7:30 P.M.! After that, you can head back with your friends and grab your favorite cool beverages. Now this is a chill way to end the day.
Well, this was quite a long read. We hope you got some ideas for your next Vigan trip~! A quick message to all foreigners and English language learners: Don’t worry, you won’t get lost here. Just use your English skills, ask for directions, and enjoy!
Look forward to more adventures with us, your Pines staff ^^ Cheers! From Eri, Hyemin, Hanna, Mars and Joy ♥️️
Looking for more places to visit outside Baguio City? Check out 6 Things to Do in Manila. You can also read this quick preview of the beautiful Batanes. For some island hopping fun, here are our Hundred Islands travel tips. Enjoy!