Falling In Love with Ilocos Sur
After Christmas, Gab's family and I took a 10-hour drive to the province of Ilocos Sur. Normally, it would take 6 hours to get there by car, but with the holidays and everyone on vacation and Vigan City being named as one of the New 7 Wonders Cities of the world, everyone was flocking to experience and explore it. We spent a total of 2 nights and 3 days, staying at the West Loch Park Hotel which was 10 minutes away from Vigan City itself. Gab's mom planned to book us at Hotel Luna -- a freaking gorgeous hotel! We died of envy from the guests staying there, we actually toured the place one night when we stopped by to have desserts after dinner -- but because it was peak season, everywhere within the vicinity of Calle Crisologo and other heritage sites were fulled booked, unfortunately. If you want to visit Vigan, I would suggest looking into Grandpa's Inn for cheap hostel accomodations with lots of character! We had dinner at Grandpa's Inn before leaving for Manila, and I just loved the ambiance of the place. It reminded me of an old town inn somewhere in Europe :)
That being said, I can't really give you an in-depth detailed blog post on the how/where/what of Ilocos Sur. It wasn't a trip we had planned thoroughly. If you want to go to Ilocos Sur/Vigan City, I suggest the hotels I mentioned in the paragraph above, Googling or using Waze App (we used it!) on how to get there, and once you're there, ask your hotel for guides on what to see and what to do! You don't need a packaged tour, you can customize it yourself depending on what you want to see/do! Learn to let go and just have fun and be a spontaneous adventurer in your own country ;)
I'm skipping Day 1, since by the time we got to Ilocos Sur it was already 3PM. All we did was eat at the hotel, got some rest/sleep, woke up for a late dinner at Calle Crisologo, where I met some awesome locals who were also blog readers!
Here I am with some blog readers who came to Calle Crisologo on our first night in Vigan. They sent me the photo a few days later via email, for my keeping. Huge thank you to you guys for coming down to say hi!!! Definitely a wonderful welcome to Ilocos Sur <3
We woke up at 6 AM to head to the nearest beach that our hotel could take us to, so Gab's brother could catch some early morning waves to surf. It was such a picturesque place, you've got the sandy beach, beautiful water, and a mountain range in the horizon with with a slight overlay of early morning fog.
Calle Crisologo at high noon, the worst time of the day because this street is crawling with tourists. I was able to take a quick photo when the streets weren't as full, by some miracle. But believe me, it was hella crowded. We ended up not staying at all. A private lunch at Don Enrique Quema's ancestral home, one of the heritage houses you can visit in Vigan. I have more photos of the interior, but I'll make a separate blog entry for the Fore The Love of Vintage blog category :) Ilocano meals prepared for us. Bagnet, Poqui-poqui and some other stuff I forgot the name cause I didn't really eat them. Bagnet and Poqui-Poqui are my favorite! Poqui-poqui is the top left dish that looks like someone chewed up the entire dish and spit it out... I was scared to try it at first because it isnt appetizing at all, but they told me it was mashed up eggplant, so I was sold. :-P
For our last day, Gab, his sister-in-law Aerika, and I got up at 5:30 for a quick trip to Calle Crisologo. Since we arrived, we never really got to tour the entire street and see what it had to offer, because of all the tourists. At 5:30-6:30 AM, the place was perfect. No crowds but only a small number of tourists who had the same idea as we did. We walked, took some photos, looked at the historical houses and buildings that were from the 1920's or earlier. It was beautiful! I suggest you do this when you're in Vigan City during peak season. It's worth it! Not only did we get to see the entire street without crowds, we also got to witness the locals starting up their day and businesses, ready to take on the influx of tourists throughout the day! :)
For lunch, we visited the private resort of the owners of the West Loch Park Hotel, they served us lots of good food! My favorites: Vigan longganisa (sausages) and shrimp!!! Afterwards, we walked to the nearby beach, which had crazy good views and sand dunes! I've never seen anything like this view in the Philippines, it was incredible! My obligatory selfie, because it's not every day you get to stand on the edge of your country. Haha
As you can see, our trip to Ilocos Sur & Vigan isn't exactly your typical trip that you can plan through Google. We got lots of help from the locals, as well as some friends of Gab's parents. They really helped us out a lot. I can't tell you the names of the beaches we went to, since I believe they're known for which town they're located in, but I assure you can find magnificent views such as these if you just ask around! :)
Oh, Ilocos Sur, you are freaking wonderful. <3