Saturday, March 3, 2012


Vigan is the capital city of the Philippine province Ilocos Sur. It is on the western coast of the Luzon island, facing the West Philippine Sea. 

Before starting the Vigan trip, we bought Ilocos' "kalamay" (calamay), a delicacy, in the line of stalls along McArthur Highway in Candon City. Those who will visit Ilocos should try this delicacy which is sweat and sticky and made of coconut milk, brown sugar and ground glutinous rice. 

We then enjoyed a Filipino breakfast in Twinkle's Restaurant also along McArthur Highway. It's not really considered as a restaurant but more of as a "carinderia" or eatery. Other than the usual Filipino dishes such as "adobo" and chopsuey, it also offers Ilocano cuisine such as" bagnet" or deep fried pork's meat, which is a must-try when going to Ilocos. Aside from being affordable, the food is really delicious.

We started the trip in Plaza Burgos. It is located in front of the Vigan Cathedral. This plaza is dedicated to Father Jose Burgos, one of the three martyred Filipinos at Bagumbayan (GomBurZa).

The Vigan Cathedral or also known as St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral houses the replica of the Miraculous Santo Cristo Milagroso. It is also the burial place of a great Ilocano poet named Leona Florentino. Beside this cathedral is the Archbishop's residence which is built during the Spanish Era.

To be able to roam around Vigan efficiently and conveniently, we decided to ride Kalesa. There's a line of Kalesa outside the Vigan Cathedral. Kucheros or the driver of Kalesa will take you to the historical and tourists spots in Vigan for only PhP 150 per hour. It can fit 2-3 persons. Kucheros also serve as your tour guides. 

Our Kuchero took us first in St. Augustine Church in Bantay District, Vigan.  St Augustine Church is built in 1590. It is one of the oldest churches in Ilocos Sur.

Beside the church is the Bantay Belfry. The Bantay Belfry sits on a hill, Calvario Hill. On top of this tower, one can see the green vast of pastureland and mountain view of the Province of Abra and Vigan. Some even claim that they can see most of Ilocos Sur from this tower. Built in 1591, it serves as the people's watchtower against enemies. It was also used during World Wars I and II. Bantay Belfry is guarded by caretakers who also offer a tour.

Bantay Belfry

On the topmost floor of the tower are five bells. Each bells has its own purpose, one for christening, fiesta, funeral, wedding and the biggest one is a warning bell. This warning bell is famous for being featured in a well-known Filipino film Panday.

*Photos by Mel Gabuya

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