Last updated on January 19th, 2019 at 10:32 am
Vigan is a city in the Philippines located in Ilocos Sur. It’s known for its preserved Spanish colonial and Asian architecture. And because of its beauty and its well-preserved Spanish-era streets, Vigan has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This blog post will tell you the things to do in Vigan that you can try. It is one of the oldest towns in the Philippines, so if you go there, you will experience the ancient feels of the city. You can not just enjoy the view, but Vigan can also make your tummy happy with the delicacies they have!
How to get to Vigan
How to get Vigan by plane from Manila
If you want to reach Vigan via plane, you can book a flight from Manila to Laoag thru Cebu Pacific. After arriving in Laoag, you can take a bus with Laoag-Vigan route or buses heading to Manila then drop off at Vigan. This trip will take about 2 hours and will cost 100 PHP.
How to get Vigan by bus from Manila
From Manila, there are buses that are en-route directly to Vigan like Viron, Ancieto and Partas bus. The ride will take at least 8 hours on the road and will costs around 700 PHP. This is perfect if you want to enjoy the sight seeing on the way to Vigan.
How to get Vigan by bus from Clark
If you are coming from Clark Pampanga, you can ride the shuttle or jeepney going to Dau Integrated Bus Terminal. Look for a bus going to Vigan or Laoag. Travel time can take up to 8-9 hours depending on the traffic. From Dau to Vigan there are Parta buses going there and it costs 600 PHP one way.
How to get Vigan by bus from Baguio
If you will be coming from Baguio, the trip will take 3-4 hours. You can take a bus going to Laoag and drop off at Vigan along the way. Fare is about 400 PHP one way.
Transportation around Vigan
The main transportation around Vigan is tricycle. There’s also a calesa, or a carriage that will be pulled by a horse. You can ride a calesa while exploring and sight seeing around Vigan. Prices for an hour around Vigan can be 200-300 PHP and it can fit until 4 people maximum. There are jeepneys vans or buses for longer distances.
Vigan isn’t a big city and you can go walking to most of the places.
ATM’s in Vigan
There are a number of ATM Machines in Vigan, but most are in the town area. There are different banks as well. There are also hotels that has ATM machines nearby the vicinity but it is still advisable to always bring cash for emergencies. There are also exchange offices if you are bringing cash.
Internet and Wifi connection in Vigan
Hotels and other establishments in Vigan offers free wifi for guests and tourists. The internet in Vigan used to be pretty slow, but recently it become pretty reliable but can still experience slowness at times. Luckily the connection improved and you can get LTE with Globe and Smart around Vigan.
Best time to visit Vigan
Vigan enjoys two kinds of seasons, the dry season from November to April and the wet season from May to October. It is recommended that travelers visit during dry season, especially from December to February when temperatures are much cooler and touring will most likely not be interrupted by rains and will not be really hot going around.
Daily budget to visit Vigan
For budget or DIY travelers, you’ll surely choose cheaper options especially when it comes to accommodation. before, Vigan used to be expensive to go to, but since the place began one of the best destination for travelers, foreign or local, DIY or budget travel is now very possible. Including accommodation, food, transportation and some entrance fees on the side, you can go around Vigan for a day for 1500 PHP or even less!
With 1500 PHP can be a good budget with food, transportation and accommodation plus entrance fees to some spots since msot of them are with donation or free of charge. You can go for local food for 50-70 PHP in local carenderias and around 150 PHP in local restaurants in Vigan where you will find Filipino and Western food.
For accommodation a budget room would cost minimum 1000 PHP ($20 USD) and you can go up to 5000 PHP. There are Airbnb options starting from $15-25.
Things to do in Vigan
If you want to explore Vigan and its charming colonial beauty, there are a lot things to do in Vigan. You can either book a tour package but of course, a DIY trip is also possible! Here are the activities and things you can try to do while you are in the beautiful place of Vigan.
1. Visit Syquia Mansion
The Syquia Mansion is a Majestic, 19th-century stone mansion that features grand, opulent rooms, period furnishings & art. The Syquia Mansion tour is free, but a donation may be given to the caretaker.
2. Visit Father Jose Burgos’ House
Padre Burgos House or also called National Museum, is the ancestral house and birthplace of priest patriot Fr. Jose Burgos. It is one of the notable historic structures of Vigan, the capital of the province of Ilocos Sur. It is a two-story structure located near the Provincial Capitol and close to St. Paul’s Metropolitan Cathedral.
3. Explore Crisologo Street
Calle Crisologo dominates the Mestizo district, with its cobblestone streets, malecón, horse-drawn carriages and rustic mansions, you will surely feel like you’ve been transferred to a different place, rather, to a different time!
Full of souvenirs and picturesque everywhere, you feel like walking around old towns in Spain!
4. Visit Crisologo Museum
This Museum is the house of the late former politician Floro S. Crisologo. It is now turned into a museum with memorabilia & furniture. The Crisologo Museum is found along De Los Reyes Street in Vigan.
5. Visit Baluarte Chavit Singson
Baluarte Chavit Singson or Baluarte Zoo is a zoological park in Vigan, Ilocos Sur Philippines that is owned by Chavit Singson. Baluarte is just ten minute drive from Vigan City. It features a number of live animals like ostrich, tigers, lions, ducks, camels, kangaroos, and deers among others that lives peacefully at the zoo. There is also a butterfly garden and a gallery which showcases the owner’s collection from his trip to Safari. There is no entrance fee. Operating hours is 6AM to 6PM.
6. Cruise Mestizo River
Mestizo River is a stream and is located in Province of Ilocos Sur, Ilocos, Philippines. The estimate terrain elevation above seal level is -9999 meters.
7. Experience Pagburnayan
Pagburnayan Jar Making is also a well know activity that most tourists that visits Vigan wants to experience. It is located in Brgy. Pagburnayan in Vigan. Pagburnayan is a place where they used the old and authentic methods in pottery. The root word “burnay” is an earthenware jar crafted by potter’s hands with the aid of a potter’s wheel. It uses fine sand (anay) as a tempering material and fired at a high temperature in a huge brick-and-clay ground kiln that make it is harder and more durable than other terra cotta.
8. Ride a Calesa
Experience riding the colonial era’s way of transportation! Kalesa is a horse-drawn carriage used during the Spanish colonial era in the Philippines. Up to this day, Kalesas can be seen anywhere in Vigan City and it’s one of the must experience activity while you are there. You can ride it for 200-300 PHP for an hour.
9. Visit Bantay Bell Tower
The Saint Augustine Parish Church, commonly known as Bantay Church, is a Roman Catholic church in Bantay, Ilocos Sur in the Philippines. The church was dedicated to St. Augustine of Hippo. It is also known as the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity. Bantay Bell Tower is one of Vigan’s most iconic structure. Built in 1951, you can see the panoramic view of Vigan in this historical tower.
10. Mindoro Beach
This beach is located in Barangay Mindoro, located five kilometers east of the town center. The beach, which faces the West Philippine Sea, has dark but fine sands. It’s also one of the favorite places to go to by the the tourists because like most places on the Philippines in west coast, it offers a beautiful view of the sunset. There are cottages where guests can chill and rest. One of the features that grabs the attention of the people visiting is the concrete breakwaters that looked like giant jackstones.
11. Try Longaniza
Vigan longanisa is an Ilocano sausage delicacy with plenty of garlic and spices in the mixture. This longganisa is distinct from other native longganisa version because it is small and plump, it is not sweet unlike how the more popular longganisa tastes like. Instead, The way to describe its taste is, it is spicy, salty, tangy and garlicky. You can see longaniza everywhere as street food, in local carinderias and restaurants in Vigan.
12. Try Empanada
The Vigan empanada is much in keeping with the Vigan people’s love for vegetables in their cuisine. It is similar to a thin taco that is fried to a crisp, with vegetable and meat filling. Rice flour is used for making the crust or the shell. The galapong or rice flour dough is made a day before it is used so it is a must taste if you are in Vigan. Empanadas with meat and vegetables you can find them everywhere. For 35 PHP as street food you can taste a good ones!
Where to sleep in Vigan
From modern to colonial era style hotels to budget friendly and luxury hotels, Vigan has it all for you! You can splurge on the most luxurious stay or do a DIY and be on the budget side. No matter what you choose, Vigan will still ne enjoyable, for sure.
Set in a restored, colonial heritage house, Hotel Felicidad offer Spanish-inspired architecture and air-conditioned rooms and suites with free WiFi. Located in Vigan, the hotel has a 24-hour front desk. Each soundproofed room and suite features a flat-screen cable TV and safe. A seating area, dining table and private bathroom with shower and free toiletries are included.Other facilities include a tour desk, airport and shuttle services at a surcharge. Free parking is also available. Hotel Felicidad Restaurant serves both local and international cuisine. Room price starts at 3000 PHP a night.
Bermudez Transient Rooms
Bermudez Transient Rooms in Vigan is located in Vigan, within 1.8 km of Calle Crisologo. With free WiFi and private parking are available on site. The private bathroom is equipped with a shower. An Asian breakfast is available every morning at the guesthouse. Room starts at 1000 PHP a night.
Paradores de Vigan
Located in Vigan, Paradores de Vigan has a fitness center. The rooms has air conditioning, a microwave, a fridge, a electric tea pot, a shower, free toiletries and a desk. Featuring a private bathroom, rooms at the hotel also have free WiFi, while some rooms also feature a balcony. All guest rooms in Paradores de Vigan are equipped with a flat-screen TV and a hair dryer. An Asian breakfast is served at the property. Room starts at 4999 PHP a night.
A garden and a terrace, as well as a shared lounge are offered in-house at Balay Kahel, which is located in Vigan, just one kilometer away from Bantay Bell Tower. The apartment is in an area where guests can engage in activities such as fishing and darts. This air-conditioned apartment comes with 1 bedroom, a flat-screen TV, and a kitchen. There’s a bathroom with a bath, a bidet and free toiletries. A car rental service is available at the apartment. One night can costs 1400 PHP.
Foods to try in Vigan
You’ve heard of the Vigan Longanisa as well as the Vigan Empanada, but there are still more food to try while you are in Vigan! Explore not just the Vigan’s charming colonial beauty and charm but also the gastronomical experience it can offer you.
Sinanglao is beef or carabao innards boiled in beef soup stock. The seller would then slice the innards and coagulated blood in your bowl and pour the boiling stock flavored with vinegar and kamias on it. You then add leaks and onion rings, according to your taste.
Bagnet is the double-fried crispy pork specialty of Ilocos. It’s a cross between chicharon and lechon kawali where the lean meat is crispy but not dry and the pork skin is fried to a crisp. You’ll taste the natural taste oh so yummy taste of the pork!
Tinubong is another unique kakanin of the Ilocanos. They usually come from Magsingal a town up north of Vigan. Tinubong is made up of ground glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk and sugar with strips of young coconut meats sealed in bamboo tubes. Tinubong is a rice cake of sorts in Ilocos where sticky rice is cooked with coconut milk inside bamboos.
Festivals in Vigan
Viva Vigan Festival
The Viva Vigan Festival of Arts is held during the first week of May. It includes dancing and music; and the highlight is the religious celebration on May 3 (Tres de Mayo), which starts with a Mass at Vigan’s cemetery chapel and continues with dancing in Crisologo Street and a kalesa parade.
Vigan Town Fiesta
Vigan Town Fiesta is a week-long celebration consisting of carnivals, parades, musical extravaganzas, beauty contests and nightly cultural shows. It culminates on January 25 with the celebration of the conversion of St Paul the Apostle, the town’s patron saint.
There are more places to visit in the Philippines and around Vigan. You can go to Laoag and Pagudpud in Ilocos Province.