Monday, December 2, 2013

Vigan : A must place to visit

Vigan Heritage, Calle Crisologo
 It could have took us a very long travel to reach Vigan City but in return it gave us back more than we expected of.  I am proud to have visited this place and will not forget an extra ordinary experience comparing it from other regions in the Philippines that I have been.  Some people do not enjoy traveling because they only see places having  no differences at all.  Typically what you'll see traveling in the whole Philippine Islands are the views of the mountains, seas on the other side of the road and rice fields.  Looking at that point view will really make you realize that there are no differences at all and you ended up thinking of wasting time and money going out and visiting other places.  Pakner4lyf and I loves to travel.  Whenever we visit new places we try to observe and search things that is not in our place and you'll get surprised that there really is a difference and we still appreciate the common things we share as we are connected as a Filipino.  That's how we enjoy traveling and most of all at the end of our travel we go home with lots of ideas we learned from the new people we meet.

At first, I have no idea of what will happen in this travel since this Vigan trip is just an extra itinerary. I have already mentioned this from my previous post. I only had an idea about Vigan through other bloggers and travellers who posted their own Vigan experiences in the internet.  We hit the road Sunday afternoon and we are from Pangasinan heading to Ilocos region.  We stopped at La Union to visit a relative.  From them we learned that it will took us a 4-5 hour drive from there.  Pakner4lyf decided to call the hotel we intended to stay.  It was a good decision since we arrived Vigan past 10 o'clock in the evening.  It was a good idea that  we chose to spend a night in Vigan so Pakner4lyf had a complete rest to regain his energy for our Vigan tour the next day.

I am glad to have looked for Vigan in the internet and most travelers made a comment that Museums are  closed during Mondays.  Since our first day in Vigan is Monday,  I have already looked for places to go aside from the Museums.  We stayed at Grandpa's Inn located near the Plaza and the Vigan's City Hall.  All Museums are also located within the area and the famous "Calle Crisologo" highlighting the view of the Old Spanish Houses.  Here's how I made our tour:

Day 1

Mc Donalds in Vigan City
All of these places are not too far from the area we chose to stay.  Pakner4lyf drive the car to visit these places.  All the Bigueños (Vigan Residents) are friendly to give the exact directions on how to reach the places we wished to go.  I forget to include the Dancing Fountain attraction in the Plaza.  We should have been at the Plaza after going Hidden Garden to witness the Dancing Fountain.  We did see the Plaza the next day but the Dancing Fountain can only be viewed during night time.
Day 2
Take note that most of these places ask a very minimal fee or donations for entrance.  Comparing to other themed parks that asks for parking fees and separate entrance fees per person that really costs too much.    

We can just walk from our hotel to these museums. But I said to Pakner4lyf that it would be better to ask the Hotel Staff to get us a Calesa to help us get to these museums instead of driving the car.  Most of the streets in the City Proper were One Way.  Since we are not familiar with the streets it's going to consume us more time looking for the Museums.  Calesa Ride costs P150.00 per hour four(4) adults can fit inside the Calesa.  Good thing that my kids were still little so can still have them seated on our laps and we needed to hire one Calesa only.  We are also blessed to have a very good and kind  Calesa driver.  He can fluently speak Tagalog.  From him we get to learn more about Vigan and was very entertaining to answer all of our question.

Why I consider our Vigan trip to be different and extra ordinary?

1.  Because of all wonderful and beautiful people. 

My family noticed that all Bigueños / Ilocanos were polite.  They warmly welcome tourists, gladly assist you in needs and were honest.  One remarkable experience was in a store buying the Ilocos Vinegar.  It was getting dark that time and my mom hardly noticed the money she gave to the vendor.  The vinegar costs for  P45 she already gave P40 (she handed two pieces of P20 bill to the vendor) then asked me if I had a P5 coin to pay the vinegar. While searching our pockets, the vendor said, "Oh! this one is already P500."  She was so honest and returned it right away.  How many people will be honest and return that money?  I already mentioned our Calesa driver.  He was very considerate to my children.  You know three toddlers!  He gladly assists us specially when the children needs to get in/out of the Calesa.  He insists to have the camera and took photos of the children and the family.  Very friendly indeed!  He was not only a driver he played a tour guide and at the same time acted like a part of our family.  Tourist guides and hotel staffs were all very nice and accommodating.

2. Tourist Friendly

The Local Government of Vigan City did a great job organizing and promoting tourism in this area.  It sure did help local Bigueños earn and create more livelihood because of tourism.  Comparing it to other cities, I haven't seen beggars on streets nor children selling stuffs.  Frequent travelers know what I am saying.  As soon as these children/adult vendors saw an approaching car in the parking lot, they will run towards the car knocking on the window and asks you to buy something from them - they are so irritating and it makes me feel so harassed.  I even noticed that souvenir prices were all regulated no overpricing.  In every places that we've been, they have uniform prices.  In every spots that we have visited there is a huge map of Vigan showing your location and the places that you should pay a visit (refer on the photo below).  It is not hard to plan and organize your own trip here as in our experience.  We can say that this is not the last trip here we are wishing for more trips to Vigan ahead - we want to get back here!
Map guiding every tourists of their current location

3.  Philippine Culture Preserved

I hated History/Araling Panlipunan Subjects during school days.  Because of this tip I get to appreciate the things I learned from school.  While on the road I started to recall Northern Regions and kept asking my Pakner4lyf what part of the map we are in and recall historic events that took place in here.  Vigan bring us back closer to the Old Philippine Culture that major cities in the Philippines are starting to loose.  Vigan is an actual experience to learn more and relate with the Philippine History and Culture. 

If you haven't been to Vigan I encorage you to plan your own trip now.  If you do, I'd love hear your own personal experiences too.
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