Traveling to North (Vigan + Ilocos Norte) soon but still don’t have concrete plans yet? We rounded up the best attractions and must-try local food, must-visit restaurants and cafes to get the most out of your Vigan + Ilocos Norte trip. Vigan is one of most popular city from Ilocos Sur and by fat the best one to visit.
Going away from the very busy atmosphere of Manila is one of the best gift you could give to yourself. Going to north is probably the best way to do a quick weekend trip as it is accessible by land and commuting will never be an issue. For anyone not familiar in the northern part of the Philippines, Vigan is the best starting point, the surroundings of this city is family-friendly, tourist-friendly, and the locals are very hospitable and helpful.
HOW TO GET TO VIGAN
Via Bus (Travel time: 10+ hours)
- Cubao, Bus Terminal
Contact number: 7278278
- Pasay City, Bus Terminal
Contact number: 8528194
- Manila, Bus Terminal
Contact number: 7433242
- Manila, Bus Terminal
Contact number: 731 4507
Journey Freaks’ tip: Take a night bus that departs Manila terminals around late at night (8:30PM – 11:00PM) to experience no traffic. Not only can you cover a lot of ground without losing time, but you can save energy as well!
Via Private Car (Travel time: 6.5+ hours)
Journey Freaks’ tip: By bringing your own car has its own advantage(s) like cutting a ton of time in the road! You can do a NLEX-SCTEX-TPLEX route from Manila to Vigan. Use Waze for utmost convenience! You can view updated toll fees here: NLEX-SCTEX, TPLEX
WHERE TO STAY IN VIGAN
- Vigan Plaza Hotel (P3000 – P9500 per night)
- Hotel Luna (P6200 – P13000 per night)
- Hotel Felicidad (P3000 – P4950 per night)
- One Vittoria Hotel (P5000 – P10800 per night)
- Escolta’s Homey Lodge (Starts at P1,000 per night)
- Casa Arcellana (Starts at P700 per night) – We stayed here at one of their fan rooms, we chose fan room since we’re always out exploring and we just head home at night. We both agreed that we don’t need a/c room since province tend to have colder temp at night.
In Casa Arcellana, the feeling is very homey.
Spacious parking at Casa Arcellana
Journey Freaks’ tip: During non-peak season, you can go to Vigan without prior booking. But if you’re coming in a big group, it’s best to find and reserve in advance for less hassle.
HOW TO GET AROUND VIGAN
- Tricycle (starts at P10.00 for regular ride per person, P600 for tricycle tours for 2pax)
Journey Freaks’ tip: You can rent a tricycle for a fair price to tour you around Ilocos Sur. You may contact Kuya Raymond (09262589397) if you want tricycle tour around Vigan.
Kuya Raymond, our trusted tricycle driver. He takes really good photos too!
- Calesa (P150/hour)
Journey Freaks’ tip: This may be an option to experience the old cobbled streets of Calle Crisologo but we don’t encourage travelers to try this as much as possible.
WHERE TO EAT IN VIGAN
- Sixbros Lutong Bahay and Grill – This is a carinderia-style place perfect for those who are looking for affordable local cuisine.
Journey Freaks’ tip: Their budget meal is really worth it!
We love Sixbros' dinakdakan, poqui-poqui and dinuguan!
- Casa Jardin – This place opens in the late afternoon perfect time for meryenda! Their empanada is one of the locals’ favorite and their okoy too is worth checking out! Also, don’t miss to devour their foot-long empanada!
Journey Freaks’ tip: Casa Jardin is just a few blocks away from Calle Crisologo.
Casa Jardin's garden-ish setup is on-point!
- Hidden Garden – This place is a sanctuary on its own (food + wide variety of plants which you can buy at fair prices)
Journey Freaks’ tip: We do not recommend this for dining as their price is expensive for the quality.
- Cafe Leona – This is one of the few food institutions in Vigan. Dine in at their Al-fresco section at night.
Journey Freaks’ tip: Try their famous pinakbet pizza for a unique Ilocano cuisine experience.
- Panganen Ken Ihawan Toy Ciudad Vigan – Another carinderia-style eatery. This is also a go-to place of the locals during lunch/dinner. Cheap yet awesome food!
- Kuboville (Ilocano dishes and grilled steaks)
- Empanadahan sa Plaza – Dine in here at night with your barkada, family or even locals!
- First Sinanglaw – Best sinanglaw as per the locals!
PLACES TO VISIT IN VIGAN
- Pagburnayan (Entrance fee: Donation) – Pagburnayan in English is pottery barn. Channel your inner Demi Moore or Patrick Swayze from the 1990s film, Ghost, here at Pagburnayan. You will learn how each pot is made and the hard work it takes to create per piece.
You can try to make your own pot from scratch... but it's going to be messy throughout.
- Rowilda’s Loom Weaving (Entrance fee: FREE) – We recommend visiting Rowilda’s Loomweaving at Camanggaan, Vigan. Here you will see the processes to make fabrics for traditional woven product.
Journey Freaks’ tip: You can buy different woven product at very low prices. We highly recommend buying their placemat set, face towels and even their doormats!
You can buy very cheap but quality woven products here as pasalubong.
- Syquia Mansion (Entrance fee: P100) – Visit this majestic, 19th-century stone mansion along Quirino Blvd to know the history of Syquia family, one of the fabulously wealthy clans in Vigan. By far, this has been the best museum in Vigan, full of furniture, paintings and other antique collections. We loved that they have very informative tour guide.
Journey Freaks’ tip: Walk through Calle Crisologo towards Gordion Inn or the Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Syquia Mansin is in the corner of Quirino Blvd.
- Vigan Dancing Fountain at Plaza Salcedo (Entrance fee: FREE) – After a day full of walking, sit and relax at Plaza Salcedo and watch Vigan’s dancing fountain as it syncs to music and lights.
Schedule: Mondays to Fridays, 7:30PM to 8:00PM, Saturdays to Sundays, 7:30PM to 8:00PM and 8:30PM to 9:00PM
Journey Freaks’ tip: Make sure to be there 15mins before the scheduled time of the show to get seats.
- Bantay Church and Bell Tower (Entrance fee: Donation) – Visit and climb the famous Bantay bell tower and prepare to be amazed with the surrounding view of the town.
Journey Freaks’ note: Bantay church bell tower was Diego and Gabriela Silang’s favorite date spot during the 17th century.
- Baluarte Zoo (Entrance fee: FREE)
Journey Freaks’ note: We’re just quite saddened that some animals are in poor living conditions. Also, Baluarte mostly have *dead* animals, trophy heads – they gave us chills. Yup, we’re not going here again, very unethical.
The leopard in the background looked very sedated during our visit,it is heartbreaking to see
- Calle Crisologo (Entrance fee: FREE) – The most popular landmark in all of Vigan, visitors may explore cobbled street of Calle Crisologo that will surely transport you to a different era.
Journey Freaks’ note: Visit this street around blue hour, golden hour and late at night for a more picturesque view.
You can dine along Calle Crisologo at night
Added note, you can borrow and try dressing up like Illustrados and walk through Calle Crisologo FOR FREE. Just look for this establishment.
Time to freshen up! Come have a scoop of delectable ice cream
- Burgos Museum (Entrance fee: Donation)
- Crisologo Museum (Entrance fee: Donation)
- Vigan Provincial Jail Museum (Entrance fee: Donation)
This wooden box with intricate carvings was given by Chiang Kai-shek to Elpidio Quirino
WHAT TO BUY IN VIGAN FOR PASALUBONG
- Vigan Longganisa (Irma’s)
- Bagnet (Irma’s)
We bought a kilo of this and transported to Manila - still remained very crispy and bomb!
- Turones de Mani
- Woven products
- Basi (fermented alcoholic beverage)
- Sukang Iloco
- Royal Bibingka (Tongson’s)
FROM VIGAN TO ILOCOS NORTE (SIDETRIP)
We availed Kuya Raymond’s offer to join a group going to Ilocos Norte. The trip is just a day tour so it’s perfect for people who are time-constrained but still want to explore nearby cities. We started the trip around 6AM together with 4 guides and 6 other travelers. Here’s some of the places we went and explored during our sidetrip to Ilocos Norte:
- Ilocos Norte Arc (Entrance fee: FREE)
- Paoay Church (Entrance fee: FREE) – This church left us speechless! The architecture style of this church is an absolute perfection.
- Kapurpurawan Rock Formation (Entrance fee: P25) – NOT WORTHY TO VISIT, WE REPEAT, NOT WORTHY TO VISIT!
- Malacanang of the North (Entrance fee: P30) – This is just okay. Meh. Nothing too special to see.
- Bangui Wind Farm (Entrance fee: FREE) – Popular landmark of Ilocos Norte
- Paoay Sand Dunes (Entrance fee: P625 per pax) – This is by far the best Ilocos Norte can ever give to any tourist!
The best decision during this trip! Prepare to scream your lungs out!
- Pagudpud (Entrance fee: FREE)
- Cape Bojeador Lighthouse (Entrance fee: FREE)
SAMPLE EXPENSES FOR 2PAX (3D2N):
TRANSPORTATION: Via Regular Bus (Partas) = P665 per person (P1,330)
TRANSPORTATION: Via Regular Bus (Partas) = P665 per person (P1,330)
ACCOMMODATION: Casa Arcellana (Fan Room for 2 pax) = P700 per night (P1,400 for 2 nights)
PRIVATE TOUR (Vigan): Via Kuya Raymond’s Tricycle Tour (10 sites and attractions, Kuya Raymond as free photographer) = (P600 for 2pax, P800 for 4pax) (P600)
PRIVATE TOUR (Ilocos Norte): Via Kuya Raymond’s Van Tour = (P3000 for 2pax)
TOTAL DONATION AND ENTRANCE FEES (Vigan): P300 per person (P600)
TOTAL DONATION AND ENTRANCE FEES (Ilocos Norte): P670 per person (P1,340)
FOOD EXPENSES: P70-P100 per meal per person = P700 per person (P1,400)
PASALUBONG BUDGET: P500 per person (P1,000)
EMERGENCY BUDGET: P1000 per person (P2,000)
TOTAL: P12,000 FOR 2 PAX ALL-IN
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