A Dose of History: Ilocos Travel Diaries (Vigan)

Monday, June 9, 2014
It has been Kel and I's promise to visit a place in the country we've never been into. And for the past 5 years that we've been together as a married couple, I say we never strayed from our goal of reaching every Philippine island.

Five years ago, it has been serendipitous that because of Kel's work we were able to practically hop into 4 or 5 provinces in Mindanao-- from Davao to Pagadian. It was a truly fascinating experience seeing landmarks I only see in history books before like the Mt. Apo, Ma. Cristina Falls, Samal Island, etc. 

We've also been into most of the Southern tagalog and Central Luzon provinces as well as Baguio. We've been to Baler, Aurora last year and Boracay the year before that. So we both agreed to try a little more North. And after pinning our possible itineraries, Ilocos welcomed us most adoringly.

At first, Kel was a little unsettled about this trip probably because he will be driving us all the way from Cavite to Ilocos. But luckily, I was able to persuade my in-laws to accompany us. It was a good 10 to 11 hours of travel from Cavite to Vigan with a short stop-over somewhere in La Union. 

Disclaimer: We took 500+ photos during the trip so I just had to choose the blog-worthy or interesting ones based on my personal perception. :)

Day 1 of Ilocos trip

Welcome to Ilocos Sur!

We arrived at around 4 pm in the afternoon. It was really a long and tiring one. So a little tip for parents who wants to tag along their kids on land trip. Make sure to bring a lot of movies with you and/or install a lot of games on your phone or tablet to make sure they won't complain when they get bored. Haha!

Since we were with kids, our first stop upon arriving was the Baluarte in Vigan. It is an 80-hectare terrain which was Gov. Chavit's "gift" to the people of Vigan. It's more or less an animal sanctuary and a free space for people to make a livelihood (located just outside and in the entrance of the zoo). Entrance is FREE for everyone!

Hello there, wilds!


The children can also ride on their mini calesa for free! 

I noticed that a few cages were already empty. Sadly, the place hadn't been really kept well. Some animals, they say, already died.

Some more pictures..

Atop the hill was Governor Chavit's then rest house where he let celebrity friends stay over long weekends. Take a peek at it's golden facade and mahjong themed gate. =D

We ended our day with a sumptuous dinner at the famous Cafe Leona in Calle Crisologo, Vigan. The restaurant is located right in the heart of Vigan City and you cannot miss it because it is just right on the corner. It took its name after the popular Ilocano poet Leona Florentino who also happens to own the house where the restaurant was built.

You may opt to eat inside the building, which is airconditioned, or in front, which is the busy street of Calle Crisologo. We chose the latter.

The restaurant offers a mix of Filipino, American, Japanese and European cuisines. We ordered carbonara and spaghetti (not in the pictures below) for the kids. And because we cannot let the day pass without savoring on their finest Ilocano cuisine, we ordered the infamous Ilocano bagnet, longganisa and poqui-poqui (also not in the picture). Disclaimer: I apologize for the quality of photos. The lighting is not really good because we preferred to eat on the streets so the children can play while waiting for the food to be served.

Well, I personally found the bagnet lacking in crispiness. But the longganisa was really good, just the right amount of saltiness. Overall, the food were all appetizing and dining was gratifying. I've got one tip for travelers, though. They serve the foods a little slow so this is definitely not the place to eat for impatient people, like me. Haha! The service needs improvement.

Up next: Day 2 of Ilocos Travel Diaries


  1. Eddielli said...:

    Those dinosaurs are awesome especially for the kid-at-heart! I love Ilocos food and I wanna try theirVigan longganisa too!

  1. grabe ang ganda talaga s ilocos,,,

  1. Mona Verdida said...:

    Wow. Vigan looks so beautiful! I also like the idea that you can eat on the streets which is similar to some restos in Intramuros. I guess the difference is the food :) I heard Vigan food is good! :) Thanks to your blog, I was able to get a better picture of what Vigan has to offer.

  1. Tinky guañez said...:

    this will definitely be on my bucket list

  1. Hi Tinky! Yes, visit Philippines first. :)

  1. nelabratinella said...:

    Wow! Baluarte is really big pala, peros sayang naman kung napapabayaan. I've been wanting to go to Ilocos for the longest time kaso it's too far. We're from Cavite too! :) I really love the 2 photos taken outside the resto/street. It looks laid back and cozy.

  1. Hi! Got few readers from Cavite, too! Thanks for dropping by! :)

  1. Jerry Chan said...:

    Great post on Vigan. I've been to Baluarte and we enjoyed the horse ride!

  1. abigail tabuzo said...:

    This is indeed the place to be! :D I'll be in Ilocos someday! :D

  1. dimplesgon said...:

    Ill try Cafe Leona if ever we get back to Ilocos. Thanks for the input

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