Sunday, December 27, 2009

The old-world charm of Vigan

For one night, we stayed in Grandpa's Inn in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. A heritage house dating back to the era of Spanish regime, this residence of the Donato family was converted to be an inn during 1979. Vigan City, by itself, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, being a well-preserved Spanish colonial town.

Walking inside the hotel, one will feel the old charm that it offers as articles dating back to decades ago are prominently on display to the public.

Even the reception and lobby areas outside of the rooms gives visitors and guests a feel of like living in the old days with the Spanish era inspired look of the area that you would think you're in your own ancestral home.

Our family stayed in an airconditioned dormitory room that is good for 8 persons (rate is at PHP4480 a night, inclusive of breakfast). It has the usual basic amenities but I regret chosing this room as there was no ensuite toilet and bathroom.

After dinner last night, we walked around the plaza and surrounding area of that part of the city. As you would when you're here yourself, we felt like walking into an old movie, or perhaps at least the old times looking at the beautiful architecture of buildings and houses here of the Spanish colonial era. Intramuros, in Manila, may share some of this feeling to visitors, but Vigan is much bigger and walking into its streets gave me some sort of an eerie feeling thinking about how many years some of these building has stood and what it may have witnessed during those years.

Of course, one can't be faulted if you do a bit of a food trip in the city, like buying the famous bibingka (rice cake) in town, tasting the okoy, trying the delicious Vigan empanada or even these Vigan longganisa. As small as it may seem, the city is bustling of flavors and spices present on its local delicacies.

Calle Crisologo (Crisologo Street) is the street in the city, closed to vehicular traffic and open only by foot or by horse-drawn carriage, where one can find majority of the well-preserved heritage houses. It is also the most touristy place around.

a part of Calle Crisologo at night

I woke up early today, to walk around Calle Crisologo as I expect that there will be not much tourists in the area at that time which will give me more opportunity to look closer at the beautiful well-preserved architectures. I have to say that when you got the chance, take a stroll on the streets and alleys of Vigan both at day and night.

Calle Crisologo street sign

Later in the morning, we also heard mass at the cathedral. We passed by this church (St. Paul's Metropolitan Cathedral) three days back if you've been following my blog.

horse-drawn carriages or calesas lining up outside the cathedral

After mass, that's when we finally had our breakfast in the hotel's restaurant - Kusina Felecitas.

After breakfast we immediately checked-out the hotel as we headed our way back to Manila with hours long drive ahead of us. Somewhere along the way we stopped at this spot in Ilocos Sur as it looks nice (both in person and in picture) and thought the scenery was very beautiful.

As we hit Tarlac, at the town of Gerona to be specific, we passed by our favorite all-time destination restaurant - Isdaan. We've been here a few number of times and I've blogged about the first encounter we had of this floating restaurant-cum-theme park.

floating hut

Here are the items we had for dinner tonight:

tinupig, lechon manok or roasted chicken

ehrr.. not sure what this is called. help!

pork binagoongan and rice in small calderos

crispy plapitos

What a good way to cap off a good road trip! Definitely we left the restaurant with full stomachs (and actually a bit sleepy to drive) and all the things we did and covered during this four day will never be forgotten in our minds and in our hearts.

1 comment:

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