I went to Vigan City in Ilocus Sur last February 2013, its one of my dream come true to go there and visit the popular city that UNESCO listed it as a World Heritage Site on December 2, 1999 for maintaining and preserving the cobblestone road, house and building in Calle Crisologo that was built during the 18th century Spanish colonial times. and also for receiving a UNESCO recognition award for Best Practice in World Heritage Management Award last November 8, 2012. Its been a talk of the town every summer season, and it’s a nice travel destination during the first 5 months of the year.
I’m hearing and seeing lots of good things about Vigan, and thanks to those travel and lifestyle shows, for showing us the beauty and fun spot of Vigan. Also thanks to our pinoy travel blogger friends for the non stop sharing of their experience and travel feature about Vigan.
Vigan is popular for having the well preserved Calle Crisologo, when you visit that street, you’ll be taking a ride back in the past and you’ll see the old houses and road built during the old Spanish era. You’ll imagine that you’re walking to a memory lane that is alive til now. Vigan is also famous for their delicious empanada and also the Baluarte zoo, a free entrance zoo for everyone and one of the best zoo if you want to get a close encounter with animals, well the Tigers are inside the cage, but you can just meet the baby cubs at the meet and greet area.
I got lucky to be part of this bloggers team to visit Vigan, and as guest of Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson, he just want us to be there, check out the place, blog it and share the awesomeness of Ilocos Sur. He told us that he won’t be running as Governer for this year 2013, and this will be his last term, his focus now is to develop and maintain Ilocos Sur. Thanks Gov!!!
Travel to Vigan will give you two kinds of option – go there by air or land.
By land – it’s a 8 hour land travel via bus, I suggest you go there via bus, its much more faster in land travel, because the bus drivers are familiar with the road and directions, and the public bus have two drivers that will drive 4 hours each.
By air – you can ride the commercial local flight by Cebu Pac going to Laoag City Airport in Ilocos Norte, and then you need to travel by land going to Vigan City – it’s a 1 1/2 land travel going to the South side of Ilocos.
For us – we went there via chartered plane, its my first time to ride in a private plane and we were surprised that Gov. Singson was there to join with us. Awesome!! We road a Sea Air two propeller engine plane. I don’t like riding propeller plane, but this one from Sea Air is smooth and fast.
It took us 40 minutes to travel from Manila to Vigan City. Wow that is fast!!! compared to travel by land.
We went to Manila Domestic Airport, but not for commercial flight, there’s another gate were they host chartered flight. Its just walking in small runaway with a hanger. Its like a backyard of the airport. We road a van to just to cross the small runaway going to the plane, we can just walked through the runaway, but I think humans are not allowed to walk while there’s lots of plane activity happening that time.
Here’s our ride!!!
yay!!! I’m so nervous and also excited to go to Vigan via plane. And its also my first time to ride in a Sea Air plane
That’s Gov. Chavit talking to the crew and other passengers, he just make sure that everyone is on board.
I seated at the back of the plane and behind me is Jeman. It’s a small plane. but it’s a fast flight going to the North of Luzon.
Took a shot when we were up in the air. Not sure if I’m looking at Mt. Pinatubo
We landed smoothly in Vigan City Airport, we arrived there in less than 40 minutes, there’s no air traffic and all air highway to Vigan City is for us only that time.
After arriving at the airport, we rode a van and in just minutes we are here in Gov. Chavit’s owned animal park – Baluarte in Vigan City. it’s a private owned property of the governor and he converted his private collection of animals into a public zoo, You can interact with the animals and also get a close encounter with them. Also that gold building is the retirement house for the governor. I don’t what it is called, but I call it the golden citadel – like a fortress that a leader stays in and protects the city.
Here’s a closer look of the golden citadel, with a tree of life diorama on top of the building.
Looking around Baluarte, here I saw a young pony roaming around the place. The area is so hot, but there are lots of water supply and food for all animals.
Last Feb 2013, there’s an ongoing construction in one of the hills in Baluarte, they told us that they are creating a barrier just to avoid any soil erosion and landslide. They are also creating a path way for the deers and other animals to roam around going to the hill.
here’s JayL infront of a deer. Its weird to see these animals are not afraid of humans, I think they are used to it and now a slight domesticated animal.
Here’s the signage of Baluarte, kinda like a Hollywood sign, also spotted are lifesize dinosaur statues.
Wow!!! Gov. Chavit even wants to create his own Jurassic Park.
my close encounter with a deer.. I’m glad that all animals here are healthy and freely roaming around the field.
They have kalesa pony ride for everyone, you can rent this and try to tour around Baluarte.
There’s no hotel inside Baluarte, but they have some rooms for all guest of the Gov Chavit. Here’s one of the room with a nice underground pool hehhehe.
After checking in at the rooms below Baluarte, we went up to the hill going to the golden citadel and there we met the Gov Chavit again. The only access going there is to enter this mansion.
From the 1st level
Bronze horse statue
Deer head trophy – this animal died by natural cause
Our merienda of the day – try the yummy Vigan empanada.
At the 2nd level
bronze tiger statue
2nd level – there’s a garden and this is the way going to that golden citadel
Tiger cage are found here, they say that bad tigers stay here ohhh
So freaky to stand near to this cage.
Here’s Bambi! this deer just roam around the garden freely. Felt that they are like dogs and cats at regular homes.
Here’s Bambi’s baby, she’s hopping and running and loves to interact with us.
Lagoon and fountain at the garden area.
Awesome to stay here with the animals, they are taken care of and smells good! hahhaha.
All areas are clean and there’s no foul smell of animal pooh pooh.
with Gov. Chavit, he met us here at the Salcedo plaza and showed to us their latest development – the Salcedo plaza high tech fountain. They are rebuilding the plaza and installed a state of the art fountain. This will be completed after a few months – it was supposed to launch on that week of Feb 2013, but we were informed that it will be moved to another launch date. I guess that this month of May 2013, the fountain and light show will be operational.
Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson
How to go here in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur
1. There are two travel options – ride the 8 hour bus from Manila to Ilocos Sur or ride the plane go Laoag City Airport in Ilocos Norte + 1 1/2 land travel to Vigan.
2. We went here via chartered plane of Gov. Chavit Singson, we landed at Vigan City airport, if you have a company trip and want to travel by air, you can try a chartered plane by Sea Air, just inquire to their office on how to get a chartered plane.
3. Air - Domestic flights leave Manila daily for Laoag City in Ilocos Norte, which is an hour and a half ride by bus or arranged vehicles to Vigan. The city can be reached from Laoag City via Partas Bus, Fariñas Transportation, Maria De Leon Bus Lines, RCJ Bus Lines, F. Franco Trans, and Florida Bus. – Via http://www.vigancity.gov.ph
4. By Land - The 408 km stretch from Manila to Vigan City is a comfortable eight-hour ride along the scenic Manila-Ilocos Highway. Air-conditioned Partas Bus, Dominion Bus, Aniceto Bus and Viron Transit ply the Manila-Vigan route regularly. – Via http://www.vigancity.gov.ph
5. Getting Around - The best way to explore Vigan is on foot; the city center is small and compact, yet full of excitement. Experience a calesa ride around Vigan at P150.00 per hour per carriage. – Via http://www.vigancity.gov.ph
6. If you are in Vigan City, there are lots of transportation, you can ride the tricycle or the “kalesa”, horse drawn carriage. The “kalesa” can be rented at Php 100 per hour.
Vigan City, Ilocos Sur
For Schedules of City Events and Tours please contact the City Tourism Office. Tel No: (077) 722-8771,
Baluarte in Vigan City
Opens - 7am-6pm eve
ryday, entrance is free
Tel # 6377-722-7186
Historic Town of Vigan @ UNESCO
Established in the 16th century, Vigan is the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia. Its architecture reflects the coming together of cultural elements from elsewhere in the Philippines, from China and from Europe, resulting in a culture and townscape that have no parallel anywhere in East and South-East Asia.
* Thanks to Governor Chavit Singson for inviting us to tour around Vigan City
Read my complete Vigan travel blog series
for any questions or inquiries, feel free to email me at email@example.com
Discovering Vigan City - Ilocos Sur trip part 1