I am neither a budget traveler nor an extravagant spender. Whenever I travel, I spend money on things that are “sulit” and will give me more than what my money is worth. It’s always been a principle to me, that I shouldn’t mind spending more or less if what I am spending on is worth spending for. That is why, you may notice that sometimes, I do DIY trips and I also avail of packaged tours, whichever justifies what I pay for.
In this article, I won’t be sharing with you a detailed guide of my Vigan tour because JAMpacked Adventures got us covered. Actually, I first transacted with Juvinile Travel & Tours but in the process, it was Jam of JAMpacked who accommodated my requests and rants. It’s my first time availing of a joiners’ tour and as usual, I have doubts whether the travel agency I transact with is legit or not. Kaya marami akong tanong at wala akong pake kung mabwisit sakin ang operator.
I’d vouch for both JAMpacked Adventures and Juvinile Travel & Tours but I’d strongly recommend JAMpacked. Jam, the owner, was accommodating enough to answer all my questions. Actually, I think I’ve found my go-to operator whenever I’m looking for a quick weekend get-away. I would entrust my future tours to Jam, really.
Juvinile Travel & Tours was also okay, but what sets JAMpacked apart is the fact that the owner checks on their guests, which Juvinile failed to do (or at least to me, IDK). Our Vigan day tour started 10:00 PM when Charber, our tour coordinator picked us up from SM Mall of Asia. We arrived in Ilocos Sur at 6:00 AM, and arrived in Vigan around 7:30 AM. I never thought that one can actually visit Vigan for one day.
After the tour, we were dropped off to La Union (A different trip! Detailed Guide Here).
ORGANIZED VIGAN CITY TRAVEL GUIDE
According to its website, Vigan is an island, which used to be detached from the mainland by three rivers – the great Abra River, the Mestizo River and the Govantes River. It is located in the Ilocos Region. It is unique among the Philippine towns because it is the country’s most extensive and only surviving historic city that dates back to the 16th century Spanish colonial period.
How to Get There, Hassle-free
Availing of a day tour package to Vigan with Juvinile Travel and Tours made it easy for us to reach such wonderful place. With only PHP 300 per head to reserve a slot, Vigan is now within anybody’s reach. However, I do not know why but we were transferred to JAMpacked Adventures and Jam, the owner, was the one who took initiative to accommodate all our requests.
🚆 How to Get Around
Getting around Vigan is easy because the places you must see are not too far apart from each other, and again, since this is an organized tour, we did not have a hard time roaming around. The places we visited really amazed me because of the glorious history by which each place is enveloped in. These are the spots we were able to cover during the day tour:
📍Quirino Bridge – Santa, Ilocos Sur
The scenic arch bridge, Quirino Bridge, traversing the Abra River, is located between two beautiful mountains and is built to honor then-President Elpidio Quirino. The old bridge, an iconic symbol of Ilocos Sur, is currently preserved as a tourist attraction.
📍Calle Crisologo – Vigan, Ilocos Sur
Calle Crisologo or Mena Crisologo street is a major attraction of Vigan because of the Spanish houses were the rich people lived during the Spanish era.
📍Bantay Bell Watchtower – Bantay, Ilocos Sur
One of Vigan’s most iconic symbols is the Bantay Bell Tower. First built in 1591, it served as the town’s watchtower before being turned into a bell tower by the nearby church in 1857. Located roughly 10 minutes from the town of Vigan, it’s located in the town of Bantay, Ilocos Sur.
📍Baluarte Zoo – Vigan, Ilocos Sur
Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, is home to Baluarte Zoo. Its about 10 minutes outside of the city, heading towards the China Sea owned by Chavit Singson.
Jars made from Vigan are much sought-after by foreign and local visitors. This earthenware is called burnay. The industry that has grown from the making of burnay dates back to pre-colonial times when immigrants from China came to settle in Vigan. The Pagburnayan or the place where these camarins can be found is in the Baranggay VII, in the Southwest part of the city. There are only about three burnay camarins now in existence all over the country, and they are all in Vigan.
Where to Eat – Food to Try
Ilocos is also known for the best dishes, most especially for its super delicious crispy, tender bagnet. It’s of pork belly sun-dried to perfection before being deep-fried in boiling oil. Another Vigan must try is of course, the Longganissa Vigan. I am so much inlove with this treat, it’s delicious and garlicky but the garlic flavor isn’t too overpowering. Also, when in Vigan, you should devour in Vigan empanada to complete your trip.
Here below are the food items you shouldn’t miss on your Vigan trip.
Royal Bibingka. Royal bibingka is also traditionally associated with the Christmas season. But unlike the former which uses milled regular rice, this Vigan version is made of glutinous rice, giving it a chewy, mochi-like texture.
Bagnet. Bagnet is a deep fried crispy pork belly dish that is similar to lechon kawali. The pork belly is first boiled until tender then deep fried twice to attain the extra crispy texture
Vigan Empanada. A visit to Vigan will not be complete without tasting its famous Vigan empanada. You can choose to sample this tasty delight in the food establishments that dot the city or the empanada stalls in the market and plazas. It is great whether as breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks. At around thirty-five pesos each, it’s quite cheap to have as many as you need to fill your hunger after touring the city. The Vigan empanada is much in keeping with the Vigan people’s love for vegetables in their cuisine.
Vigan Longganisa. The Vigan longaganisa is a small and plump native sausage, good for about two or three bites. It is garlicky and has a yellowish color. Although it is eaten anytime, even as a bread filling, it is traditional favored as breakfast fare together with fried eggs and steamed or fried rice. It is best dipped in Ilocos vinegar with plenty of chili, garlic and onions.
What’s best about these dishes? You can get them in side walks!
Vigan is a place rich in history and culture, and with organized tours like this, you definitely should consider visiting the city. Life isn’t meant to be lived in one place alone. Go on adventures, travel the Yinniverse!
Vigan Day Tour – PHP 999
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Contact Number: 0956 643 1598 ; look for Jam
Juvinile Travel & Tours
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Contact Number: 0977 277 2047 ; look for Rojelyn