After a few days in Manila, it was time for me to go on a road trip with my parents to Cagayan Valley, the northen portion of the Philippines. We decided to break up our trip by spending a night in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.
Vigan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the few remaining towns left in the Philippines where its structures (dated back during the Spanish colonial times) still remain intact. This enchanting town is well known for its cobblestones streets, horse-drawn carriages, Spanish style homes, and delicious regional cuisine.
We checked in at Hotel Luna, located in the heart of the Heritage Village. The hotel is famous for their art gallery and is named as the ‘first and only museum hotel in the Philippines’.
A short walk from Hotel Luna is Calle Crisologo, a cobblestone street lined with antique and retail shops. There were no transportation on the street other than the horse-drawn carriages. Walking in Calle Crisologo felt as if I was walking back in time. We also explored around Plaza Burgos and nearby is the Vigan Cathedral.
We were ready to have dinner and Cafe Leona was highly recommended by a friend who lives in Vigan. The restaurant was named after a poet, satirist, and a playwright, Leona Florentino. She was a distant cousin of Philippines’ national hero, Jose Rizal. A poet at 10 years old, her works both in Spanish and the local dialect, Ilocano, were later exhibited in the Exposicion General de Filipnas in Madrid in 1887 and in the Exposition Internationale in Paris in 1889. Unfortunately, the food at Cafe Leona was not as interesting as Leona herself. We ordered the famous Vigan specialty, bagnet -a deep fried pork belly. Vigan is also known for longanisa (cured sausage) and empanadas. I wanted to try the restaurant’s longanisa maki (a fusion of Ilocano and Japanese food). Out of all the foods we ordered, this was my favorite.
On Monday December 8, Vigan was hailed as one of the New 7 Wonder Cities of the World, together with Beirut (Lebanon), Doha (Qatar), Durham (So. Africa), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), and La Paz (Bolivia). Another achievement gained by this alluring city of Vigan, Ilocos Sur.