9 Jan 2012
My third day of merely familiarizing myself with routes and directions around Laoag City's and Ilocos Norte's tourist destinations totally turned into unplanned escapade. I woke up 5:00 am of January 5, 2012, had a quick breakfast at Jollibee because free breakfast of Isabel Suites is available only from 7:00 am to 9:00 am, then headed off to nearby terminal of bus bound for Vigan City, the capital of Ilocos Sur and renowned for the Spanish imprint on its architecture that made it to World Heritage Sites. You can read what happened on my second day in Ilocos by going to Getting To Ilocos Norte's Important Attractions. And the story of my coming to Laoag City is documented in the post entitled To Laoag From Manila In 52 Minutes
I wanted to maximize my stay here to give readers more directional guides on how to commute to important places, most especially those individuals or group of individuals who would plan to visit Ilocos Region for the first time.
I was also thinking that my sudden trip here would be an excellent opportunity to feature initial batch of photos I would be taking on new DSLR camera Nikon D5100. I didn't have any knowledge on photography even though it's my dream to explore the art of creating stunning images out of ordinary objects.
The bus here leaves at 7:00 am. So, if you don't want to be left behind, make sure you're early. Travel time from Laoag City to Vigan City is 2 hours and 15 minutes. Observe as I document my actual tour from Laoag to Vigan's spots and back to Laoag in the afternoon of January 5, 2012. The bus from Lagasca is only good for one round trip. It returns to Laoag City at 3 pm. But don't worry because, you can get back to Laoag anytime via Partas Bus which have Laoag bound bus every 30 minutes 24 hours a day. Towards the end of this post, you get to learn how I got to the Partas Bus Terminal.
Here's how I toured four tourist attractions of Vigan
The bus arrived at its terminal in Vigan City, 9:17 am. I took a motorized tricycle to "Vigan Baluarte", my first destination, at 9:31 am. Of course, by that time I had already talked to some locals and had my route planned out. Fare to Baluarte is Php 20.
I arrived at Baluarte 9:39 am. It's an 80 hectares of terrains, hills and mountain sides that serves as natural habitat for Gov Chavit Singson's personal collection of wild animals, most prominent of which are the ostriches. Other animals you get to see are: tigers, donkey, camels, stags, colorful pheasants, parrots, macaws and a lot of others, all roaming around. At first glance, you would think as if you're in Jurrasic Park because of a life-size Alamosaurus Dinasour statue, until you see the animals of Quaternary Period, our time. Baluarte also features Butterfly Exhibit, which piqued my weakness in photographing flowers. I took some shots of them. Hope you like my untrained hand in focusing and framing objects. As I've said I'm inexperienced. At least, for now.
|Butterfly Exhibit at Vigan Baluarte|
One thing I noticed aside from being picturesque of Baluarte clearly is it's being well-maintained. The fortress is very clean and the animals are well-fed as you would notice immediately.
As expected there's a terminal of motorized tricycles immediately outside the gate.
|Vigan River Cruise along Mestizo River|
At 10:43 am I was on board of this boat and begun the journey though times. Vigan River Cruise along the historic Mestizo River is a discovery of Vigan's History that dates back to Spanish Times. It's the showcase of Vigan's culture, heritage and it's people's indigenous contributions to the society, lifestyle and progress of the Philippines.
What To See And Hear On Board Vigan River Cruise
As you cruise the river, a synchronized narration is played in the background. There are countless dioramas along both sides of the river. Each diorama symbolizes an important event in Vigan's history and as you get pass each diorama, the modulated voice of female narrator tells the story behind depiction of a particular diorama. From the transfer of Northern Luzon diocese to Vigan, to the root word of Vigan itself. From Spanish discovery of the high potential of soil and climate of Ilocos for cultivating tobacco that led to imposition of tobacco culture to all farmers and the ban of growing other crops, to how the popular dish called bagnet was started. From the story behind the name of Mestizo River, to the different livelihoods that spawned out of the river, you get to discover important milestones in Vigan's history in an unhurried and unconcerned fashion. Other visuals are the fish pens in various parts of the river where school of tilapia go up on the surface from time to time as they are being fed by farmers. There's also a work in progress for the betterment of this body of water that considered to be among major sources of pride for people of Vigan. You get to photograph a fisherman in his small boat pulling up a fishnet, and even some locals with their catch on their way home. Meanwhile, mangroves and other plants endemic to river banks lined the whole stretch of both sides.
|Vigan Heritage Village|
|Ornaments along Calle Crisologo Vigan Heritage Village|
Location Map of Terminal of Bus bound for Vigan
That's how to get to Vigan City from Laoag City. Coming up is my trip to Pagudpod. Watch for it.
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