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On Vigan

by on March 12, 2010

I’m reposting my thoughts on Vigan here, based on my review of the area that I posted in Tripadvisor last year:

Vigan is one of the most well restored Spanish colonial cities in outside of, and it deserves its reputation as a UNESCO world heritage site. Unfortunately it can be very difficult to get there, even for people within the Philippines, as it has no airport capable of accepting commercial air traffic. The nearest airport is Laoag city, which is an one and a half to two hour bus ride away.

But when you get there it’s worth the wait, as Vigan charms you with it’s old world glories, delicious food (don’t forget to try the Vigan longganisa and empanada!) and friendly people. I absolutely loved how the salespeople here weren’t pushy or abrasive like some other sites we’ve been to around southeast asia.

Certainly the city could use some more development, it took us about an hour jsut to find two doubleA batteries for our camera one night, something that could be resolved by opening a 7-11 or similar convenience store along the main street. it looks like development is well under way though, so Vigan’s time as a premier tourist destination in the Philippines is still yet to come!

It really is a shame that Vigan is still underdeveloped as a tourist destination.  It frustrates me that BongBong Marcos has the gall to show ads saying what a good job he’s been doing when he can’t even manage to expand the local airport and generate more interest in Vigan as a tourist destination.  As it is, we had to take a plane to Laoag, ride a tricycle (roughly 200 pesos) from Laoag airport to the Partas bus station, take a bus ride (100 or so pesos per person I think?) to Vigan, then take another tricycle to our hotel.  Call me spoiled, but there has to be a better way (and no, I don’t consider a 10 hour bus ride from Manila a better way).  Once you’re in Vigan proper it’s small enough to get around to lots of areas, and for the surrounding area (like the zoo, lighthouse and museums) we happily paid 1000 for a kalesa for the whole day.  There’s a pretty good tourist information office in the city proper if you need any help, jsut ask your hotel where it is.

I would love to see Vigan more fully developed, perhaps even have a section where local actors would portray the day to day activities of Vigan during colonial times.  Laoag could do the same, as we noticed some colonial buildings scattered around the city.  Speaking of Laoag, I find it slightly ridiculous that there were no taxis at the airport.  I don’t mean to rag on the city, but since it has an international airport and receives lots of foreign tourists, you’d think they’d have a few taxis on standby at the airport, never mind the exorbitant fares they’d charge.  There have been improvements made in the last year to the Diosdado Macapagal airport in Clark recently, so hopefully Laoag will follow suit with its own airport facilities.

Despite my complaints, I’m certain that I’ll visit Vigan again one of these days, perhaps with my sister’s family in tow when they visit from the US.  I certainly hope that the transport situation will be a lot easier by then.


From → Local, Travel

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