This is the second part of our short Ilocos sojourn, this time we were off to a nearby city called Vigan which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the province.
The weather was hot…scorching to say the least but we were enthusiastic about exploring some more so we hopped on a bus and took a 1-hour (or so) bus ride to Vigan from Laoag.
Upon reaching the area, I immediately experienced a sense of familiarity after having seen so many images of Vigan before. While I was quite disappointed that Calle Crisologo was just a short walk (possibly the most photographed tourist spot in the area?), I enjoyed checking out the little shops and admiring the restored colonial houses. I was able to score a lovely wooden jewelry box for $3 at one of the gift shops and I also got some frozen bagnet (double-fried crispy pork) to take home. When you’re in Ilocos – and you’re a meat lover, make sure to try this local specialty.:) (Not frozen of course!) My boyfriend ended up buying these local “treats” for our officemates (we had this part-time job at an NGO that time), which was basically sticky rice stuffed into wooden rods. I forgot what it’s called but I don’t recommend it. hehe…
After our visit to Calle Crisologo we then headed off to Baluarte, another popular tourist attraction in Vigan. Baluarte is a mini zoo where there are exotic animals – and even dinosaurs (sculptures) hehe… There were miniature horses drawing small carriages that go around Baluarte but apparently we were too heavy to ride it hehehe… Oh well. There were lots of ostriches, camels, exotic birds, and tigers too.
Before boarding the bus to Laoag, I bought some Ilocos Empanada for the trip back. Compared to the usual empanadas, this one’s bright orange and is stuffed either with veggies or a mix of veggies and longganisa (pork sausage). Yum!