We were up early, had breakfast early. Nomer, the ever-accomodating front desk guy, gave us a map of Vigan and encircled points of interest. We then left for the Partas bus station and took the 9:30am bus to Vigan, a 1 ½ hour ride.
We got to the station in Vigan, which was a bit far from the main tourist plaza, and walked all the way to Calle Crisologo. It was a less-than-5-min walk, just not too comfy because of the heat. It was really hot that day- whew!
We passed by the Crisologo Museum and decided to drop by for a visit. This was the residence of Floro Crisologo, a congressman, and showcased where he held office, a libray, garage, function and family rooms. He was assassinated during the 70’s inside the St. Paul Cathedral church in Vigan. The clothes he was wearing when he died was even on display.
From the museum, we crossed the street, walked about two blocks and was at one end of Calle Crisologo. This is the most famous and visited street in Vigan because the original road made of cobblestones were preserved and most of the old houses. The houses are mostly souvenir and antique shops. The road is closed to vehicular traffic and only passable by calesas, horse-drawn carriages. This is good, although I’ve seen two scooters pass through. Hmm…
Some of the really old houses were either too old to restore or to expensive to save so they looked more like abandoned houses. But walking through it just makes one a bit nostalgic, imagining one’s self during the Spanish era, calesas rambling through the streets, ladies in their baro’t saya and fanning themselves while men were in their coats and top hat. Now, you see t-shirts with Vigan designs, woven baskets, antique furniture, and… longganisa!!! Never underestimate the pull of Vigan longganisa.
When we got to Plaza Burgos, we crossed to St. Paul Cathedral. That church was huge and beautiful. For a moment, the vision of Congressman Crisologo’s dead body among the pews came to mind. Hmm, not a nice sight in such a holy place.
From the cathedral, we had a late lunch at Café Leona. The place was starting to fill up and just made it on time. After stuffing ourselves, we hired a tricycle to take us to the Hidden Garden.
It was a cool place, if you like flowers and plants. I’ve never got a green thumb, more a sore one, so it wasn’t that appealing to me. My mom and brother, however, would love this place. There were a lot of imported plants and liked one called a foxtail. Nessie and I just breezed through the garden, took a few pictures then made our way to our ride and off to Baluarte.
Baluarte is a personal zoo of former Congressman Chavit Singson and open to the public. For some reason, it housed mostly mini horses and a variety of deer species. There were only 3 tigers, some birds, a camel and even a couple of ostrich. Some areas were still under development but no warning was posted for visitors. That irked both of us because we walked all the way on some path, thinking we’d get out the other side, but turned out we were past their territory and no way around it but go back the way we came. That was some trek. Anyway, maybe in a few years, this place could be worth going back to.
We went all the way back to the city and got dropped off the market. We went in to get our Vigan longganisa and crossed to the bus station for our trip back to Laoag. We were able to get on a 4:00pm bus, which was good, because the trip took almost 2 hours due to traffic and some rain halfway to Laoag.
We dropped our things at the inn and went to Chowking for dinner. We both had craving for either soup or porridge. We had neither- dinner was yang chow fried rice, beef siomai, lumpiang shanghai and steamed kangkong with bagoong. So much for soup or porridge, hehehe.
When we got back, we started packing for the trip home the next day. I definitely had a problem with the blankets but got resolved. All the longganisa we got would have to be placed inside a styrofoam box and sealed to avoid any smell filling the plane. We’ll be getting one from the market tomorrow morning after we hear mass.
We even got a visit from a small frog! We saw it near one of the sofa and while looking for something to shoo it away, it disappeared. It didn’t make any sound at all so we didn’t know where it was. When we were done with the packing and already resting, it appeared near the door and had a fun time letting it out.
We were also allowed to check out at a later time the next day, since our flight was at 7pm. As I was watching TV on our last night in Laoag, I couldn’t help but feel proud of how wonderful the Philippines is, and how many more provinces I still have yet to visit. Oh, well… just take one province at a time…