Mar 31, 2014

Viva Vigan

The Historic city of Vigan was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999 due mostly to the fact that the place has been carefully preserved to show the fusion of old Asian and Spanish architecture. The influx of tourist in Ilocos risen to almost 40 percent since the declaration of Church of San Agustin in Paoay and Vigan as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

From Laoag, we took a bus and traveled south to the historic city of Vigan. Partas and ordinary bus companies ply this route between Laoag and Vigan with 30 min intervals. The fare for ordinary buses (Non-AC) is around P60.00 while AC buses is around Php 130.00. The trip takes about one hour and thirty minutes. We arrived past 3 pm and we saw colorful bantings hanging along the streets. Fortunately, we were just in time for Binatbatan Festival of Arts (To be blog later on a separate post) , exhibiting unique festival costumes from different regions in the Philippines. After the parade, we drop off our bags to our hotel and made our way to the famous Calle Crisologo.

Calle Crisologo
Amazing street full of Spanish style houses built during the Spanish era. The ground is a layer of cobblestone while the rest of the street is asphalt. It was like going back in time during the Spanish colonial times. The local government prohibits any motorized vehicle to travel along the road. Never leave Vigan without visiting Calle Crisologo. One of the best UNESCO world heritage site that I visited.

Night shot in Calle Crisologo Vigan Ilocos sur

St. Paul’s Cathedral
The St. Paul’s Cathedral is also known as the metropolitan Cathedral features Neo-Gothic and pseudo Romanesque motifs. Completed in 1800 this baroque-styled church has thick buttresses to support it through earthquakes and typhoons. The facade is not that impressive like other churches but still a magnificent structure to visit.
St. Pauls Cathedral Vigan

Lets Ride It!
A must try here is to tour around Vigan using the Kalesa.

Calesa horses in Vigan

The following day, we decided to rent a kalesa and tour around Vigan. The "kutsero" or the kalesa driver will tour you around Vigan's famous attractions. The tour is not that cheap and we paid Php 150 / hour max of 4 persons ( 3 hours minimum). Probably not the cheapest but coolest way to tour around Vigan. We listed three destinations only that we really want to visit during the tour.
Tour around Vigan via Calesa
On our way to Bantay bell tower and church

Bantay Church And Bell Tower
Built in 1590, the St. Augustine Church or Bantay Church is considered one of the oldest churches in Ilocos Sur.

Staris of Bantay bell tower

Few meters from the church is the Bantay bell tower nestled on a picturesque landscaped hill.

Our next stop is the Pagburnayan Pottery Maker in Vigan. The word "burnay" is an earthenware jar crafted by a skillful hand, pottery wheel and kiln.

Lets Make Jars
Liking for the burnay has reached the markets abroad, especially in Europe. Local and foreign traders have made contacts with factory owners to order from their current offerings or for burnay products to be done according to new buyer or market specifications.

Pot and jar making in Vigan
Burnay Jars at Pagburnayan

Pot and jar making in Vigan

It's a Jar! A Pot? A Vase?
It takes a lot of skill to make a jar. I was trying to make a small jar but it ended up like a soup bowl or maybe an ashtray hahaha.

One of the descendants of Chinese immigrants who introduced burnay-making in Vigan, Fidel Go has been awarded by the National Commission on Culture and Arts in 1990 as National Folk Artist. He is the owner of Ruby Pottery and until now continues to practice and sustain the craft of burnay-making. (source

Summer Job

This is much easier than making jars. Can I apply for a job here?

Well this job is much better than creating jars.

Before leaving the place we decided to buy souvenir shirts and magnets as a sign of gesture for letting us experience pottery making. We left the factory with a big smile and opted not to visit Baluarte and headed to the bus terminal instead. We have to travel for 5 hours to Pampanga and then catch a flight to Davao the following day. Our kalesa ride is over and paid Php 450.00 + 200 tip because he guarded our bags while we are taking pictures and keeping us safe on the road.

Getting Here

• Partas Buses ply Laoag - Vigan route everyday
• Paras Buses from Cubao and Pasay terminals have 3 hour interval here as early as 1:00 am

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