Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vigan-Laoag-Pagudpud Tour Itinerary

Antiquities around Calle Crisologo. Photo by Amemami
Explore the best of the Ilocandia Region and witness the wonderful juxtaposition of the charming old world and the cutting edge new.

Here, is the itinerary I made for our tour which, during our jaunt to Ilocos, we didn't quite follow because our group decided to dig in with the School Press Advisers Movement's (SPAM) confab - held also at Vigan. This post happens to be a little segue to the entry "This Journey Has Just Vigan."

Betwixt you and I... I prefer independent tours than packaged ones because you get to plan freely on what to do (thus, the DIY itinerary), where and when to go in which some guided tours restrict you so.

You can glance on this little itinerary, copy all you want and, why not, post a comment if whether this guide suits to your liking or not. I can get to learn from you guys as well.  : )


5:00 PM               Assemble at Airport for evening flight

7:30 PM               Dinner

9:00 PM               Partas Bus Station Pasay Terminal / Off to Vigan
                             •Bus rates may change without prior notice. Just prepare Php600-850.

DAY 1 
4:00-5:00 AM       Arrival/ Proceed to Grand Pa's Inn/ Rest

6:30 AM               Breakfast at Cafe Uno-Grandpa's Inn

7:30 AM               Calle Crisologo

8:30 AM               Syquia Mansion
                              •Museum operating hours: Mondays to Fridays, 8:30 - 11:30; 1:30 - 4:00 PM
                                        •Entrance Fee: Php20.00
                                        •Try asking the tour guide as to where the mansion's peepholes and the authentic seal of the Ming Dynasty's Emperor are to be found.

9:30 AM               Vigan Heritage River Cruise
                               •45-minute boat ride with an audio guide that narrates the history of Vigan
                                         •Cruise rates: Adult - Php100.00; Senior Citizens - Php70.00; Children or Students with valid ID's - Php50.00

10:20 AM             Camangaan Abel Weavers

10:40 AM             Chavit Singson's Baluarte Zoo
                                         •Operating hours: 7:00 AM-6:00 PM
                               Entrance fee: free

11:40 PM              Lunch at Hidden Garden
1:00 PM                Mira Hills Filipino-Spanish Friendship Park and Buridek Museum
                              •Operating hours: Daily, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
                                        •Entrance fee: Adult - Php15.00; Students - Php10.00
1:45 PM                Pagburnayan

2:45-3:45 PM       Hop-on, hop-off Vigan calesa tour starting with Father Burgos Museum 
                             Museum operating hours: Tuesdays to Saturdays, 8:30 - 11:30 AM; 1:30 - 4:30 PM
                                       Entrance Fee: Php10.00

345:-4:30 PM       Simbaan a Bassit
                            Crisologo Mansion
                            Museum operating hours: Daily, 8:30 - 11:30; 1:30 - 4:30.
                                      Entrance Fee: Donation only

4:30 PM              Optional tour to Playa de Oro Resort/ Calle Crisologo and around Vigan Center

7:00 PM              Street Dining
                            •Options: Street dining at Cafe Leona or Los Mojitos

8:00 PM              Calle Crisologo/Vigan at night

6:15 AM                Bantay Church and Bell Tower
                              •Best done early in the morning with a tour guide. See my post "This Journey Has Just Vigan III" for the reasons why.
                                        •Bell Tower hours:  Daily, 6:00 AM - 6:00 PM
                                        •Entrance fee: Donation only

7:15 AM                Breakfast

8:00 AM                Check-out/ Proced to terminal, wait bus for Laoag
                              •From Vigan, it'll take you two hours to Laoag.

9:00-11:00 AM      Laoag/ Rent a van
                              •Rentals can go Php2,000-3,000/day; Php6,000-7,500 for two days. Haggle, if you must and can :-)

11:30 AM              Check-in to UKL EVER Hotel/ Rest

12:15 PM               Buy take-out lunch

12:45 PM              Off to Juan Luna Shrine, Badoc, Ilocos Norte
2:00 PM                Juan Luna Shrine
                              Museum operating hours: Tuesdays to Saturdays, 8:00 AM- 4:00 PM
                                        •Entrance fee: Donation only

2:45 PM                Marcos Museum and Mausoleum
                              •Museum operating hours: Daily, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM; 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
                                        •Entrance fee: Php50.00

3:15 PM                MalacaƱang of the North and Paoay Lake
                              •Museum operating hours: Mondays to fridays, 9:00 AM  - 5:00 PM
                                        •Entrance fee: Php20.00
                                         •Paoay Lake boat ride: Php100.00 

4:00 PM                Paoay Church

4:30 PM                Late afternoon snack at Herencia Cafe

5:30 PM                Laoag City Tour: William's Church and The Sinking Bell / Tobacco Monopoly Monument

7:30 PM                Dinner at Saramsam Cafe

DAY 3 
7:00 AM                 Breakfast

8:00 AM                 La Paz Sand dunes

9:00 AM                 Museo Ilocos Norte
                               •Museum operating hours: Mondays to Saturdays, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM; 1:00 - 5:00 PM
                                         •Entrance fee: Php20.00

9:45 AM                 Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, Burgos, Ilocos Norte

10:45 AM               Kapurpurawan Rock Formation, Burgos,Ilocos Norte

12:00 PM                Bangui Windmills, lunch at Kangkang Windmill Cafe

1:45 PM                  Patapat Viaduct

2:15 PM                  Agua Grande

2:45 PM                  Paraiso ni Anton

3:45 PM                  Timmangtang Rock

4:15 PM                  Bantay Abot Caves   
5:15 PM                  Back to Laoag

7:30 PM                  Dinner 

8:30 PM                  Prepare for check-out

9:00 PM                  Off to Terminal

10:00 PM                Back to Manila

8:00 AM up             Free time

4:30 PM                  Off to NAIA for flight back home 

So, what do you think of this noob's DIY itinerary? :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

This Journey Has Just VIGAN

Calle Crisologo is a cobbled-stone street lined with fine century-old Hispanic houses that invoke nostalgia. Photo by Amemami

My Vigan experience took place together with my University Publication-Central Echo (CE) [2] advisers and [5] editors last August 21-25. Oh, and take note - I have just graduated from college, well actually, last March, yeah. At the time of the trip, I, now, have finished my responsibilities in our publication. 

The plan was further altered and developed when it was found out that the National School Press Adviser Movement Inc. (SPAM) would  conduct its 3rd Annual National Journalism Quiz Bee and 6th Annual Seminar-Workshop on August 22-24 at the Heritage Resort of Caoayan, Metro Vigan, Ilocos Sur. Seeing the opportunity to enhance the publication's campus journalism skills on a national level and even just by experiencing/observing a country-wide convention, we resorted to change our plans and go in lieu with this journalism workshop.

However, before knowing about SPAM's convention, I already made a *3D 2N DIY ITINERARY  for our supposed Vigan-Laoag-Pagudpud Tour. If ever you'll be having an Ilocandia getaway, you can take a look of my itinerary for you to start on. SEE HERE. 

Update 09/18/12: Instead of "4D 3N DIY Ilocos tour itinerary", it's actually a 3D 2N DIY Ilocos Tour Itinerary, sorry.

(Left) A glimpse of the Iloilo International Airport; (Center) Took this on board; (Right) A quickie shot at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

On the wee hours of the 21st, we, the Central Echo, and three other editors from The College of Arts and Sciences Departmental Publication-Voice Prints, huddled towards the Iloilo International Airport for our 6:10AM flight to Manila.

Normally, flights from Iloilo to Manila only takes an hour; but we arrived 10 minutes earlier than we have thought so to be. We took off to Partas Bus Terminal Pasay Station to check bus times bound for Vigan and discovered one to our liking which was at 11:15AM for P600/pax. However, bus rates may subject to adjustments and bus schedules may vary, so it's best to inquire the company for more information. Contact Partas Bus Terminal Pasay Station at 852-8194. The ticket booth for Vigan would open at 10AM, and knowing it was just past 8AM, we went, first, to the nearest Jollibee Store to "make peace" with our grumbling stomachs, before heading back to the bus station.

Partas Bus Terminal Pasay Station. Photo by ER Romarate.
There were other publications coming from different regions as well - taking part of SPAM's convention. It was past 11:30AM when the bus left the terminal.

Take heed that land trips may take 10 to 12 hours from Manila if traveling is done during the day, and 7 to 10 hours if done at night. Every two to three hours, the bus will pull up at designated areas along the route so that passengers can freshen up.

During our jaunt, the bus hovered, first, at 4NS Bus Stop Tarlac past 1:30PM, then somewhere in Pangasinan at 4PM.

I got a little dizzy from our ride, since the bus driver seemed to speed the wheels so fast then abruptly slam the brake during inappropriate times. A lot of passengers have been complaining about his driving. I also thought that the driver was a creepy tailgater and blocker. I recalled to have drunk my med Serc twice just because of his bad driving.

4NS Bus Stop and Fast Food at Tarlac. Photo by Amemami
We arrived at Vigan around 10:30PM and (after much group discussion of where to sleep) proceeded to Vigan Hotel, since SPAM would cover 2N 3D accommodation at the date of the convention only. We buzzed in two rooms, separating the boys from the girls. I was too sleepy and dizzy to notice the facade of the hotel, so I'll just give an on-look of what it's like in the next post. Sorry.

After settling our stuff, we wandered out at Vigan Centro to scout for food in order to nourish our lost souls. Past 11PM, we were all very tired and we found out that almost all restaurants in the Mestizo District were already closed - save for some bars. After much traipsing and inquiring about, our advisers were able to net off some info from a security guard about a restaurant that operates for 24 hours - nay, 25 hours at Merge Point in Bantay, Ilocos Sur.

Due to my weary body and mental state, I failed to take pictures of the city and the restaurant. The trike going to Merge Point costs P20 per person, even though it only took us not more than two minutes to get there. It seemed like the motorcycle drivers were toying us around.

So, the others ordered a full meal while I just stayed with a yummy Chicken Mami Soup, knowing for sure that if I would eat full, I would have expelled the contents of my "inners." Why? I still got that dizziness from the ride.

After munching our very late night dinner, we headed back at the hotel and paid the drivers another P20/pax. We freshened ourselves a little before plopping on the bed and hitting the lights off.

I woke up at 5 o'clock in the morning of the 22nd, contemplating what's in store for the day.

Vigan, Ilocos Sur. Photos taken by Amemami


1. Know, before "Let's go!" Make a research about Vigan before plunking down all those clothes in your luggage. Where to go? When to go? How can I get there? How much should we spend? Where to stay? What to see? So, how's the weather up there? Yeah, that kind of research. Squeeze some information in the Internet

2. Pack light, pack smart - bring only what's necessary. I prefer one, small, carry-on-sized bag - other than my own handbag - to which my eyes can solely fixed on. Just one, small, carry-on-sized bag to which I can just place it beneath my bus and plane seat. I thought limiting myself to a bag weighing 15 pounds would make my day, but during our trip, it made me realize that mayhap I should lower it to 10lbs, considering how skinny I am.

Packing light will make your journey a lot more comfortable. You can trike around with ease, and oh, you can save money if you can carry your luggage with you on board. Airports charge you a fee for checking in a suitcase or two.

Bring along light-weighted clothes that don't wrinkle easily, gadgets and gizmos that are deemed needed (my biggest mistake is bringing electronics which I never even use during trips), toiletries which include sunscreen and mosquito repellant, foldable umbrella, and other important things like documents and ID. And between you and I (and the netizens), it's just that I prefer to bring a pack of disposable underwear when I'm on a trip for a FEW DAYS only. It saves me a lot of space in my baggage.

3. Label the luggage with your name, address, and emergency phone number.

4. Write two (2) packing lists, if you must. I always have two copies because my mother wants one...so that she can see what I'll be bringing.

5. Hand over to your parents a copy of your itinerary.

6.  Always keep your medications and simple first aid kit close to you.

7.  Don't keep your money in just one particular place. Tuck some of your money in hidden pockets of your outfit. You can sew your own pockets inside your clothing.

In addition to that, carry the amount of cash you see yourself spending for the day. Don't take them all out.

8. If you know you're prone to motion sickness, take your meds before boarding up. Other stuff that will make you feel at ease are minty ointments that you can rub on your forehead, mint candies, green tea and chewing gum.

9. Buy snacks at your own town or city.

10. At a bus stop, force yourself to answer the "call of Mother Nature". Got this tip from our advisers. Even though you don't feel like relieving yourself, just go and force it out, or else, you'll find your bladder in the most excruciating situation.

11. Don't go roaming around the city alone. Travel with a companion. Though, in truth, this happens to be my biggest boo-boo.

12. When in Vigan, don't forget to haggle!

13. Arm yourself with the knowledge of Vigan's tricycle rates. Drivers may fool the guts of you.

14. Take good photographs. 

15. Be alert. Vigan may be one of the country's finest because of its scenery - so quaint, welcoming, nostalgic, magical, romantic, mesmerizing, so Vigan - yet, don't let your senses fail because of its beauty. Secure your belongings, be on a look-out for events that may come wrong.

Hey, hey, so, how did we spend our days at Vigan? Check out part two of our little journey.

This Journey Has Just Vigan II.
(Left) Stone mask at Vigan Hotel; (Center) Chavit Singson's Vigan Baluarte Zoo; (Right) Calle Crisologo at dusk. Photos by Amemami

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

New Look

Hello there! I've made a lot of changes in my blog and I just hope it suits pretty well to your liking. Enjoy!