A Jeepney Ride Around Vigan

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August 3rd 2011
Published: August 20th 2011
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Our Jeepney For the DayOur Jeepney For the DayOur Jeepney For the Day

Hired this jeepney for all 12 of us for only 800 pesos (less than US $20). Visited the Bantay Belfry, Baluarte, Burgos Museum, Syquia Mansion, Calle Crisologo, etc.
Packed like sardines, we drove around Vigan, the capital of Ilocos Sur. I have earlier blogged about this when I visited in 2009 (Northern Philippines: A Spanish Heritage), but this time around I'm visiting with my family and friends. All 12 of us!

If there is ever any holiday where "feeding times" were not observed, this is it. Like we managed 2 breakfasts, a very late lunch, too many snacks while cruising on a van, dessert before a proper meal, an early dinner, and perhaps a 2nd "light" dinner? Every meal, one of the kids would ask "Is this lunch or dinner?" So much confusion 😊. And tons of fun!

Bantay Belfry: We've Only Just Vigan!

First off, we hired a jeepney to take us all around Vigan. Cost us 800 pesos. Not bad. Way better than hailing 3 pedicabs or tricycles where 3 of us would have to squeeze in in the cab + 1 person riding behind the tricycle driver. Like NOT! The kids may have had some fun, but the adults suffered from muscle atrophy by the time we reach the destination. So hiring a jeepney was no brainer. Besides, how can you be wrong with 800 pesos
Bantay BelfryBantay BelfryBantay Belfry

Too many location shooting here for movies featuring Fernando Poe Jr, the actor who once challenged Ex-Pres Gloria Arroyo in her bid for a 2nd Presidential term in 2004. Poe lost, challenged election results, had a fatal stroke.
(less than US$20) for all 12 of us?

Bantay Belfry was where we started. Just 10 minutes away from the town center. A quick visit to the nearby 16th century St. Augustine Church , then a walk towards the belfry, and a climb up the bell tower from where one gets a panoramic view of the town. The place is familiar to many of us Filipinos as it has been used lots of times in many local films starring a movie icon who once ran as President of our country. No, I'm not talking about the one who actually won, but about his best buddy who ran, lost and passed on. To this day, many believed he was a victim of election fraud, should have been declared President, may not have had that fatal stroke and could have survived to rule our land. Too many ifs, really. Who knows?

Baluarte Zoo

From Bantay Belfry, our hired jeepney took us to Baluarte. This is a private zoo owned by a politician who has tigers and python snakes as pets. Sure, visitors can go pet the snakes and tigers. Even have their photos taken.

As I
Baluarte ni ChavitBaluarte ni ChavitBaluarte ni Chavit

Here one can pet drugged, tamed tigers. Free admission. But do you really want to see drugged tigers?
stood to snap pictures of my elves posing with the pet tiger, it occurred to me how these tigers must have been so drugged to tame them. Sad about that. It is simply un-tiger like to sit still there and wait till the camwhores are done. Then off they go to their cages. Clean and well-maintained. But so little space. They must go insane. I would, if put in that tiny cage!

Burgos Museum

The Burgos Museum is an ancestral house of one of the 3 martyr-priests collectively known as Gomburza which stands for Fathers GOMez, BURgos and ZAmora. Memorabilia of this Ilocano martyr-priest along with archaelogical finds and other museum pieces is a good way to exhaust all that energy and frustration after a couple of hours at the petting zoo.

Donato Mansion, Now Grandpa's Inn & Cafe Uno Restaurant

From Burgos Museum, we took a break for a well-deserved lunch. This Mansion, now a famous B&B and resto, is just an easy walk from Burgos Museum and the heritage center called Calle Crisologo.

Grandpa's Inn is where we plan to stay the next time we visit Vigan. We all fell in love with the
Syquia MansionSyquia MansionSyquia Mansion

Ancestral House of Alicia Syquia, wife of former President Elpidio Quirino, who ascended to the Presidency as the first and only widower-President. His daughter Vicky became First Lady at age 18.
place. Cozy. Quaint. Good location. Reasonably-priced. Friendly staff. Good food!

Syquia Mansion

After lunch, we trooped to Syquia Mansion where we met its caretaker. Rusty belongs to a family of caretakers. He is 5th generation and being single, he claims to be the last caretaker from the same family taking care of the Mansion. He lives here. Alone. He is not young anymore, and when he goes, we wonder who would dare take his place. It’s a beautiful house. But we all found it a little creepy. When asked, Rusty admitted to “faint” creepy stuff happening in this Mansion during his watch. Yay!

Calle Crisologo

Calle Crisologo is a walk through history. Colonial architecture, cobble-stoned walkways, calesa or horse-drawn carriages, stalls selling antiques. I remember walking on this same road some years back when I visited this heritage site (Northern Philippines: A Spanish Heritage). This time around, I didn't miss stopping by at Cafe Leona at the end of Calle Crisologo, Another ancient house now transformed into a restaurant offering Ilocano traditional and fusion food, along with other Asian and Mediterranean cuisine. The former owner by the name of......what else, Leona Florentino........ was a poetess-hero, perhaps the very first
Calle Crisologo  By DayCalle Crisologo  By DayCalle Crisologo By Day

Declared a UNESCO Heritage Site, this cobble-stoned street ("calle") smacks of our colonial heritage.
Filipino feminist, a respected literary figure in her time. Leona was also the mother of Isabelo de los Reyes, who became a senator and was the founder of the labor movement and Aglipayan Church in the Philippines. The restaurant houses the Tourism Office where one can ask for maps and travel brochures.

A bit of trivia here: Florentino may sound Spanish to us, but in those days, surnames starting with the letter "F" were given to Chinese who converted to Catholicism. Leona's ancestors were traced to a wealthy Chinese family from Laguna. The same wealthy Chinese ancestor of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. Now........I wonder not where they got their literary and patriotic genes.

Check out my next blog on our food trip around Ilocos.

Oh, btw, my 13 year-old granddaughter made this video using her iPod touch . Take time to view this video link . And if you feel like pleasing this teenage director wannabe, don't fail to leave ur comments. Thank you!

Additional photos below
Photos: 20, Displayed: 20


Calle Crisologo By NightCalle Crisologo By Night
Calle Crisologo By Night

Cafe Leona is right by the end of Calle Crisologo where a statue of the poetess-martyr Leona Florentino welcomes visitors ready for a stroll through this cobble-stoned historic street.
Burgos MuseumBurgos Museum
Burgos Museum

The Ancestral House of Father Burgos, 1 of 3 martyr-priests executed 24 yrs before Jose Rizal, the national hero. Now a Museum.
The Virgin & the BelfryThe Virgin & the Belfry
The Virgin & the Belfry

Right before the bell tower is a Church.
Cafe LeonaCafe Leona
Cafe Leona

Built in 1797, it is said Leona Florentino comes from the same Chinese ancestors from Laguna as the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.
Still In ViganStill In Vigan
Still In Vigan

More centuries-old houses in this heritage site. A blast from our colonial past.
Vigan CathedralVigan Cathedral
Vigan Cathedral

some things never change...........

"Kutsero" is the term used to refer to drivers of these horse-drawn "calesas" or carriages. You may hire one to stroll around the historic sites in Vigan. Many are found along the side of the Vigan Church.
Kids At PlayKids At Play
Kids At Play

Rather late for these kids to be playing. We can't resist having this photo taken.
Tiger as One Man's Pet?Tiger as One Man's Pet?
Tiger as One Man's Pet?

poor tiger. tamed. must be drugged. then caged after the camwhoring sessions.
Baluarte ni ChavitBaluarte ni Chavit
Baluarte ni Chavit

More animals at this private zoo.
Grandpa's Inn Grandpa's Inn
Grandpa's Inn

This is one swell B&B. A bit artsy, their paintings are actually for sale. You'd love their calesa beds in the rooms.
Calesa BedsCalesa Beds
Calesa Beds

After a "calesa" ride (horse-drawn carriage) around town, how about sleeping in one of these calesa beds inside Grandpa's Inn?
Calesa RideCalesa Ride
Calesa Ride

Impatient me can't ride the "calesa". Funny, but I really grow impatient by the "slowness" of the ride. Argggghhhh

20th August 2011

this a exotic place....
21st August 2011

Another wonderful blog, great photos thanks so much for sharing so many lovely places in your country ... we can't wait to read ... "Food Tripping Around Northern Philippines" food and wine are two things that make life a lot of fun ... plus good people & beautiful places.
21st August 2011

One more Liliram special
We love your blogs and really--- you don't look anything like a sardine! The Syquia Mansion is lovely. You are certainly doing a nice job show casing your country.
22nd August 2011
Bantay Belfry

interesting blog,...
30th November 2011

vigan oh vigan
wish i can explore vigan too, my mom is from candon i.s. but been living in mla. the rest of my life, hay vigan wish to visit you vigan.

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