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Friday, June 10, 2011


Vigan is one of the places in Ilocos that i have always wanted to see even way back College days when I was studying in Pangasinan. I have always wondered about how old their heritage houses are and how it would look like in person. Not to say that there is shortage of such old houses in Pangasinan but the expanse and the way in which they are preserved in Vigan has caught my curiosity. At the same time, I have always wondered why Vigan took so long to classify as a city despite being the capital of Ilocos Sur. After me and my wife dropped by the place last April, I think  I have a little idea why.......

My wife and I booked  a 1-way flight to Ilocos Norte because we intended to take the bus back to Manila with the hope of  dropping by Vigan should time warrants. It was already 7:30pm on a Sunday when we got to laoag from Pagudpud.After withrawing money from the bank, we decided to roam around for a few minutes to snap some night shots. We finally got to the Fariñas station at around 9pm where we boarded the bus bound Cubao. It was then that I made the last-minute decision to stop in Vigan for an hour or so before taking the bus again to Manila.

pusangkalye in Calle Crisologo

We got to Vigan after 1 and a half hour. We took the tricycle from the highway straight to Calle Crisologo. At  night time, tricycles in Vigan are more expensive. They usually ask you to pay for the whole ride for 50 pesos around the city. If you have companions, they will charge you 20 pesos per head. Expensive if you are on a tight budget. It was already 10:30 pm and I noticed that the city is already quiet. I hardly saw people walking the streets. Surprisingly, the avenues are well lit. That goes with historical landmarks as well.

On the way to Calle Crisologo, I saw some old churches and well maintained plazas, less the beggars prevalent in the parks in Manila. I imagined walking around and enjoying the view. But we went straight to our destination since we didn't intend to stay long.
kalye crisologo
The famous Calle Crisologo looks romantic at night. While Teresa went straight to the only open souvenir shot, I was busy taking pictures. There were only a few people around so it was an opportune time to frame the place. I love the way the avenues were lighted. This Hispanic town is really admirable. The cobblestone streets, the unique architecture which combines local and colonial European architecture is a  feast in the eye.

At around 11pm, we suddenly felt hungry. I remember that we didn't have dinner yet as we were in a hurry to board the bus back in Laoag. We roamed around Calle Crisologo to look for a place to eat. The only one open was Max Restaurant, there were still customers eating but they were already closed for new orders. All the other stores were also already closed. We then decided to ask the guard if there is any food station we can go to. He said it's difficult during this time of the day. Not even a convenience store? I was starting to feel uncomfortable.
He advised us to go the the PARTAS bus station and take our chance if there is a karinderya open. Another 50 pesos for the tricycle ride of less the 3 kilometers. We were lucky to find the karinderya open for business.  
We ordered our food and ate it as if its the most delicious food ever. No other choice.

We then proceed to the bus station and find out if we can get back to Manila in time for my afternoon work. The bus station was filled with locals and a few foreign tourists eager to get to their destination. I noticed that they dont issue tickets but numbers instead written in cut cigarette package. Our number says 97. I asked the guard about the time of the next trip. he said we just have to wait coz the last trip from Vigan to manila was at 8:30 pm, all other trips after that are the ones from Laoag. In other words , we will be chance passengers if there are available seats.A few buses already arrived in the station but all of them were full. It seems that there is a slim chance of boarding one soon. I asked people around since there's no clear queue for the passengers issued with numbers, one told me that person #10 is still in the station. ouch. I started to get irritated.
 It was already 12 midnight and our bag were heavy. Some advised us to go back to the highway and take our chances. I thought it was a good idea so off we went. The tricycle charged us 100 pesos.There are many bus companies based in Laoag, Fariñas, Partas, Florida etc.

When we got there, there were around 20 or so people waiting for the buses to stop. Buses came but they all passed us because they are full. Yeah, what do I expect, it's Sunday night and vacationers are expected to go back to Manila ayt? It took us almost an hour standing along the highway. To no avail.My patience was already running out....
In my mind, why the f*ck that a tourist spot like Vigan does't have its own trips to Manila on a Sunday night past 8:30pm and rely on buses from Laoag which is another tourist spot???? It's understandable that they are mostly full given the circumstances.

And why in the world that a travel blogger named pusangkalye failed to remember this? I thought it's gonna be easy.Shame on me. I was too excited to see Vigan and I didn't reasearch on this. The only assurance that I had was a photo of the bus schedules from Fariñas Laoag station. I opened my dslr from time to time to see when the next bus will be leaving Laoag. 

We went back to PARTAS station. Another 50 pesos for the tricycle.I saw more people waiting for the buses to come. In my desperation, I decided that we take the bus back to Laoag and from there, ride another one back to Manila. Good thing I was able to ask the driver and his conductor to transfer us to another bus bound Manila that the will meet along the way. We were 20 minutes away from Laoag when the savior bus came.

So there, the  normally12-hour bus ride from Laoag to Manila became a grueling 16-hour tour of Laoag -Vigan, Vigan- Laoag, then Laoag to Manila. Add that to 2 hours of waiting in vain. 

That explains WHY I LOVE and HATE VIGAN......

PS: this is not to say that I hate Vigan in totality. Staying there for a few hours is definitely not enough to appreciate everything that it has to offer. I hate it only for this particular experience which is also mainly because of the poor judgement (s) I made during our trip. Take this as a satire then. If asked, would I want to go back to Vigan? Of coarse yes!!! Next time, I would be wiser to do more research and not to try to go back to Manila on a Sunday night.


  1. at un pala ang dahilan kung bakit positive at negative ang post na to hehehehe. next time research lels

  2. hanep sa ganda dyan lalo na makapacpicture sa gabi. olats nga lang sa haba ng byahe. Parang ansakit sa gulugod at sa pwet.

  3. i think its better if you will visit Ilocos take a bus ride at night. and when you wake up Hello Ilocos, and sked a flight via plane to mnl. just like we did last year. no bad memories. i miss cafe uno and la preciosa resto. :D

    -mark oliqz

  4. kailangan talaga mag iresearch para di masayang ang oras... pero at least nakadropped by kayo :D

  5. Hi Anton,
    Vigan is very memorable for me. That’s where my friend and I went when we decided to start traveling. Next time, sulitin mo na lang ang pagpunta dyan, wag lang isang oras :)

  6. @Arvin--sorry na po tay. sa susunod reresearch na talaga ako.lesson learned.hahaha

  7. @khantotara---sakit pa sa likod kamo.lols

  8. I also experienced that one time in Cagayan de Oro were there are no available buses from 6 pm to 8 pm. With family, we were also standing in waiting for our savior bus. Standing for 2 hours with heavy backpack. I almost got irritated also. Good thing that you still hold your patience, since we have no choice if we keep irritated and lose control and focus.

  9. Huling punta ko sa Ilocos nung 3rd high school pa ako and my dad drove for us. Yung pabalik, nag-bus na lang kami ng pinsan ko pauwing Pangasinan. I think given fact naman na talaga na most places sa Region 1 madalang ang daan ng sasakyan sa kagabi or very limited. Research muna pagdating sa transportations bago lumarga koyah :D

  10. Dahil sa experience mo megaresearch na ako bago pumunta dyan at magbabasa ng maraming blogs tungkol sa Ilocos :)

  11. Parang ang sarap pumunta sa Ilocos! Minsan nga talaga sa mga probinsya, may oras ang bus eh, hassle talaga! Natikman nyo ba ang Empanada dyan sa Ilocos?!

  12. In my opinion, those are not big enough reasons to HATE a place.

    I think it adds charm to a place if the transportation from and to it is scarce. It's about making the most of what is in the place since when you go somewhere you should try not to stress about anything diba?

    Plus it serves as a lesson to research more on a certain place beforehand. If you wing it, you should be ready for some mishaps. =)

  13. PS: this is not to say that I hate Vigan in totality. Staying there for a few hours is definitely not enough to appreciate everything that it has to offer. I hate it only for this particular experience which is also mainly because of the poor judgement (s) I made during our trip. Take this as a satire then. If asked, would I want to go back to Vigan? Of coarse yes!!! Next time, I would be wiser to do more research and not to try to go back to Manila on a Sunday night.

  14. Kaya nung nandyan kami, nagstay kami sa isang hotel over night. In fairness, ang mura ang accommodations ng isang hotel diyan to think na sikat pala siya. Naappreciate ko lahan ng picture, at namiss ko maglakad lakad sa Calle Crisologo. Tsk. Lastly, para hindi maexperience ang hirap sa bus, magdala ng sasakyan. Ang yomon! Haha.

  15. usually i just wait for the bus coming from laoag along the highway at 10PM.. if i missed it, i make habol the bus directly sa Vigan Terminal.. haha pero ala pa yan pag holidays like Holy Week and Christmas. basta.. :) nirepost ko din yung Vigan ko ;)

  16. That was one inconvenient night. hehe but Crisologo is one beautiful place nonetheless. i would love to go back there hopefully at night too. But i will keep in mind your experience. :)

  17. Nag wonder ako bakit hate and love. Ayun pla.. but anyway, I believed you had a great time..

    Nice photos too.

  18. Hehe! Catchy ng title! :)

    Lesson learned: Research, Plan and Research :D

  19. Now I know what to prepare for next time. hehehe..
    Vigan is one of our target destinations. Thanks. :)


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