For most of us members of the working class, the Holy Week can be considered as the most important days that we look forward to. For our Christian friends, the season is used to pause, pray and reflect. For others, these days mean a long weekend escape out of the busy walls of our offices.
It was March when we realized that we want to invade Ilocos for the Holy Week. The Ilocos Region is perfect for travelers of different interests. It cradles several heritage sites which is good news for those who enjoy history and architecture. It also boasts of nice beaches for those who want to get wet and sun kissed.
Our plan was a 3D2N Ilocandia Invasion, 1 day in Vigan, and 2 days in Pagudpud. On a normal day out of the Holy Week, it takes about 8 hours to reach Vigan from Manila. But because it seemed like everyone was on the road to somewhere on that Maundy Thursday, the 8 hours became 16 hours. We left Valenzuela City by 5:00AM and reached Vigan by around 8:00PM. Just wow. Kudos to Romeo for being a patient driver.
We checked in our chosen transient house in Brgy. San Julian Sur before strolling around the famous Calle Crisologo. During peak season, I would suggest that you take the tricycle instead of bringing you car to the heritage village. Parking will literally be a pain in the ass.
Calle Crisologo was busy. A lot of people were strolling, taking selfies, and eating on the road. Most of the restaurants set their tables on the road side. I don’t know why, maybe because the Vigan vibe can be felt more while eating on the roadside, or maybe there’s just no more available space inside. I’m not sure.
We had a hard time looking for a place to eat. So we decided to ask our contact in the transient house to cook for us. Fortunately, it’s fine with them. Starvation solved. We decided to rest and continue our Vigan quest the next day.
The morning after, we visited Syquia Mansion Museum in Quirino Boulevard. It houses most of the memorabilia of the Philippines’ 6th President, Elpidio Quirino. Originally, it was the ancestral house of Quirino’s wife, Doña Alicia Syquia. For an entrance fee of only P50, you can learn a lot about the political career of President Quirino, his romance with Doña Alicia, and the way of life of the Syquia family which tells a lot about most traditions of Ilocanos.
Calle Crisologo during the day is different from its night version, and I love it more. The way the sunrays hit the brick walls brings something to the nerves. The aura of the old houses gives a feeling of being thrown back in the past. The sound of the hooves from the kalesas makes you wonder why can’t these just replace the smoke belchers of the city.
There is still a lot to explore in Vigan, it’s just that we had limited time. Originally, we plan on going to Baluarte (mini-zoo), Hidden Garden (must-try restaurant), Pagburnayan (old-school pottery), and the dancing fountain show at Plaza Salcedo. Next time, we’ll make sure to visit these all, on an off-peak season.