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Monday, February 21, 2011

Experience a Blast from the Past in Vigan

Over the last weekend, we tripped the land by going places. We finally caught a glimpse of Vigan, an all year round getaway and tourist attraction. We commuted from Cubao taking us to our point of destination for a 10-hour bus ride. We arrived almost midnight and an event was taking place in the plaza jam-packed by the people watching the show. At first we tried to figure out where to stay, but one of the staffs in the fast food chain where we had our dinner, showed us the way to head up to the Inn that I found in the internet; this was the result of my researches about hotels and inns online prior to our arrival in Vigan.
Grandpa’s Inn was just few steps away from the street of Calle Crisologo. The building itself was among one of the old Spanish houses lined up in the cobblestone streets of Vigan. The community’s ambiance has a touch of blast from the past and it feels like you are taken back in time revealing the facet of its serenity of the past century. Its heritage leaves a mark why Vigan is one of the most sought tourist spot in the Philippines.
Holiday will not be complete without dining in especially when your stomach growls for the place’s unique and authentic food. If you love to explore and experience different dining options, Vigan has a lot of things to offer when it comes to foods; you’ll have the choice to either go to a plaza if you prefer to eat street foods, dine in at your favorite fast food chains or go and experience some of the restaurants established in the old Spanish abodes if you really are into discovering in time to have a Spanish feel in the 18th century.
I love to explore some of the food hubs; first day in the morning, we had a breakfast at Café Uno, which was just a wall away from the front desk of Grandpa’s Inn. One of the meals they serve is “longaniza de Vigan”. We tried this delicacy as our breakfast. Nothing really special and it was a common meal served with an egg and rice; unless you want to try out something different, you can choose from a variety of meal in the menu.
Ilokandia is said to be the birthplace of bagnet. We had lunch in Los Majitos de Vigan, a street dining within its heritage. We ordered bagnet, an Ilocano version of lechon kawali, but the process how it’s made is culturally different since the piece of pork belly is boiled in its entirety with certain herbs and spices. This was served with bagoong paste. My orientation how bagnet is made is said that pork has a long exposure in the sun before it is actually fried.
It was time to take our snack after coming back from the inn to have some rests. We went to P. Burgos plaza where street foods are served. We tried okoy and empanada that are served from a typical carinderia found at the sidewalks of the plaza. Both are freshly made and cooked in a big pan as they are fried separately in a cooking oil. Their empanada contains veggies, meat and egg, which is quite different from the empanada that we usually buy in the restaurants. These were just some of the street foods that are irresistible to taste when you jaunt around the area.
We had another short rest and at past 9 in the evening we had a coffee at Café Leona. They usually set up chairs and tables outside during night time. They are a little bit combination of Italian pizzas and pastas, Filipino and Japanese foods.
Vigan reminds me of San Juan, Puerto Rico during the course of my career in cruise ship industry just few years back because it has a similar touch of the old heritage of both places. The overall experience in Vigan was great. The three days stay was a bit short and if you really want to sightsee more, it is recommended to have your vacation planned.

Sameera Chathuranga

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