It was my second time to stay at Grandpa’s Inn. As usual, everything was clean and comfortable, but what I really like about this place is that it was close to where the action is - just a few steps from Calle Crisologo. We had to wait for some time to be able to check in as they were fully-booked due to the festival, and almost all guests arrived at the same time.
If there is one place in the Philippines that I love revisiting, it would have to be Vigan. If memory serves me right, it’s my fifth time here. I just love the old Spanish town vibe and the sense of history it has. The city is actually one of the few UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Philippines, and one that I can, without hesitation, recommend to anyone visiting the archipelago.
What to Eat. The fusion of Spanish and Filipino cuisine makes Vigan one of the best places to eat in the country, whether it be at the town plaza in front of the Cathedral or at one of the city’s popular restaurants. Here are my top 3 favorites:
Vigan Longganisa: Kusina Felicitas at Grandpa’s Inn serves a breakfast set of this garlicky pork sausage served with fried rice, eggs, pickled papaya and Ilocano vinegar for dipping. Personally, i like the sausage really crunchy, with cheddar cheese on the side.
Vigan Empanada: A combination of crispy deep-fried sausage, egg, shredded papaya in a hand-kneaded pastry shell dipped in vinegar. A lighter version of it would be the the deep-fried Okoy, made of vegetables, shrimp and eggs.
Bagnet: A whole slab of pork belly - boiled, sun and air-dried, and then deep fried to perfection. Best served with fermented anchovies and onions.
The Raniag Twilight Festival is Vigan’s unique way of celebrating Halloween and All Soul’s Day. The week long celebration, culminates with a lighted float parade that starts around twilight, which of course is believed to be the "witching hour". Aside from ghouls and zombies that grace the procession, there are also characters from Philippine mythology, fantasy, and western pop culture.
At the Sinking Bell Tower, a popular historical landmark in Laoag City said to be sinking an inch every year, we were met by a family friend who picked us up for brunch and do some sightseeing after. An odd observation about the tower is that it was built 80 meters away from the Cathedral.
The early 18th-century Saint Augustine Church of Paoay in Ilocos Norte is a prime example of Spanish colonial earthquake baroque architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the collective group of Baroque Churches of the Philippines.
With 20 wind turbines arranged on a single row along the shoreline, the Bangui Wind Farm was the largest in Southeast Asia until 2014, when it lost the title to a neighboring town’s wind farm. Nonetheless, it remains to be a popular attraction because of its accessibility.
To get here. From Laoag City, drive through Pan-Philippine Highway/AH26 passing by Cape Bojeador and Burgos Wind Farm. Make a left turn a few meters after passing by the Burgos Wind Farm. Drive straight ahead until you reach Estrells Place Resort, then turn right. Alternately, if you are staying at one of the resorts in Pagudpud, a tricycle can take you there.
Saud Beach is my kind of beach: crystal clear waters, fine white sand, a vast shoreline, and most of all, less commercialized and no party crowd, it is quite stress free and peaceful.