The heritage site of Vigan represents the blending of cultures (Asian-European) that is worth visiting among the different places north of the Philippines. The classic architecture as well as unique food and cultural experiences offered in the city should be part of the tourist’s long bucketlist.
Last December 2015, we had a chance to visit the city as we were heading to Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. Though I had enjoyed Vigan a few hours, I missed the opportunity to get to the know city more and with that in mind, several friends and I decided to head out to this wonderful city for a multiday tour.
Day 1 (Manila to Urdaneta, Pangasinan, approximately 200km)
8 of us converged at the Valenzuela town center as we took the national highway route (the most common one if you intend to go north). Our target for the day was Urdaneta, Pangasinan-roughly around 200km from my place (Las Pinas City)…
We rode out early and had breakfast at the lugawan near the arch of Bulacan…
Moving on, we got past Bulacan and Pampanga with relative ease given that the heat wasnt too much and traffic was fine…Unfortunately, one had to back out somewhere in Angeles due to an emergency…
Of course, one of the dreaded stretches of this route Tarlac City-this is my third time to pass here and the heat and lengthy flat sections just made us want to end our trip immediately.
Moving on, we arrived at Urdaneta Pangasinan around 8ish-and spent the night in M’s motel (700 per night good for 2 people-the place was ok since youre just after a shower and decent sleep)
Day 2 (Urdaneta to Taguiden, Ilocos Sur, approximately 140km)
To start our day, our fellow cyclist from our local bike group invited us for breakfast at his place at Pozzorubio, Pangasinan…Aside from exchanging stories and enjoying food, we also talked about different builds and potential tours in the future…we left a little bit before lunch time…
Though we got past different towns easily, it became a bit difficult at La Union (Bacnotan-Sudipen) as the roads became narrower and by nightfall, several buses and trucks were out-good thing, we reached Taguiden, Ilocos Sur in one piece and checked in at Edibel inn (the place is just plain terrible-no light in the bathroom, plenty of mosquitoes and weak airconditioning!)
Day 3 (Taguiden, Ilocos Sur-Vigan, Approximately 90km)
Some of our friends rode early but I and another ride cyclist rode out late as we waited for another biker who needed to make up for lost distance from yesterday’s target…the exciting thing about this day is that not only did we reach our destination but also had fun checking out the wonderful seaside sites, and other structures before the city of Vigan…
- Though some groups who earlier toured Vigan claim that you can reach the place in two days, it is sensible to schedule it with an additional day to address concerns about delays in the trip. Again, based on personal preference, I’d rather spread my effort out equally in a number of days rather than burn ourselves out just for the sake of reaching the place in the shortest time possible. Having an additional day allows you to adjust your itinerary (our day 2 target was Candon City but ended up 20km short-which was fine since we only needed to travel a shorter distance for the third day).
- One of the new things we’ve experienced here is that we were invited by bikers based in certain areas-such as the case in Pozzorubio. In cases like these, it is nice to accept invitations as this helps widen your network of friends along the way. Of course, it would be rude and disrespectful to simply eat and run-so hang out a bit, tell stories and plan bigger trips with them! Too bad we weren’t able to meet bikers from Agoo who also wanted to see us-perhaps next time.
- There are several transient houses in Vigan which charge really low rates (in our case, 500 with breakfast-very nice place and highly recommended!)
- If you want to get home by Bus, take the Partas Bus line. This is my second time to ride their buses and the trip was pleasant and quite fast-consider leaving early evening since traffic is lighter. Also, leaving late evening allows you to tour the place. In this case, we enjoyed moving around Vigan, taking pictures and choosing the best restaurants in town
5. Budget is key in this trip. Though it is sensible to allot 300-500 for your lodging be prepared to shell out as much as 700 at La Union (if you intend to stay for a night) as decent places here seem to charge a bit higher-again, based on preference, I’d rather spend a little bit more for decent sleep rather than save up a few hundred pesos and deny myself of comfortable rest.