Backpacking Ilocos 101: Manila to Vigan
This is my second time around in Ilocos and the place never fails to amaze me. We hopped from Vigan to Laoag to Pagudpod in a span of five days. I’ll give off some tips on how to get around Vigan and Pagudpod, the pocket friendly way. We basically survived with the average of less than P1,000 a day. This is the first part of the backpacking entries I’m going to post.
We basically started in Manila. We chose to go for Dominion Bus Lines and left for the 8:30pm ride. Manila to Vigan is around 8-9 hours so I’d rather sleep it off. You could in fact make use of different bus lines if you want to go to Vigan but Dominion Bus Lines is quite cheaper than what Viron Bus Lines is offering.
We arrived in Vigan at around 5am and went to El Juliana Hotel. I have to admit that the hotel 4 years ago was way better than what it is now. The place is literally falling apart not to mention the unmaintained pool that could already be a breeding ground of mosquitoes. They charged P900 for a room good for two. If you are on a tight budget, you could try the different homestays in the area. You could opt to have the one beside El Juliana hotel, or you could simply ask the tricycle drivers to bring you to one affordable homestay. I saw one sign that says P280/night, I don’t know if it goes per person or it is already good for one room.
Getting around Vigan is a great experience. The picturesque heritage village simply says it all. Plus the fact that you could get around the different sites of Vigan for P150/hour tour with the calesas. The tour typically covers the bell tower where the Panday fight scene was made, then the Hidden Garden, Burnay workshop, weaver’s workshop, Chavit Singson’s Baluarte and other museums that you could opt to skip or explore on your own. We covered the different areas except the museums and we were done after 3 hours.
Aside from the trips and the sites to see, you should try the delicacies sold in the plaza. Though the Mc Donald’s is so tempting, try the Ilocano foods for a different experience.