Tag Archives: Ilocos Sur

Snapshots of Ilocanos

It’s been more than a month since I visited the beautiful northern provinces of Ilocos and if not for my lack of vacation leaves, I would have traveled back, at least to Vigan, just bask in the fabulous heat of this place. I love the places, the people and their priceless expressions and smiles.

Cute kid on his way home from school.

I hope it's nothing too serious, girls.

This photo and the next two were captured in one shot and I just had to crop to focus on each of their faces.

As our calesa passed by, they looked up from what they're doing and flashed their charming smiles.

Whether this guy flashed us a smile under his cover up, we'll never know. 😉

Inside the Paoay Church or the St. Augustine Church

Captured on our trek to Kabigan Falls

I wanted to join these kids to ward off the heat from the Kabigan Falls trek.

Along the trail at Kabigan Falls, a local is off to start his day.

A very shy kid spotted on our trek back to the Kabigan Falls entrance.

Looks like she'll grow up to be a beauty.

I would have been spooked big time had a ghost appeared behind me @__@


Filed under Photography, Travelogue

Commuting Around Ilocos Sur: Vigan (Day 3)

We woke up feeling rejuvenated and psyched for the last day of our adventure. So after our morning rituals, we headed down the cafeteria to grab our free breakfast. You have a choice from their set menus or you can add some bucks to get their specials. I settled for beef pares and coffee. 😀

We coordinated our calesa tour with Kuya Mark the night before and honestly, we were a bit hesitant to take on this tour because we initially thought of it as ‘expensive’ as it will take around 3-4 hours to complete the whole tour. So what triggered our change of heart? I reasoned with my gal pals that we spend around that much money for coffee alone, so why not spend a little more for something worthwhile? On that note, we confirmed our reservation for our calesa tour the next day. 😉

We had some spare time as we wait for our dear coachman (ok fine, kutsero), Manong Jaime. What better way to spend idle time than more picture-taking and souvenir-shopping? And the guys at Grandpa’s Inn were more than willing to indulge us and we were more than happy to pose. (^_^) They sure know the places tourists would love to have their pictures taken within their charming premises.

Around 830AM, Manong Jaime finally arrived and we jumpstarted the tour as we only have until noon (earlier would be better) to finish the whole tour because we intend to take the 130PM bus schedule to Manila.

Calesa Tour

  • Bantay Church and Bell Tower
  • Syquia Mansion
  • Simbaan a Bassit (you’ll pass by this cemetery chapel en route to Crisologo Museum)
  • Crisologo Museum
  • Pagburnayan
  • Hidden Garden
  • Baluarte Zoo (we skipped this one due to lack of time)

From Hidden Garden, we requested to be dropped off at Café Leona along Calle Crisologo for our last meal before we head back to Manila. As our Longganiza Pizza will be served in 15 minutes, I took the chance to wander one last time while my friends stayed in the cool comforts of the resto.

These places are within walking distance from Café Leona:

  • St. Paul’s Metropolitan Cathedral and Bell Tower
  • Plaza Burgos
  • Plaza Salcedo

Since we still had time to buy more pasalubongs, we strolled towards Trellis again but this time we walked past it towards the building where Greenwich is. Inside is Marsha’s, the stall of the much talked about brownies and bibingka. People love it for its moistness but for me it’s just ok, nothing really special about it.

By 12:30PM, we walked back to Grandpa’s Inn to check out (they didn’t charge us for the extra half hour, maybe because we checked in at 7PM 🙂 ) and grab our stuff. We took the trike to Partas terminal and we were just in time before the 1:30PM bus leaves for Manila.

Homebound at last. And based on calculations, we will arrive in Manila at around 9:30PM.

How utterly wrong we were. We arrived 11:45PM at the Cubao terminal. That’s more than 11 hours of butt-numbing ride!

Tip: According to my officemate, we were lucky that the bus made just 3 stopovers because buses often have as much as 5 stopovers to pick up passengers. This is because bus companies incur loss (‘lugi’) as they aren’t usually full compared when they leave Manila.

Partas has a non-stop trip back to Manila which costs around Php1,300. This bus has its own toilet so stopovers are not necessary.


Calesa tour-4hrs (Php150/hr+50-tip) (Php650/3)


Bantay Church


Syquia Mansion fee         


Crisologo Museum (donation) Php50/3


Trike fare to terminal (Php45/3)


Bus fare from Vigan to Manila





Filed under Photography, Travelogue

Commuting Around Ilocos Sur: Vigan (Night 2)

After we attacked our empanada, it was an uneventful two-hour ride from Laoag to Vigan. We just took in the coolness of the bus and succumbed to some much needed power nap before reaching the last leg of our adventure.

Around 630PM, we were finally in Vigan. We rode the trike to Grandpa’s Inn and as we saw our room, we forgot how tired we were because our room was just so gorgeous and cozy.

Grandpa's Inn has mixed reviews but we really loved our short stay here.

We finally felt like humans again after a nice warm bath and we decided to head out for dinner. And this is after we battled the urge to stay and finish Aga Muhlach’s movie on cable. Because he is still my ultimate crush until now. Who cares if the media says he’s getting chubby? I like flesh on my men. The dimples are add-ons I so would not mind at all. (.^__^.)

It was as we were strolling this street when the 50ish man sneaked up on me. Kerrrazzy dude.

Calle Crisologo at night is just as charming as I imagined it to be. It was years since I last visited but it still feels like the first time. As I was taking photos of my friends, I was so shocked when a late-50ish foreigner sneaked up on me. He took me by the armpits, I almost coughed out a crisp curse that we Filipinos are so known for. Good thing I wasn’t holding my tripod, else I would have smacked him good with it. But he seemed like he’s just doing a Just for Gags on me so I let it pass.

We strolled the stretch of Calle Crisologo to find some decent dinner.

We finally had our dinner at Trellis, which happened to have a live acoustic band that night. They were ok, except for some of their song choices and occasions when it seemed like they have their own lyrics. We generally enjoyed their gig though.

The walk back to Grandpa's Inn. Lovely night!


Trike fare from terminal to inn (Php50/3)

Php 17

Accommodation with free breakfast (Php2230/3)


Tip (Php150/3)





Filed under Photography, Travelogue

Preview: 3-Day Ilocos Adventure

I was supposed to jumpstart the summer with a trip to Sagada with friends but what is planning a vacation without encountering those (annoying) hitches, right? And so, in place of that, I decided to scour the web for info on how to commute around Ilocos, grabbed my available travel galpals and dredged up a 3-day itinerary  that will cover Laoag,  Pagudpud and Vigan.

Those three days of vacation were a mixture of grueling journey by bus, trike and calesa (horse-drawn carriage) and occasional rough roads. But it’s so easy to overlook those difficulties because these were compensated by the amazing places and people we met along the way. Not a single bad experience in Ilocos.     \(^_^)/

This vintage chest, displayed at the Syquia Mansion, is made of camphor wood; the inside smells so good you'd want to curl up and sleep.

Over the next days, I will be posting the treasure of info I found and share with you the details, tips and expenses of our 3-day Ilocos adventure. In the meantime, here’s a preview of our itinerary:

Day 0 Mar 16 8PM Depart for Laoag
Day 1 Mar17 6AM ETA in Laoag
Laoag Tour
4PM Depart for Pagudpud
6PM Head to Saud
Day 2 Mar 18 7AM North/South Pagudpud Tour
2PM Depart for Laoag
4PM Continue travel to Vigan
6PM ETA in Vigan
Night stroll
Day 3 Mar 19 8AM Vigan Tour
1PM Depart for Manila
9PM ETA in Manila


Filed under Photography, Travelogue