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(Warning:  this post is picture heavy)

We have been planning for our Ilocos trip as early as last month but the details were only finalized about a week before our actual travel (two weeks ago).   Many thanks to my boss who owns the My Vigan Home Hotel in Vigan, our stay and trip to the tourist spots in Vigan as well as in some parts of Laoag and Pagudpud have been taken care by him.    We felt so lucky and blessed to have been accorded the best service available in Ilocos, and my boss really made sure we were taken care of by his staff.

We decided to travel by land, as AJ and I are both comfortable with long travels by bus.   We took the 8:00 p.m. deluxe bus to Vigan at Partas in Cubao and arrived in Vigan at exactly 4:00 a.m.

To those who are planning a trip to Ilocos, night trips and deluxe buses are recommended to avoid the traffic in the provinces you will pass by (i.e. Pampanga, Tarlac and La Union) and for you to have a comfortable sleep inside the bus.   Be sure to bring also jackets and bonnets and socks because Partas buses have really big aircons that will make you freeze if you travel unprepared.

We were fetched by the hotel’s transpo just a few minutes after I called them that we are already at the station and upon arriving at the hotel, we were immediately ushered to our room:   I love this cursive font (don’t know the name, though).  It has an old world feel:                  

Since our tour will start at 9:00 a.m., we decided to sleep a little (with less than 2 hours before sunrise) and then wake up at around 6:30 a.m. for breakfast.

I wasted no time taking pictures of our lovely hotel when the sun finally came up.   The place was really beautiful, with a mix of Spanish and Mexican exteriors.  Since it’s December, the place was also prettified for the holidays – with garlands and big flowers in orange and green:   I love their Christmas Tree:  

Being at My Vigan Home feels like you’re in somebody’s Vigan home indeed, with the arrangement of interiors.  This one serves as a common area where you can just relax with friends and play poker or make chika all night long:  

The banquet area where dinner or lunch is served for big groups:     

Our breakfast:  white rice, fried eggs, Vigan longganisa and Poki-pokiWe started the Vigan tour immediately after our breakfast.   Our tour guide was Kuya Ruffy who is with the Tourism Office in Vigan.  Our first stop was the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity in Bantay, Ilocos Sur, one of the oldest church in the province.  As with most Spanish-colonial churches, it has a bell tower beside it:   Next stop:  Burgos Museum at the center of Vigan City which showcases the memorabilia of Father Jose Burgos, one of the 3 priests known as the Gomburza.   The museum was his former home, and we were able to see his actual quarter:    Then off we went to this town famous for pottery works.  We even met a National Artist there (Mr. Fidel Go whose name escapes me at the moment) and through him, we were able to watch his son do a pottery work “live”: 

We were told that he can make 200 small vases in a day:  

This is where they place the clay to be used in making pottery items such as vases and pots:     The finished products:      We learned from Ruffy that each town in Vigan specializes in a certain product, i.e. one town is known for pottery works, another for weaving and another for food, and so on.

Our next stop was the weaving factory (this made me excited because I am a big fan of abel iloco fabrics).  I was able to try weaving hehe but couldn’t keep up with the speed and precision in which the weavers move.    It’s no surprise that I bought a lot from their merchandise:  

Next we traveled to Gov. Chavit Singson’s Baluarte, where AJ happily participated in the Animal Show:   Me and my friend parrot:   Our morning tour ended here and we went back to the hotel for a sumptuous, Ilocos lunch.  We had Adobong Sitaw, Igado and a soup dish that is made of dulong:       We had our free time in the afternoon and AJ and I spent it walking around Calle Crisologo.   Our last stop was a visit to the Vigan Cathedral which is near our hotel:    Vigan is a province teeming with museums, ancestral houses and streetscape and it is also where the best of Ilocos’ products are sourced from:  Vigan longganisa, bagnet and weaved fabrics, among the many others.

For the Day 2 of our trip, we went to visit Laoag and Pagudpud which offer a totally different experience from Vigan.   More on that in my next post  =)