It’s a long weekend, and we’re not going to content ourselves with just a day trip. Long drive na ito!!!
Coincidentally, a hotel in Vigan is on sale at Deal Grocer (that’s my favorite deal site, bonggey ang mga featured hotels). And the hotel on sale looks very promising.. tagged as the first and only museum hotel in the Philippines, Hotel Luna seems to be a fair choice if travelling to Vigan. Yup, when we say long drive, long drive it is.
The deal is valid for travel from August 10, 2014 to December 15, 2014 except on declared holidays and long weekends….with our travel date that falls on long weekend, I am not quite sure if the hotel can accommodate us. To make sure, I emailed the hotel with my dilemma and they said they can accommodate us on my preferred dates. Purchased 2 voucher through bank deposit, emailed the scanned deposit slip to Deal Grocer and before the day ends, we were booked! Easy peasy booking!
I spent the next few days searching for things to do in Vigan and a day before our travel, our Vigan itinerary was complete:
Day 1: Friday >>>travel Friday noon and spent a night in San Juan, La Union (SJLU has a soft spot in our heart, we just can’t miss spending some hours here)
Day 2: Saturday
- early morning travel to Vigan
- Breakfast somewhere along the road
- Visit Baluarte
- Lunch at Hidden Garden/ Lilong and Lilang’s Restaurant
- Check in at Hotel Luna
- Afternoon walk at Calle Crisologo and Plaza Burgos
- Dinner at Cafe Leona
Day 3: Sunday
- early morning drive to Ilocos Norte
- Breakfast at Bangui Mills/ Kang- Kang Coffee Shop
- Pagudpud until afternoon
- Visit a friend in Laoag
- Head back to Vigan/ dinner at Hotel
Day 4: Monday
- Breakfast at Hotel Luna
- Visit Bell Tower, Visit Abel Weaving, Buy Pasalubong at Calle Crisologo
- Lunch at Hotel then check out
- Manila bound by 1 PM
Well planned itinerary no? that’s what I thought!
Day 1, we’re on the road by 1 PM, arrive in La Union around 8 PM (dami stop over eh).. slept like we never slept for ages.. pagoda coldwave lotion!
Day 2, my early morning drive to Vigan plan didn’t pushed through.. well, the kids can’t resist the beach and the pool!
We stayed at Costa Villa of course.
Vigan bound by 10 AM (we had breakfast at San Fernando, La Union). By 1 PM and still on the road, our tummies started to complain. We decided to stick to our “itinerary” and look for the Hidden Garden. I thought it was far from the centro where our hotel was located.. it’s actually not that far, maps can be deceiving! haha
It’s not that really hidden, but if you can’t find any Hidden Garden Vigan on your GPS, try searching for Lilong and Lilang Restaurant.
It’s a garden with a restaurant inside! It’s not the food that we enjoyed the most.. it’s the tour around the place. Tamarind Bonsai that’s already bearing fruits! Amazeball! And one year old Chico that’s only 3 feet tall and it’s already bearing fruits! WOW! Grafting! I know.. but seeing those plants still amazes me.. and another one: SARIMANOK! Yup the symbolic colorful manok that ABSCBN once featured.. it’s real! And sooo enchanting!
The staff are friendly but lacks hospitality.. though the place makes you feel at home, sadly their staff were not trained on that aspect or they may be really that busy granted that Hidden Garden is already considered as a “must visit” in Vigan.
Checked in at Hotel Luna at around 4 PM.
First impression: WOW! It’s better than how I imagined it!
Hotel Luna exceeds my expectation. We were booked at a corner room so it was huge! The staff, the food, the pool, the place, overall experience is superb! Hotel Luna deserves a separate post.
We stayed in the pool until our tummies started complaining again… as planned, we strolled at Calle Crisologo and Padre Burgos Plaza, we end up eating Ilocos Empanada for dinner and watched the dancing fountain at the plaza. This is a must do if you’re in Vigan, the dancing fountain is fun to watch!
Evelyn’s Empanada is located at the side of Padre Burgos Plaza (almost in front of Mcdo)
Day 3 and we realized our Ilocos Norte plan is not possible.
I read from somewhere that the best time to “stroll” at Calle Crisologo is at dawn..when everyone else is still sleeping. Indeed it was! The street was almost empty.
We had our breakfast at Hotel Luna. Our accommodation includes 2 buffet breakfast we just paid for the kids’ breakfast which is half the buffet breakfast price (650PhP). As I have mentioned the food was great and with more than 5 viands not including Vigan Longganisa and Bacon, the buffet breakfast is worth more than what we paid for.
Another must visit is Baluarte, a mini zoo just a few kilometers away from Vigan. Actually, when you’r in Vigan, everything seems very near, in fact, Melvin, the most accommodating staff from Hotel Luna, mentioned that one can go around the tourists spots in Vigan in 3 hours. He suggested we rent a caleza for 150 an hour and the kutsero will also serve as our tour guide.
But you know, the husband loves to drive….
After breakfast, we’re Baluarte bound. I suggest you visit this place early in the morning, the heat is not fun at all.
There is so much to do in Baluarte.. live encounter and picture taking with a tiger or snake and riding at the back of a small horse.
Day 4 and we’re Manila bound… but not without having our “date” at the pool side… and then the kids went looking for us… good thing, cereals is on the house, we had a few more “moments” while they much on their cereals!
Bid Vigan good bye around 1 PM and arrived home around 8 PM… we got the long drive that we wanted! hah!
Thank you Vigan and Hotel Luna for making it possible.
of course we tried riding the callesa! Not just once but twice.. on our 2nd night, we we’re too tired to walk from mid Calle Crisologo to Cafe Leona.. we hailed a Callessa and the kutsero made our ride worth it by giving us a short tour around nearby streets..
another side note: If you’re going to Vigan, ditch the itineraries, go there empty handed, stay at Hotel Luna and trust a kutsero to take you to Vigan tourist spots.
last one! hahaha We’ll be back of course! I want to see the Bantay Bell Tower, Abel Weaving, go inside old houses, shop at Vigan palengke, stop at the beaches in Santa and see the grotto. There’s a small watch tower near Gabriela Silang park, I wanna see that too! Stop and marvel at the beaches along the road. I think I should plan for the Great North Luzon Getaway (Manila- La Union- Vigan- Ilocos Norte- Vigan- Baguio- Manila)… bonggey to!