Vigan in an Afternoon

Trip Start Dec 03, 2012
Trip End Jan 09, 2013

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Flag of Philippines  , Luzon,
Thursday, December 13, 2012

Rice Congee
Took a taxi to Partas Bus Terminal near SM City Mall, only to just miss the 9 am Vigan bound bus. Partas would not issue advance ticket for 10 am, so I made myself comfortable at a breakfast stall and ordered a bowl of Lugaw - a rice congee served with a hardboiled egg. Just as I was about to tuck in, a scruffy old auntie begged me for some pesos. The stall owner actually shooed her away. Annoyed with the stall owner's behaviour, I sat her down next to me and asked if she wanted breakfast. She began gesturing with her fingers to her mouth, so I ordered the same breakfast for her, much to her delight.
No More Mr Bopha
The University of the Cordilleras law faculty brass band was performing a parade just before I boarded my bus at 10 am. The long tiring journey to Vigan was basically a doze in and out trip. But it was not long before I found the bus cruising literally metres next to the South China Sea. I looked out to the sea expecting some threatening dark clouds of Typhoon Bopha but the sky was clear as mud. Every town that bus passengers alighted along the way was dotted by McDonalds and/or Jollibee.
Vigan Plaza Hotel
It was nearly 330 pm when I arrived in Vigan and walked my way from the market into town. Hem Apartelle (a posh looking hotel) only had dormitory beds left - at a ripoff of 1000 php a night. Went up further for other options before finally settling for 395 php a night at Vigan Plaza Hotel which itself is not too bad for location - just around the corner of historical Vigan. The room however was pretty spartan with communal bathrooms.
Vigan in a Heartbeat
Vigan is so small, by the time I found Vigan Plaza Hotel, I had actually strolled passed half of the historical town. Crisologo Street is basically as Vigan as it can get on a tourism postcard. Cobble stoned streets lined with historical spanish/chinese shophouse facades. Tried one of the local delicacies - Empana - a deep fried minced pork filled puff which was oily but mouthwatering. Photos wise, the afternoon stroll had more or less covered it all. Yes, Vigan is that small. I had so much free time that I even went for a hair cut.
Eating in Vigan
Looking for cheap decent meal options in Vigan can be a challenge. Sure, there are plenty of restaurants around catering for the package tourist groups but none of them local. The only safe bet is the market or the cluster of stalls at Plaza Burgos (in front of McDonalds no less) selling your pinoy deli dishes. Most of them cold but cheap as - less than 80 php for two meat/veggie toppings with rice. By this time, some dish names were getting familiar to me, like chicken or squid Adobo and sinagang na baboy. You can easily find the usual fare of offals like pig livers and kidneys simmered in savoury sauces.
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