Courtesy Flickr/ Ray In Manila

Ilocos Sur is located at the northen part of the Philippines. It has 2 cities, Vigan and Candon. Vigan is a very small city and yet announced as the new 7 wonder cities of the world. Vigan City Declared as New 7 Wonders Cities of the World at 3:00 AM Philippine Time on December 8, 2014. 15 years after Vigan's inscription in the UNESCO List of World Heritage sites and monuments in December 1999, it has been declared a New Wonder City of the World! The winning seven cities declared are:

  • Beirut, Lebanon

  • Doha, Qatar

  • Durban, South Africa

  • Havana, Cuba

  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

  • La Paz, Bolivia

  • Vigan, Philippines

Vigan City has plenty of things to offer. It iss a very small city with full of traditions and cultures. Not only these but also food. Before traveling, we always thin of our budget. But wait, budget? With 200 pesos (2$), you can already have your meal. And wait, transsportation, with 200 pesos you can already go everywhere around the city. Thinking about lodging or a place to stay? Just budget 1000 pesos and you will have a very nice and comfortable accommodation.

Vigan City is a province still so do not expect luxury life. As of today, if you are looking for a luxury accommodation or hotel, then forget about it. Vigan hass 4 star hotels but no 5 star. One of the hotels is Hotel Luna, the first and only hotel museum in the Philippines. Hotel Luna is located at the center of the city and just right behind the famous street, Calle Crisologo. So, even if you are not planning to stay in this hotel, you can still go and visit it. Trust me, you wont regret it. I added some places that you can also visit and experience in Vigan City. Budget your Vigan occular for one day and a half.

What to Experience in Vigan City

1. Eat like a real Ilokano- Filipino
Most of us are using forks, spoons, and knives when we eat. In traditional Filipino way of eating is using bare hands. Yes, Bare hands! Make sure to wash your hands before eating. Honestly, for me, I enjoy the food better when I eat with my hands alone without any cutleries. This traditional ay of eating is called KAMAYAN. Kamayan is a Tagalog word that means “by hand.” Eating by hand was the traditional way of eating in the Philippines that goes all the way back to the 16th century before Spanish colonization of the Philippines. Eating with utensils is the common way to eat now.

Courtesy Adeline's Catering

2. Try Ilokano Food
Whenever I visit a place, I always make suure to try their local food. I also encourage you to do the same. Ilocanos eat food cooked with salted fish (bagoong) most of the times. I love it but I have to forget about my balance diet and my health when I eat bagoong. I am enlisting here some of the food that a traveler must try:

  • Bagnet

  • The King of all lechons. Bagnet is a slap of Pork belly literally deep fried in its own fat, over and over to crispy perfected meaty chicharron. Then it is cut into manageable bite size pieces before taking its final dip into the boiler oil bath. They are served with spicy vinegar. It is artery clogging awesome!

  • Pinakbet

  • This dish is mixed vegetables cooked with fish paste or shrimp paste. It is a dish of mixed vegetables like ampalaya (bitter gourd), sitaw (long beans), talong (eggplant), okra, squash, and some other vegetables. You can create your own pinakbet version depending on the availability of your vegetable ingredients.

  • Dinakdakan

  • As I mentioned earlier, if you are into diet, then you may forget about these food. Dinakdakan is an Ilocano dish that is made of grilled and boiled pig parts-it works as a delicious and tasty appetizer, too! I ahve been enjoying this food since I was in college cause I studied in Vigan City. You may not like the texture of the food but you will certainly enjoy it.

  • Dinengdeng

  • This soup is made with variety of green veggies cook with bagoong (fish sauce) and serve with grilled or fried fish like galunggong (roundscad), tilapia or bangus (milkfish). This food is somewhat similar with pinakbet. The only main difference is the soup. The Dinengdeng is soupy unlike pinakbet that you dont put water because the vegetables will create their own water.

  • Empanada

  • These empanadas are orange! They mix achuete/annatto powder into their batter flour for flavor and color. The filling consist of shredded papaya or beans sprout with eggs and sometimes longganisa sausage. They are deep fried and dipped in spicy vinegar. Aside from it being deep-fried, it's totally healthy.

  • Dinardaraan

  • Cook the meat by its own blood. Imagine it. That is how you cook the dinardaraan. You may also put pepper or eggplant if you wish too.

3. Mini zoo expedition
Baluarte Resort and Mini Zoo is a must-visit spot in the province due to the exciting activities that people of all ages will surely enjoy. This hundred-hectare zoological park and resort complex is owned by the former Ilocos governor Luis “Chavit” Singson. This is not just a zoo, because they also have animal show everyday.

4. Plaza Salcedo (dancing fountain)
Do not sleep early because your trip is not yet done. You have to witness the dancing fountain. At Plaza Salcedo (Dancing Fountain), observe colored jets of water and shooting laser lights moving to the sounds of pop music. The water fountain is dancing with the music and accompanied by magnificent lights.

Enjoy your trip!