After a 7 hours ride from Manila, we finally arrived in Vigan. We didn't know where we should get off the bus, so we chose a stop on a compartively busy street. I had heard that Vigan had the festival just on that day and had expected something special
. However, it looked like an agiricultual festival, but didn't meet my expectation. Anyway, for all the general tourists, the reason to visit Vigan must be to see the Mestizo district. We also headed for the district and looked for a hostel. At the beginning of the Calle Crisologo cobblestone street, there was a tourist information office with a young guy and a middle-aged lady working there. They were very kind and told us where we should visit and sleep. Due to their recommendation, we checked Cordillera inn on Mena Crisologo Street, the main street of Mestizo District. We chose a room facing the street, where we could hear the steps of horses or calessa. Actually, the district was a beautiful, but small area and it didn't take so much time to see. We had had no plan to do after that at that moment, so to make a plan, we headed for the restaurant next to the tourist office.
Historic Town of Vigan Videohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Rghb_whe30&feature=BF&list=ULPW51P1Vqtq0&index=1
The video is from NHK, Japanese broadcasting company. The video includes history related to Japan-US war in the Philippines.
The next destination we picked up was Santa Maria Church
. Tourists may prefer St. Augustine Church in Paoay, but passing by Santa Maria Church on our way to Vigan, it looked lovely and attractive as well as easy to access. The church was massive and well-built with a Santa Maria statue on the wall. Unfortunately, the church was closed and so we didn't need to spend much time there, too. So my mom looked bored and I had to change plan for the next day. When we reached Vigan, there was a kind of contest, but we were not interested. Another big show was supposed to be held in the park in front of St. Paul's Church at seven. I hoped the show would satisfy me as a good memory of Vigan and waited for the show to begin, while my mom was tired and sleeping at the hotel. As a result, the show didn't start even at nine and I gave up. The Calle Crisologo night view was beautiful, but that was all in Vigan.
Baroque Churches of the Philippines Videohttp://www.youtube.com/user/unesco#p/c/288C6EE6ABAE0B3F/109/blE8P-A27VE
Santa Maria Church is one of the four churches recognized as a UNESCO's World Heritage Site. I didn't realize the coals partly used as a material to build the church.
On the next morning, we decided to go to Banaue, which was also one of the best attractions in the Philippines. There was no direct route from Vigan to Banaue and so we had to go there via Baguio. Baguio was located in the middle of the mountaious area, but really a big city, although there was nothing to see. Anyway, we had to stay there half a day. Tam-Awan village had a nice cafe, garalley, and a few traditional houses, but it was too small to kill time. In the result, we enjoyed shopping in the Baguio city market near the Burnham Park, dining in a restaurant LP guide recommended, and having a haircut for 60 pesos and, in the evening, we took a night bus to Banaue, the final destination of our trip.
At 11 p.m., my mom and I arrived at Manila airport. There were long lines waiting in front of the checkpoints. I took off two jackets I had worn from Japan, because of the heat there. We had plenty of time before leaving Manila to Vigan by bus, but it was unconfortable to stay in the airport for a long time. About midnight, we finally took a coupon cab to the Partas bus terminal in Quezon city. We paid 600 pesos, which may be quite expensive, but must be the best choice to get there in the midnight. In particular, I thought so, when I saw the miserable neighborhood around the bus terminal. Fortunately, we caught a bus leaving for Vigan in a while.