The historic city of Vigan is a uniquely captivating destination in Ilocos Sur that attracts tourists all year round. From old Spanish structures lining Calle Crisologo to famous Ilocano cuisine honed through generations, no other destination in the Philippines rivals the pristine preservation of the past in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. But although traveling to Vigan is a peek into the past, the new normal makes traveling there an entirely novel experience. Here, we’ve put together a guide for tourists who are thinking of visiting Vigan. Read on for everything you need to know about visiting Vigan in the new normal.
NOTE: Vigan is under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) from April 7 to 21, 2021, during which individuals from high-risk areas and other provinces are not permitted to travel to the city.
Your Vigan Travel Checklist
As with anywhere else, traveling to Vigan in the midst of the pandemic takes a more than just hopping in the car and driving straight to your destination. These days, there’s a little more preparation involved in traveling, even if it’s just to a tourist spot near Metro Manila.
Fortunately, Vigan makes it as smooth and hassle-free as possible to make the journey. Before embarking on the road trip, simply prepare the following requirements:
1. DOT-Accredited Hotel And Tour Bookings
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the first step of any trip is browsing and booking accommodations and tours in your destination. Now, it’s more important than ever to find safe and credible hotels, resorts, travel agencies, and tour operators. Make sure that you’ve booked at DOT-accredited establishments to ensure smooth sailing for the entirety of your stay. Book your Vigan tour online ahead of time, then print the booking confirmation as part of your travel documents in Vigan.
2. SafePass QR Code
Before heading to Vigan, register at the SafePass Facebook page or SafePass website for your own SafePass Quick Response (QR) code. The QR code on your mobile phone allows for faster and more efficient entry to establishments all around the city.
3. Negative RT-PCR Test Result
Every traveler is required to present a negative RT-PCR test result taken within 72 hours before arrival in Vigan. Stay safe and save time by booking a convenient home service RT-PCR test.
Other Important Information
Who Can Travel To Vigan? During the MECQ, those who are from high-risk areas and other provinces are not permitted to travel to Vigan, except for essential travel.
What Else Do I Need To Bring? Valid ID.
Do I Need To Quarantine? No. Vigan no longer requires travelers to quarantine, unless they are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival.
How To Spend Your Time In Vigan
Trust us, a trip to Vigan is always worthwhile, pandemic or not. It’s one of the best places in the Philippines to explore on foot with the cobblestone streets leading to beautiful Spanish-era structures and charming establishments. Whether you’re spending a couple of days in the city or on a quick day tour, these are some of the must-see attractions to fill your itinerary in Vigan.
Everything in Vigan revolves around the famous Calle Crisologo. Get transported to the 16th century in this bustling street lined with ancestral Spanish-era homes and dining establishments. For souvenirs, there is a good selection of shops that sell antiques, handwoven crafts, and local delicacies. Modern vehicles aren’t allowed here, but horse-drawn carriages are available if you need a break from walking.
Bantay Church Bell Tower
Just a 10-minute drive from the center of Vigan is the historic Bantay Church Bell Tower in the town of Bantay. Originally built in 1591 as a watchtower, the ancient hilltop structure now serves as a belfry for the nearby Bantay Church. Travelers can climb to the top to enjoy the sweeping views of Vigan and Bantay.
Stunning Centuries-Old Mansions
In Vigan, history buffs get their picks of heritage homes, such as Arce Mansion, Syquia Mansion, and Crisologo Museum. Each ancestral house is well-preserved, offering a glimpse into the lives of the upper class or educated Filipinos during the Spanish colony.
Street Food And Local Delicacies
A trip to Vigan isn’t complete without sampling some of the local dishes the Ilocos province is known for. It’ll take a couple of days to get your fill of Vigan cuisine, but highlights include Vigan longganisa (sausage) and Ilocos empanada.
If you have the time, it could be a good idea to see what else Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte have to offer. Try to make a quick side trip to nearby hotspots, such as Laoag for the stunning Paoay Sand Dunes and the tranquil Aurora Park.
Don’t have much time to spare? Book the Vigan Day Tour from Manila and experience all the highlights above in a single day. Transportation and guided tour service are included.
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*Featured photo by Akarat Phasura on Shutterstock