Tour of Ilocandia: Ilocos Sur

Spanish colonial architecture lining cobbled streets is the highlight of Vigan, the chief destination in the province of Ilocos Sur.

By Abet Lagula
December 07, 2010

As part of his tour around the Ilocos Region, photographer Abet Lagula visits the heritage city of Vigan and the nearby town of Bantay.

Nine hours and counting--my back is aching and my butt is sore due to the long bus ride from Manila. As I continue to change my position on my seat, I impatiently ask the conductor how far we still are from Vigan, my destination. "Less than an hour, sir" is his cheerful reply. One hour seems like an eternity. To relieve my boredom, I try to catch a nap before we arrive.

I wake up to the motion of people getting out of their seats and leaving the bus. I look out my window and see a beautiful bridge spanning a wide river. Nope, we're not in Vigan yet, but I know we're near. My bus has decided to take a short stop on Quirino Bridge, to allow guests to have their snapshots taken beside it, and to catch a glimpse of sunrise over the mountains nearby. Being a photo enthusiast myself, I get out of the bus and start my Tour of Ilocandia by capturing a few images of Quirino Bridge.

I am on a Tour of Ilocandia, and I am heading for Ilocos Sur, located in the Ilocos Region on the northwestern tip of Luzon. Its capital city is Vigan, 400 kilometers from Manila. Travel time takes approximately 8-10 hours, depending on traffic.

Vigan has been declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, one of the few well-preserved remnants of Spanish-colonial architecture that combines European influences adapted to Philippine building standards.