A Mesmerizing Half Day Tour around Calle Crisologo & Bantay (Vigan Day 1, Part 1)

The Story

This post is the first part of the 3D/2N Vigan, Ilocos Sur DIY Trip + Baguio City Side Trip Series. For a half day time, you can easily tour around Calle Crisologo and visit Bantay Bell Tower as well.

Go back to the main article to view the details and the followed itinerary:

3 Days & 2 Nights in Vigan and Baguio City:
Going North: A DIY Trip to Historic Town of Vigan and Baguio City in 3 Days

Vigan City, Ilocos Sur:
A Mesmerizing Half Day Tour around Calle Crisologo & Bantay
Get Artistic in National Museum, Cafe Leona and Calle Crisologo at Night
Enjoying Baluarte, Loomweaving, Bagnet Factory and Hidden Garden

Baguio City, Benguet:
Baguio City: Exploring the City of Pines in One Day, DIY Style

Budget Guide and Travel Tips:
Vigan – Baguio DIY Budget Guide and Travel Tips

Accommodation Review:
HEM Apartelle: Your Cheap But Comfy Stay in Vigan


Going to Vigan

We departed Dau Mabalacat Terminal at around 10pm in the evening, arrived in Partas terminal by 6 in the morning and were in Calle Crisologo, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Vigan by around 6:30am!

Is that too early to visit Calle Crisologo? There’s nothing early to be up for an adventure, really. Going to Vigan is best if you can travel across the night because there is no to less traffic congestion in roads and it will give you a great feeling to be in your destination as soon as Mr. Sun shows his bright face.

Simbaan a Bassit

The first thing we did is to visit one of the famous church here in Ilocos, it is called “Simbaan a Bassit” in Ilocano or “Little Church” when translated into English. Basically, Simbaan a bassit is a cemetery chapel, right in the gate of Vigan Catholic Cemetery.

Simbaan a Bassit – modernized ceiling design.

After Simbaan a Bassit, you can walk again to the next block and the Crisologo Museum. However, it only opens by around 8am. So, we just skipped it and went directly to Calle Crisologo.

Calle Crisologo signage.

Calle Crisologo

Walking in Crisologo early in the morning will let you experience the true silence of the calle just like how it was from the past. All shops are closed, there are barely few number of people around, maybe just like you who just wanted to walk in the quiet remnants of the past and also include a random calesa driver who is still sleeping or taking a nap in a carriage. And also, maybe a horse with his owner taking a morning jog exercise — All of these just before tourists flocked like birds in the famous street.

The quiet street of Crisologo.

Spoiler: There are really many tourists walking and taking pictures here starting from 5pm until the evening!

We finished walking along the history, oops I should say Calle Crisologo a few minutes after. Too short for what we are expecting. Well, maybe because there is no one that made delay during our walk. Hey, there’s almost no one there except us.

Plaza Salcedo, Burgos, Vigan Cathedral

We did took some photos around Plaza Salcedo and visit Vigan Cathedral, also known as St. Paul’s Metropolitan Cathedral. The church is one of the major religious landmarks in the Philippines orginally established in 1574 during the Spanish Era.

Ilocos Sur signage in Plaza Salcedo – Christmas theme!
A Merry Christmas from Ilocos Sur. Design right in front of the captiol.
Vigan Cathedral

Right after roaming around Salcedo, we then took our breakfast in Plaza Burgos for only 25 pesos. Do not expect any fancy plating or such, and this is a basic street food.

Bantay Bell Tower

Another a must visit when you are in Ilocos Sur is the Bantay Bell Tower.  It is just a short tricycle or calesa ride from the Heritage Village. You can ride a calesa for 150/hr or a tricycle that cost 10-15 pesos that will bring you in Bantay.  A calesa can tour you around Vigan, and the standard tour just around the poblacion will last around 3 hours.

Tip: Explore the poblacion by foot. You might see things that you can’t see ofcourse when the calesa is roaming around fast. Also, you can save money here. However, if you wanna feel that classical feeling riding the carriage, then go for that ride!

St. Augustine Church, Bantay, Ilocos Sur

The church is undergoing renovation when we visited, evident to scaffolding in the left side and in the entrance.

Bantay Watchtower

There is a voluntary donation when you visit the bell tower. The proceeds will be for the maintenance of the bell tower as well also for the persons who are giving their time to accommodate the tourists that is coming to visit the tower daily.

The price of being early: Can take photos easily!

It is said that early commanders uses this as a belfry to watch potential enemies as it is close to the national highway. Also, you can have a view of Ilocos Sur when you are in the highest level of the tower.

View from the Bantay Bell Tower.
Two of the small bells in the tower.

And that, from the left part of the picture above is the huge bell. I am curious how loud the sound will be when the bell is use. How did they make it sound in 1591?

A BIG bell. I can relatively hide here during the war!

Chapel by the Ruins

If you think that only the bell tower is worth coming for here, you’re wrong. You can also visit Chapel by the Ruins. Just beside the church.

Chapel by the Ruins Entrance
Chapel by the Ruins

It is said that this is a part of the original structure of St. Augustine Church before it was damage due to World War II. If you are looking for a serene place to pray, Chapel by the ruins is the best place here.

Pagburnayan Pottery Making

When you are in Vigan, you also need to experience how to make your own pot. Do not forget to include pagburnayan in your list!

Sonny making his own pot w/ the guidance of Kuya in white tank top 😀
Raz holding his unsymmetrical heart shaped pot.

There are two known “pagburnayan” in Vigan. You can visit any of them, as they are just across the road. Prepare for some tip to the person who assisted you to make a pot. However, you can’t take the pot you made with you, since it is not yet ready and also, it will cost you some money. Yes, you will, of course, pay for it.

Crisologo Museum

Next stop is Crisologo Museum. Yey! It is now opened. However, we are a bit saddened to know that the second level is closed due to renovation. The caretaker said that the ceiling collapsed due to termite manifestation. Well, that’s sad for us and for them, because it will surely incur high cost for the renovation. There is a donation requested for the maintenance of the museum. I guess P50 pesos is already a good amount for it.

A photo inside the Crisologo Museum.
Various hats used in the Philippines  and Vietnam by region.

Crisologo Museum was established after Floro Crisologo’s death. He was a politician by then, and he was shot in the head inside St. Paul’s Metropolitan Cathedral. Until now, the gunman is still unidentified.

Congressman Crisologo’s Office
Sonny posing beside an old car.

This car was on use of the congressman’s wife when she was ambushed during her reign as a governor of the province. She survived together with her baby.

All of the things you can know about the political history of Vigan and the Philippines, Mr. Crisologo and also his wife, Carmeling can be found in the museum. However, if you’re not into politics, you will hardly appreciate most of the things here. Of course, not counting this:

A Carruaje in Crisologo Museum's Garage.
A Carruaje in Crisologo Museum’s garage

Do you know the difference between a Carruaje and Calesa? 😀

Syquia Mansion

Syquia Mansion is the elegant house of President Elpidio Quirino. Wondering why it wasn’t named as Quirino Mansion then? Well, because the house is actually owned by his wife, Dona Alicia.

Syquia mansion charges an entrance fee of P50. With discounts for student,etc. They are issuing an official receipt.

President Quirino Memorabilia Hall

The mansion also houses a memorabilia hall that showcases the life and contributions of President Quirino to our country. However, the things here were transferred to the National Museum. Hereby, the part of the house, the garage is closed.

A replica of the famous painting Spolarium.

This painting will welcome you right after going up the stairs. The tour guide said that this replica is painted by Juan Luna’s student/assistant. Woah, that looks real. Wait. I need to see the original one.

The huge dining area of the mansion.

Those fabric in the ceiling were used as a fan during the early days. Because there is no electricity, the maids are the ones who operate it using ropes. The windows are noticeably wide for air to freely enter the mansion.

The open ceiling event’s hall.

This is the part of the mansion where in formal gatherings are conducted.

A good place where you can get a sip of coffee.

It can be notice that there is a few centimeters more in between the room and the actual window. That space served as a patio for the servants so that they will not be seen by guests when they passed by on the rooms.

Syquia (Sy Kia) Mansion.

Time for break. That’s the half day of Day 1 Tour in the UNESCO Heritage of Vigan.

Expenses Summary

Breakfast at Plaza Burgos – 50
Tricycle Fare to Bantay Church – 30
Donation at Bantay Bell Tower – 40
Ice Cream Snack (P40 x 2)- 80
Tricycle Fare to Pagburnayan Pottery – 30
Donation at Pagburnayan – 50
Donation at Crisologo Museum – 50
Syquia Mansion Entrance Fee (P50 x 2) – 100

Total for Day 1, Part 1: Php 430 (2 pax)

Love this guide? Continue reading the Part 2 here: Vigan, Ilocos Sur on a Budget Series: DIY Tour (Day 1, Part 2)

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