The Story

We rested for a while on our room in HEM Apartelle after taking our light lunch. Few hours after, we are geared up in continuing to explore Vigan!

This post is the second part of the Vigan, Ilocos Sur DIY Trip + Baguio City Side Trip Series. Go back to the main article or the first part 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

National Museum/Art Center

We came to this part of the town to visit Padre Burgos Museum but we found out that it was closed due to an undergoing renovation. Luckily, one of the guards told us to just proceed to the art center instead.  Official are planning to make the museum as the Ilocos Regional Museum Complex wherein different exhibits will be housed featuring the rich heritage and culture of Ilocanos.

The Art center is actually the old provincial jail that was converted into a classy art center by the National Museum. Why classy? The whole place is air-conditioned! And entrance is free for everyone. However, do not bring any camera accessories like tripod or monopod here. It is not allowed. You can only bring your bare camera inside.

President Quirino Memorabilia

The first thing that will welcome you right after signing in the logbook of the art center is the memorabilia hall of President Elpidio Quirino, the 6th President of the Philippines. This occupies the second level of the building.

Cabinet of Plaques of President Quirino

I guess, the Memorabilia Hall located in Syquia mansion before has been transferred here.

Various pair of shoes.

That is a cool collection of shoes. President Quirino is a fan of colored and pointed shoes, huh?


And yes President, you love hats too don’t you?

Various design of canes.

I wonder if these are really intended as personal collections.

Sonny poses at the nice stairs for photo ops.

This building had served since 1657 for various usage as a municipal jail, then became a provincial jail when Ilocos Sur became a province in 1818. One remarkable trivia here is that the jail also served as the cradle for the 6th President of the Philippines, Pres. Elpidio Quirino himself. It was said that Elpidio’s father was then a warden of the jail when his wife gave birth here.

Several portrait painting of President Elpidio Quirino

In honor of Elpidio’s mother, the jail was converted into a library in 1948. It was named as Gregoria M. Rivera Memorial Library. In 2013, it undergone another renovation as how it looks now, to serve as a new art center for Ilocos Sur.

Basi Revolt

A tool used for Basi production.

The art center/museum also houses an exhibit for the Basi Revolt. Several paintings that focuses on the revolution can also be found on the exhibit.

It is said that Basi had caused a conflict against Spaniards when they decided to monopolize the production and sale of the traditional liquor.

Basi is a traditional Ilocano liquor made from fermented sugarcane.

Several burnays in different sizes.

Burnays are jars made of clay. They are used to store Basi as well as other primary household necessities like rice, water and fish paste (bagoong). Pakbet ng Ilocano isn’t complete without a fish paste!

Basi Revolt Paintings

Art Exhibit

During our visit, there is a bunch of photography images showcased in the museum. Here are some of the shots taken:

Rice terraces
Mt. Pulag
Let’s think of it this way. XD

Padre Burgos House

As I’ve said earlier, we originally planned to visit Padre Burgos House/Museum but it was closed. However, we are able to look inside. It seems like the whole house is empty. National Museum says that it is under rehabilitation but there are no signs that it is undergoing such thing. Well, we don’t know what is the real plan for this place.

Cafe Leona

Visiting a place isn’t complete if you weren’t able to have a taste of its native food. So we came to one of the most popular restaurants here in Vigan, Cafe Leona.

Just right after coming in to the place, you’ll gonna wonder if it is really a restaurant. The area appears to a rustic and looks like a house from the old times. Reminder. You are in Vigan, so that’s normal.

This is the only decent shot taken inside the restaurant.

Unfortunately, we don’t have any photo of what we had ordered that night. That’s because my phone decided to corrupt the photos I took. Hmmm. I guess, I’ll just continue using our action camera after this.

The frontage of Cafe Leona.

If you are observant enough, you can notice on the middle right side of the photo is a whiteboard. The current menu for the day is written there.

Whatever the menu is, do not forget to order bagnet and longganisa if it is your first time in Vigan! 🙂

Dancing Fountain Show

Right after eating a full dinner meal at Cafe Leona, we immediately went to Plaza Salcedo to witness the Dancing Fountain show. Unfortunately, I ended up with no photos but a full video of the show.

Calle Crisologo at Night

Most people say that the best time to visit this historic street is during the night. Now, I already knew why. The feels and view of the streets is very different on how it is during day time. You may feel that the place is too crowded, but the volume of people will subside as you continue walking further.

The side of Calle Crisologo near Cafe Leona. Notice the flock of tourists?

Although the night view in Crisologo is nice, I can’t choose between day and night to visit the street. Both conditions offer a different ambiance. You will know when you visit it on early morning and late night like we did. 🙂

Isn’t the background nice for a photo op? (remove the car and the tricycle on the sides)
I think we need to have this at home.
Time for “window shopping”?

That’s how we ended our Day 1 at Vigan. We are able to tour around the Poblacion and visit Bantay as well. Up next for Day Two: Baluarte, Cristy’s Loomweaving, Bagnet Factory, and Hidden Garden.

Expenses Summary

Light Lunch at Irene’s Empanadahan – 70
HEM Apartelle Accommodation (Twin Sharing) – 1,000
Drinking Water – 50
Dinner at Cafe Leona – 550

Total for Day 1, Part 2: Php 1,670 (2 pax)

Planning your budget for Vigan? Check out our actual expenses here.
Up next for Day Two: Baluarte, Cristy’s Loomweaving, Bagnet Factory, and Hidden Garden.

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