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Vigan, Philippines

A taste of Spain

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We knew we needed to be back in Manila on the 12th January because we had a flight booked on the 13th to our next destination. We could either stay another night in Sagada and risk the bus back to Manila being fully booked or we could have a very long journey to Vigan and see a different side of the Philippines...we went for the latter.

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It took 11 hours and 4 buses (Sagada-Bontoc-Servantes-Somewhere else-Vigan) to get there. There's no set timetable for the buses and they just leave when they're full, we seemed to be waiting for ages for our bus to leave Servantes...we managed to watch quite a few episodes of the Dexter series while we waited. Overall the journey wasn't too bad, we've definitely had worse.

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We'd not booked any accommodation in advance but luckily the tourist information office were very good and found us a lovely room in a Spanish Colonial House (I can't remember the name). First impressions, it was difficult to believe we were still in the Philippines; cobbled streets, horse drawn carriages, European architecture. I imagine this is what Intramuros in Manila must have looked like before it got bombed in WW2, luckily for Vigan it escaped unharmed by the war and is a well preserved Spanish colonial town.

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You only need a day here to see the main tourist attractions and get a feel for the place. There appeared to be a lot of Filipino tourists, all making the most of the sunny weather and outdoor dining on the cobbled streets. It really did feel like being in an old Spanish town in Andalucia, we even found a little place serving pork espanadas. Although I'm afraid to say we went for an Italian feel to our outdoor dining experience in the evening and found a lovely place that did wood fired pizzas; we enjoyed eating our pizza and watching horses trot past in the piazza.

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The Filipino tourists took quite a shine to me and Jason when visiting the bell tower. Jason went up to the top of the bell tower and while I was waiting for him I got accosted by a group of Filipinos who wanted a souvenir photograph of me... I lost track how many I posed for, they all wanted a piccy. Then when Jason came back down from the top of the tower we had to do a whole load more photographs of the two of us... I felt like a celebrity.

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We visited a museum of Crisologo, a local governor, set up in his old home with remnants of his assassination.

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We went to the local cathedral and park.

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Then spent the late afternoon reading in the park. This is when all of the locals come out and socialise away from the sun's heat; the parks fill with people chatting, skateboarders and basketball players.

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When its completely dark, 7.30pm, there's a free light show by the towns water fountains. We were joking beforehand about it probably not being up to much...and...we were wrong! It was surprisingly good. They set a 50m square area of water alight to music, all perfectly in time and in colourful displays to match the theme of the music.

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After our day in Vigan we caught an overnight bus back to Manila. We weren't up to doing much on our last day in Manila, other than catching up on sleep and I had my first hair cut in 8 months (an interesting experience, and let's just say I think I'll be wearing my hair up for the next few months). It was time for bed as we had a 4.30am start to catch our flight to Myanmar.

Posted by bloorsontour 05:40 Archived in Philippines

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Comments

Beautiful place. Very different. Xxx

by Ma and Pa

Amazed at the diversity of places in the Philippines xx

by mutsi

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