It’s my jowa’s 41st birthday and I got an invitation to spend 2 days in Elyu (LU or La Union). I said yes but I also suggested we visited Baguio and Vigan as well since it’s adjacent to one another. It’s a 4 days trip.
Tuesday morning at 12:45 am we rode a regular aircon bus to Baguio City. The bus company was Victory Liner and we were at their Cubao station. The fare was a total of P576 each including a special fee because we book it online via Victory Liner’s website.
Around 5:00 am, we were already at Baguio City. We inquire about bus routes going to La Union because we missed the last bus of Partas going to Vigan the previous night. Thus, the sidetrip to Baguio. There was a trip to Agoo, La Union though at 8:00 am so we went to the Baguio Cathedral to spend some time. We also met a photography friend living at Session Road. By 8:00 am we were already on a bus en route to Agoo (P71).
We visited the church of Agoo and it’s a beautiful church. It’s along the highway and features two belfries. Nearby, I also took a picture of the Rizal monument besides the “Agoo” signage that you can find in most cities of the Philippines. I guess it’s a project of the Department of Tourism (DoT) to promote local travel. There’s a Jollibee nearby and an activity center. We then rode a bus to San Fernando City bus stop (P75).
The hotel room that we book was a Zen Room inside the G Hotel near the Urbiztondo Beach. This was my first time in La Union particularly in this beach area. La Union or Elyu as the tourists calls it is famous as a surfing area, similar to Baler in Aurora and Siargao in Surigao. However, there’s no direct bus from Agoo to Urtiztondo. We have to drop off at San Fernando City Central Bus terminal in Tangke, near the police station. There’s also a bus stop-over nearby (for buses going to Ilocos).
We rode a bus going to Urbiztondo. After “depositing” our bags at G Hotel, we had lunch in one of the numerous restaurants in the area (P700 for bihon, bistek and tanigue). It’s swarming with places to eat particularly bars. Urbiztondo area is quite expensive when it comes to food but if you really wanted budget meals, there are still a lot available. We went back to the hotel, rested and by afternoon, we went to the beach to take some sunset shots. It’s beautiful.
Around 7:00 pm, we were at Kabsat – a restaurant that has rave reviews. We ordered sisig, Bagnet, 2 cup of rice and a lemonade. It cost us about P1,097 and the serving is small. It also took some time because we actually bill-out and we have to go directly to the cashier to pay.
I’m a morning person, so I went to Urbiztondo Beach around 6:00 am. I took some nice shots of the beach, the sea and sky. After an hour, I rode a jeep to the San Fernando La Union town center. The jeep’s terminal is at Tangke (barangay or area) near the Police Station. I rode a tricycle to the San Fernando City Church. Then I also took some pictures of the City Hall, Rizal Monument, Jollibee, McDo, town plaza and public market (which is about 3 blocks from the munisipyo). After that, I went back to our hotel room in G Hotel, Urbiztondo using the same route – San Fernando town center to Tangke (central jeep terminal) at P25 and then jeep to San Juan (P20).
We had lunch at Elyu Classic (rice bowls for P320) and didn’t go out of our room until 5:00 PM. It’s hot in San Juan during our stay but this afternoon, it was gloomy and raining. So we went swimming to the beach while it’s raining. Even with this kind of weather, the waves at Urbiztondo beach are not big. I guess this area is for beginners to surfing. Or probably, the waves are bigger during the surfing season, which I have no idea when. We had our dinner at Above Sea Level (Herbs ‘n’ Spices) and called it a day. Our stay at this Zen Room inside G Hotel is P1,700 per night.
We left G Hotel at around 5:00 am and arrived at the bus station in San Fernando City. There was a Partas bus going to Vigan but the driver refused to onboard us saying “wala pong magti-ticket” (pointing to a closed counter).
Luckily there’s a bus from San Fernando La Union going to Vigan. However, mid-way through the trip, they asked us to transfer to a van going to Vigan. This was in Candon, Ilocos Sur. The bus company was PITCO – Pan Ilocos Transport Cooperative. Fare from San Juan to Vigan was around P300 including the transfer to the van.
Around 8:30 am we were at The Heritage City of Vigan (about 2.5 hours bus ride from San Fernando La Union). Our hotel room was a Red Doorz at Casa Teofila in Daya which is about 5 minutes tricycle drive from the St Paul Cathedral. Prior to that, we took pictures of the famous cathedral and stroll around the area – Vigan City Hall, Ilocos Sur Provincial Capitol and the Quirino Museum (former provincial jail). For P100 each, we took a kalesa Ride for an hour, which took us from St Paul Cathedral to Bantay Church area, to Calle Crisologo. The kutsero was also our tour guide and photographer.
We had our lunch at Café Leona for P1,030 which includes Vigan Longganisa, Bagnet, 2 cups of rice, a pitcher of lemonade, a club house and a Lomi. It was delicious. We rate it as 5 stars for the food. They also have a Wifi but the manager forgot to provide it to us before he left.
In the afternoon, I ate Empanada and Okoy at a local place in front of the Ilocos Sur Provincial Capitol. The area around the St Paul Cathedral is a Heritage Area so sizes of store signage are strictly limited and implemented. There was a Globe outlet in this area and I barely noticed the storefront sign. It was on a building that is also a mall. In the evening we had our dinner at Mang Inasal. The serving of halo-halo is huge. It only cost us P375 for a pitcho meal with Palabok. The tricycle fare ranges from P20 to P40 per person.
Calle Crisologo at night is very beautiful.
I’m a morning person, and I persuaded my jowa to visit Calle Crisologo in the morning. There were almost no tourist along this famous road. We also visited a local jar maker. Last time I visited Vigan was during college years and this is one of our “stops”. Sadly, the jar maker’s place is not as busy as it was before. In fact, there were no stacks of jars ready to be “baked”. All was left is the pottery wheel that is used for photo op for a donation. I talked to the jar maker named Bong and he said no one is interested to continue the trade / art of making the famous black Vigan jars.
We had our lunch at Bigaa – a few steps from Café Leona. The food are cheaper here. We had 2 orders of the Vigan Longganisa (5 pieces each) and sisig longganisa. It was both delicious, at a cheaper price. He had to attend to some important event so I have to visit the Syquia Museum alone.
Syquia Mansion offers ticket sale via Paypal and Credit Card but good thing they accepted walk-in ticket buyer for P75 general entrance fee. It was one of the best museum / ancestral house I visited. It’s a classic bahay na bato for affluent members of society during the Spanish era. The house is complete with rooms for the hijos and hijas, servants, etc. They have a ante-sala room and a beautiful patio.
We spend the rest of the afternoon near the Ilocos Sur signage. In the evening, we had our dinner at Hap Chan near the 7-Eleven and Café Leona. We rode a tricycle afterwards and went to the Partas Station near the public market. We booked our tickets online and our bus ride is 9:00 pm. By 5:00 am this morning, we’re back at Partas Cubao Station.
Will try to post more pictures of Urbiztondo, La Union and Vigan City in my next blog posts. It was an amazing 4 days.