The whole Ilocos region is a great destination, but you will appreciate it even better if you can focus on each region at a given time. For instance, Ilocos Sur is perhaps the best representative of Ilocos’ significant contribution to history. Let’s check out the things to do and places to see in this place up in the map of the Philippine Islands.
- Vigan. Oh, this town deserves a longer time under the spotlight, but in summary, it is the most beautiful heritage walk in the Philippines. Calle Crisologo, in particular, is worthy of many shutter clicks and a blog entry, perhaps even a poem! Don't forget to also check out the burnayan, where you can create a clay pot ala Demi Moore.
- Vigan Empanada. While Ilocos is home to different food specialties, Vigan empanada remains to be a favorite. In fact, everytime there is a trade fair in Manila, booths that sell Vigan empanada always have long lines of people wanting a taste of this baby! So have it right where it was created, where there’s no long line, and just the perfect setting to have a hearty merienda.
- Vigan Longanisa. Since we’re already in the topic of food, it is also worthy to mention Vigan longanisa, one that isn't typical, and can easily please your choosy palate. It is garlicky rather than sweet, and is perfect with vinegar and garlic fried rice. You will most likely be served Vigan longanisa for breakfast in your hotel!
- Sta. Maria Church. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Sta. Maria church is the first stop you will make upon reaching Ilocos Sur. It has a beautiful staircase that leads to a beautiful church. If you were using a camera loaded with film, you’d start to feel bad about how you’re so limited in taking photos. Luckily, we live in the digital age.
- Baluarte. Just a short trip from the Vigan town center, Baluarte is a provate property owned by Governor Chavit Singson. Good thing he opened this to the public, because OMG this is such a hot property! It’s a zoo with a very interesting layout, which means kids will have fun exploring and adults will get in touch with their inner kid too. Although you won't be allowed to pet some animals, watching a python patiently wait for a live chicken for lunch can be quite interesting. Live Animal Planet, if you ask.
You can take a plane going to Laoag City via any domestic airline such as Cebu Pacific Air. From there, you simply need to take a bus ride that will take you to the land of windmills and beaches.
You can also opt for the longer, yet usually more enjoyable, mode of transportation, and that is hitting the road. Whether you go there with a driver or take a commuter bus, as long as you’re in good company, you’ll have one heck of a road trip to Ilocos Sur.