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Must-see Tourist Spots in the province of Ilocos Sur!

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Ilocos Sur is the 13th province I have visited in the quest of visiting all of the Provinces in the Philippines! (Talk about an 81-province bucket list!) Ilocos Sur has so many similarities to its mother province, Ilocos Norte. Also known for their frugal lifestyle, Ilocanos welcome every visitor with a warm heart.

Known for its Spanish colonial houses and cobblestone streets, the province of Ilocos Sur has so much to deliver – we just have to discover them one by one!

Welcome to Vigan City, Ilocos Sur

Welcome to Vigan City! (Photo by www.theartetect.tumblr.com)

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All about Ilocos Sur

Ilocos Sur has a total of 32 municipalities and 2 component cities. Of these, I have so far visited 1 Municipality and 1 component City. When I first set foot to visit the province, I with my friends explored the Heritage City of Vigan.

Vigan, being one of the only two UNESCO World Heritage Cities, is now only one of the few Hispanic towns in the country, preserving its colonial structures and cobblestone streets. The City, too, received an international recognition as one of the new 7 Wonder Cities of the World (alongside La Paz, Beirut, Kuala Lumpur, Doha, Durban, and Havana) in May 2015 by the New7Wonders Organization through public voting.

Ilocos Sur then was once part of Ilocos Norte until it was separated by a Royal Decree as another province on February 2, 1818, hence the names differentiating it from one another.

When arriving in Vigan, you get to see a majority of houses in a mestiza architecture-style – a signature of Spanish Colonial Houses during the early times, preserved through the years.

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So without keeping you guys reading any further, here are some of the tourist spots we visited in Ilocos Sur.

Vigan City

Calle Crisologo

Named after one of Ilocos Sur’s illustrious sons, Marcelino “Mena” Pecson-Crisologo, Calle Crisologo earned the reputation of being the cradle of bygone Hispanic houses that has been preserved over time. With its cobblestone strip, the Calle was also once home to the Alta de Sociedad of Vigan.

At present, the Calle is now home to some antique and preserved houses with lots and lots of shops – ranging from restaurants, hotels, souvenir stalls and the like. To get to Calle, ride a tricycle and pay a minimum fare of PhP 10.00 and you will be there in 5 to 10 minutes.

This is also where you will find the most delicious longganisa and empanada anywhere in Ilocos Sur! It’s a must-try!

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Plaza Burgos

Plaza P. J. Burgos - Ilocos Sur

Plaza P. J. Burgos

Plaza Burgos is also named after of the tripartite GomBurZa fathers, Jose Burgos, who is also a native of the City of Vigan. The Plaza has a mid-tall post in the middle containing manuscripts and some information about Father Burgos. Plaza is also adjacent to the Saint Paul’s Metropolitan Cathedral.

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St. Paul’s Metropolitan Cathedral

Ilocos Sur's St. Paul's Metropolitan Cathedral (Vigan Cathedral)

St. Paul’s Metropolitan Cathedral (Vigan Cathedral)

As the main seat of faith in the archdiocese of Nueva Segovia in Vigan, St. Paul’s Metropolitan Cathedral one of the most celebrated churches in the province. If you will notice, its bell tower features a weather rooster, symbolizing Saint Peter – the first pope of the Catholic Church. The Cathedral has a main altar, 12 minor altars, 3 naves, and brass communion handrails. It also houses some of the archdiocese’s former bishops’ graves.

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Plaza Salcedo (Dancing Fountain Park, Elpidio Quirino Monument)

The Dancing Fountain - Ilocos Sur

The Dancing Fountain (by day)

The Dancing Fountain - Ilocos Sur

The Dancing Fountain (by night)

Elpidio Quirino Monument - Ilocos Sur

Elpidio Quirino Monument

Named after the one who named the Ilocos provinces, Don Juan de Salcedo, Plaza Salcedo’s main highlight is the newly-installed dancing fountain which is lit up every night (1900 – 2000 H and 2030 – 2130 H) giving an additional entertain to locals and tourists alike. It is also where Elpidio Quirino’s monument – another Ilocos Sur native and the 6th President of the Philippines – is situated. You can also find the big letters of I-L-O-C-O-S S-U-R near the Capitol, perfect for photo-ops!

Turista Boy in Ilocos Sur!

Turista Boy in Ilocos Sur!

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Ilocos Sur Capitol

The Ilocos Sur Provincial Capitol

The Ilocos Sur Provincial Capitol

The capitol is the province’s seat of government. It is also where you will find the marker making the City of Vigan a World Heritage City and one of the newest 7 Wonder Cities of the world. The capitol is just across Plaza Salcedo! It is also close to baratilyo shops where you get to taste the most delicious sinanglaw (beef innards stew) in town.

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Crisologo Museum

Crisologo Museum - Ilocos Sur

Crisologo Museum

This is the house-turned-museum of the Crisologo Clan, starting from their earliest generations. All memorabilia, be it personal or political, can be found in the museum. It even has the car where the former Ilocos Sur governor was nearly ambushed in and was kept intact for the public’s viewing. It is located at A. Reyes Street, Vigan City. It is a 5 to 10-minute ride from Calle Crisologo.

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Pagburnayan

Pottery making in Ilocos Sur

Pottery making!

Clay pot making in Ilocos Sur

After having that 15 to 20-minute walk from the Crisologo Museum, Ilocos Sur’s famous Pagburnayan or ’pot factory’ is now becoming one of the province’s popular tourist spots. As the pots displayed are made locally and on-the-spot (and a lot cheaper than that in Sagada), it has also become one of the province’s main industries. A demonstration on how these pots are made is readily available. No fee is imposed but donations are highly welcome (encouraged.) It is located in Liberation Boulevard.

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Bantay

Santuario de Nuestra Señora de la Caridad (Bantay Church)

Ilocos Sur - Santuario de Nuestra Señora de la Caridad (Bantay Church)

Santuario de Nuestra Señora de la Caridad (Bantay Church)

Bantay Church is a 15 to 20-minute tricycle ride from Pagburnayan. Also known as Saint Augustine Parish Church, it is also referred to as the Shrine of our Lady of Charity. It is believed to be one of the oldest Churches in the Ilocos Region, established in 1590.

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Bantay Belltower

Ilocos Sur - Bantay Bell Tower

The famous Bantay Bell Tower

Housed within the Saint Augustine Parish Church’s vicinity, this famous belfry was once a watchtower of the town against pirates during the Spanish Colonial Period, hence getting the name “Bantay,” meaning “to guard,” which then became the Municipality’s name over time. It was also used as a watchtower during World Wars I and II. On a clear day, you can see the mountains of Abra from afar.

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Soon on the Blog:

Vigan

Philippine National Museum – Vigan

Syquia Mansion

Baluarte

Santa

Quirino Bridge

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