Ilocos Tour : Vigan and Sta Maria

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I have done the Ilocos region countless times. And this northern tour remains on my Top 5 list of Philippine destinations.

Will share the beautiful Ilocos via photos, and you pick the destinations you want to focus on. Otherwise, prepare to spend 2 weeks moving from town to town.

VIGAN

Vigan is, to some, the essence of Ilocandia.

Vigan is, to some, the essence of Ilocandia.

The moon was full on the night of my last visit

The moon was full on the night of my last visit

Vigan Day 2 + Laoag Day 1 027

Visit a BURNAYAN and be amazed at the potter's skills. And buy a jar or two

Visit a BURNAYAN and be amazed at the potter’s skills. And buy a jar or two

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a calesa ride completes a Vigan visit

the lobby of my favorite hotel. Cordillera Inn

the lobby of my favorite hotel. Cordillera Inn

the coffee shop at the nearby Gordion Mansion

the coffee shop at the nearby Gordion Mansion

Hidden Garden is more of a restaurant than a garden destination.

Hidden Garden is more of a restaurant than a garden destination.

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Bantay belltower, outside of Vigan

Bantay belltower, outside of Vigan

at the Baluarte, the home of Governor Chavit Singson, the grounds are open to the public.

at the Baluarte, the home of Governor Chavit Singson, the grounds are open to the public.

STA MARIA

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Bakas River

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Our friends from Norzagaray tell me that Bakas is a most famous resort destination this side of town. And so we went after our Pinagrealan Cave spelunking.

Our host says that Bakas got its name from legends that there are actually footprints  – – one on the huge stone and another several miles away. Apparently from a giant.

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There are enterprising locals who have built huts and other facilities on the river bank. Families can stay in Bakas for the day and have a picnic in any of the sheds with bamboo tables and chairs. Really idyllic. Restful.

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There is also Bakas Overlooking, a more developed resort. More developed in the sense that they actually have a bamboo house where guests can stay. And a kitchen where they can cook. Plus a toilet where they put a drum of water from a nearby well so that customers can use the water from the drum to flush the toilet. And they also have a videoke on the shed right next to the river.

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Bakas is not for travelers who are looking for city comfort. But this place will appeal to those who are tired of the hustle and bustle of city life. It almost feels like going home to the province and staying with your cousins, aunts and uncles in a small barrio beside a river.

The younger ones in our group went for a swim and later on climbed huge boulders 20 feet high from where they jumped into the water. This, I believe, is the main attraction of the place. As for me, I would be just as happy wading into the shallow part of the river.

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Best to come here with all your provisions, like everyone else who come to the place. No restaurants, not even sari-sari stores. I surmise that the owners of the sheds can arrange for food to be cooked, or for drinks to be served – – – if a group decides to come without provisions.

We have plans to return. And maybe we will pitch tents next time. Maybe right beside where this cow is grazing. By the river.

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HOW TO GET THERE:

Get to Norzagaray and arrange for tricycles to take you to Bakas. I noticed that locals traveled in tricycles. Sorry but I did not inquire about rates – –  we traveled to Bakas in private transportation.