There have been many inquiries on Vigan food so I do apologize for this overdue post. After all it did take me almost 9 hours to get to Vigan for “the” wedding . Next time….I’d rather take the plane for just a weekend!
Here is a shortlist of the popular dishes I got to try in Ilocos Sur:
Vigan empanada (How to make Vigan empanada):
Roll out dough wrapper made with galapong (rice flour) and achuete oil (for the orange color). For the filling: saute Vigan longanissa meat (longanissang hubad) with shredded green papaya and cabbage. Then add a whole egg before forming the empanada and then deep-fry. Serve with sukang ilokos (vinegar) as a dipping sauce.
Bagnet – this local delicacy is crunchy pork belly that has been boiled, hung to dry, and then deep fried. The Vigan secret is frying it in pork fat or pork lard!!!
Pakbet – or pinakbet is the Filipino version of ratatouille. It is a vegetable stew of eggplants, string beans, bittergourd (amplaya), okra, and shrimp paste. The authentic Ilocano version uses small round eggplants, baby ampalaya, and seldom uses squash.
Pinakbet and bagnet with a salad of tomatoes, onions, and bagoong (fermented fish sauce) at Grandpa’s Inn (right photo):
Vigan Longanissa – tiny links of ground pork mixed with lots of garlic and vinegar.
Tinubong – rice flour, buko or coconut meat, and margarine. It is steamed in bamboo tubes.
Basi -is a Filipino alcoholic drink made from fermented sugarcane juice.
How to get to Vigan:
By bus: From Manila take Partas station in Aurora boulevard Cubao. The ride takes 8 to 10 hours with stops.
By plane: Seair now flies direct to Vigan
Drive: 6 hours to 8 hours
Where to stay:
Vigan Plaza Hotel (Congratulations to now congressman and SHRIM alumnus Ryan Singson. The hotel was his business plan and project in class. )
What to do: Go back in time by exploring the photogenic UNESCO heritage houses, the antiques, and the intriguing little shops of Calye Crisologo. Vigan is a magnificent place to practice photography.
The best way to tour the rest of Vigan is by taking a horse drawn carriage called a calesa. The rates are P150 per hour. In half a day one can tour the Bantay Bell Tower, Pagburnayan RG Jar factory, and the Bulaurte. Also visit the Syquia, Burgos, and Crislogo museums for a better understanding of Filipino history. One can also take the tricycle to get around for 10 pesos.
Part of my bucket list is to ride a camel. Yes a camel!! Instead of a desert…I ended up doing this at the Bulaurte in Vigan. Isn’t it crazy to have ridden a camel in this part of the world!?! Apparently the governor does not just have tigers but also has camels for pets.