Vigan Tricycle tour (Bantay Church and Bell Tower, Baluarte ni Chavit, Paburnayan Vigan Pottery and Jar Making, Hidden Garden, Rowilda's Loom Weaving)

Our third day in Ilocos was spent in Vigan. We traveled from Laoag via van which gives as a stop to Juan Luna Shrine in Badoc, travel time is 6:30 AM – 11:00 AM Including the Badoc stop over. We’ve checked in Early at Villa Angela and went out for the tour. From Villa Angela we took a few blocks walk to Vigan Heritage Village. We stroll there for a while and decided to proceed on seeing Vigan’s most visited tourist spots.

I was already aware that the Vigan tour could really be cheaper by taking tricycle rides which is most of the time could even be cheaper that the Kalesa Tours - but ofcourse Kalesa or carriage tour has its different glam that cost the additional). Kalesa tours usually cost around Php800.00 that time; I spoke to one of the driver canvasing a much lower rate for the three of us. Luckily we got a tricycle that agreed that we only pay base on the basic fare with a little additional for the waiting time.

Our tour starts at Bantay Church and bell tower in Bantay, Vigan City. The Bantay church has a postcard perfect view attracting a lot of photographers and tourist. I remember one of my brides took their pre-nuptial photos here.

This church is also known as St. Augustine Parish – one of the oldest church in the Philippines which was founded 1593 and named after Saint Augustine de Hippo by the Augustinian friars. Aside from its age, luck and strength that enabled the church to withstand (with constant rebuilding) three big incendiary bomb which none exploded and the big concussions that was caused by five other bombs that explodes at around fifty meters away, the church is further recognize as the "Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de La Caridad". Nuestra Señora de La Caridad is the miraculous image of Virgin Mary housed in Bantay Parish.

Our next stop is at Paburnayan Vigan Pottery and Jar Making; as most of us are aware that Vigan is fairly known for its quality jars apart from bamboo products and Abel Iloco fabric. Today I was able to see how the jars are being made, the pottery wasn’t that big but is enough be able to produce a huge numbers of Jars to supply the high demand both from existing clients and walk in customers which are mostly tourist. Tourist can watch the pre-historic methods of producing these jars which they are still religiously using up to these days; Jar makers uses carabaos (water buffalos) to knead the clay, and foot-powered potter's wheel to turn the clay into burnay jars.

Being in place where famous Ilocano jar called burnay is created really made me miss my mom and wished that I could take her there; she loves Jars so much and I thought that one Jar from Vigan City will really make her very happy so I grabbed one for her.
Third destination is in “Baluarte ni Chavit” obviously named after their Governor - Chavit Singson, it is an interactive wild life sanctuary. At the entrance we were greeted with two huge tigers. They also have some animals like parrots, dwarf horses and ostrich to name a few. Baluarte ni Chavit charge no entrance/admission fee since some of the amusement service inside has their own prices, some collects donation so you just have to give out goodwill amount.



We still have two destinations since the two museums that we are about to visit are closed that time for renovation in preparation for holy week where Ilocos listed over 600,000.00 tourist last year, mostly are tourist from European Countries. So, the next is the place where we can stroll and take some snacks - Hidden Garden of Vigan.

The hidden garden of Vigan is owned by Francis Flores a landscape architect, he designs all the landscape in this place and man the nourishment of the garden. This place was built after the owner suffered from a heart attack which makes him more eager to put on a healthy environment and place where other people could run to. The inside was a real work of art, I enjoyed seeing some flowers that I haven’t seen for a long time since I left our province, the air was fresh and the ambiance is indeed very reviving.



Aside from the garden, Francis Flores also took advantage of the great location and had their own Café called Lilong ang Lilang’s Café. They serve a wide variety of local cuisines and other Pilipino favorite dishes. We came in and had our merienda here which I will be discussing on a separate post. See my post here.


Last but not the least is my most awaited destination - The Rowilda’s Loom Weaving. Why my most awaited? Because I grew up in a family of dressmakers and that makes me interested to almost everything that has to do with fabric, sewing machine, weavings and accessories. The Rowilda’s Loom Weaving, on the other hand is one of the most well-known supplier of Abel Iloco of Vigan, they also said to supply the some of their product to Kultura Filipina store which can be found in all SM Malls in the country.

Rowilda’s loom-weaving shop is located in barangay Camangaan in Vigan City, the shop is owned and manage by Panela family (Mr. Dominico Panela and Mrs. Milagros Panela) they named the store after their unica jiha Rowilda. When we arrived at the shop the first thing that caught our attention was the old lady fixing the spins of large yard which are used in weaving, she is Milagros. I was able to speak to Rowilda who was luckily not so busy that time and was kind enough to share some information about Abel Iloco and their shop.

According to Rowilda this store was built by her parents in the year 1977 where they uses techniques and skill that they acquired from their ancestors. The stores went its up and downs which only became stable after she came back from working abroad. That time she was able to invest on some material and equipment that pilots the reopening in 1989.

Curently Rowilda's already expanded their product from blankets, bags, bed linens, camisa-chino, bath towels and robes, hand towels, place mats, table napkins, runners and fabric for clothing materials. They use the old textile weaving machines manned by either a girl or boy workers, the yarn used was still the traditional one which are created from the process of Binatbatan where one has to beat the cotton pods with bamboo sticks until the seeds are separated from the fluff. The only thing evolved was the dying process which now uses synthetic and chemical-based dyes from the thread dye which are produced using a black plum locally known as Sagut.

I ended up buying a set of table runner, table napkins and place mats for my aunt and blanket for my grandmother. Got some discounts so total damage is not more than Php.1,000.00.

End of our tricycle tour! We have had enough experience, new learnings and a lot of photos. The tour starts at around 1:00 PM and Ended at 5:00 PM the Php 400.00 seems to be a little lower for the efforts and waiting time but the tricycle driver mentioned that the food treat and the company covers the rest.

We spent the night strolling and shopping at Vigan Heritage Village and the next morning we visited Aling Ida’s Vigan Longganisa and Syquia Mansion before heading to Pagudpug. For our full detailed Itinerary and expense, please check my post below.Ilocos Tour Complete Itinerary and Expense


  1. Great pics! Looks like you had a lot of fun :)

    I have an international clothing giveaway on my blog-

  2. Landed on this blog because of my email alerts with query Vigan. This is my hometown and I appreciate you for this great post :)

    1. oww - I really wonder what those email alerts are but I am glad you were able to visit my site. It is always nice to be at your hometown.

    2. My email is fired when an article with the term "Vigan" is published. So I get to receive posts with Vigan being mentioned :)

    3. Wow! that sounds so geeky haha... pwd pala yun.

    4. Hi Ed, Just wanted to ask if there is any way Baluarte ni Chavit Management can be made aware about some concerns for the welfare of the dwarf horses. Someone left a comment below with regards to this so I was just wonderign. :)

      "PiaMay 31, 2013 at 8:25 PM

      I really hope the management of Baluarte, as well as the tourists, come to realize that they should be more sensitive to the plight of the dwarf horses. The Baluarte offers free carriage rides by the dwarf horses to their detriment. Today, I witnessed a sight of exhausted and wounded dwarfed horses being whipped every 3 seconds so as to carry a load of an average of 3 adults at a quicker pace. Animals are not machines and people should be more aware of this. Attached is a photo of one of the wounded and very exhausted dwarf horses.

  3. There are many places in Ireland which are more attractable to the tourist who wants to gain their knowledge according to the natural beauty .so if you want to see the real beauty of nature then you must see the hill of Tara in county meath giant's causeway is also the natural beauty of Kerry Ireland .holiday in Kerry Ireland is really enjoyable for the children as well as for the elder one because people really wants a real thing.

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  4. I really hope the management of Baluarte, as well as the tourists, come to realize that they should be more sensitive to the plight of the dwarf horses. The Baluarte offers free carriage rides by the dwarf horses to their detriment. Today, I witnessed a sight of exhausted and wounded dwarfed horses being whipped every 3 seconds so as to carry a load of an average of 3 adults at a quicker pace. Animals are not machines and people should be more aware of this. Attached is a photo of one of the wounded and very exhausted dwarf horses.

    1. owww :( I hate seeing such pictures; I noticed the dwarf horses that time when I was there. It’s just that it carries kids which I assume it’s because of the two to three schools that are having their field trips that time. I never thought that they also allow adults to take a ride. Those were very little horses (even the carriages are small) and it would be very unwanted to have them pull 3 normal sized adults. Also wish that this will come to the management’s attention.

  5. Very detailed post- never been to Vigan -hopefully this year. will bookmark your post- very helpful :)

  6. Hello Ms. Christeen,

    A pleasant day to you.

    My name is Ronald; I'm the guy behind, a site about stories of travel in the Philippines. The idea is for people to share the excitement of going places while offering useful information to other travelers. S2kd is also my humble attempt at supporting and promoting Philippine tourism.

    In connection with this I am requesting your permission to allow me to republish in full (text and images) your blog post at

    As usual, full credits along with a link back to your article will accompany the republished content.

    Hoping for your approval.

    Ronald Alcazar

    1. Hi Ronald, You can use half of the photo and text - then link back for the full article. :)

  7. vigan tour po. contact my number. 09263487461

  8. Hi ma'am! How much did you pay for the tricycle if I may ask?

  9. Greаt blog! I am loving it!! Ꮃill come baсk again. I am tɑking уour feeds also


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