The Colours of Vigan

I’m sharing with you some of the activities we saw during the celebration of the Binatbatan Festival of the Arts held two weeks ago in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. The Viva Vigan Heritage 15k Run held at the city streets was one of the festival’s highlights but there was more to running during the week-long activities. The trip to Baluarte theme park, unspoilt beaches at nearby Magsingal town, the stroll along Heritage Village and many more were among our undertakings during our short visit. One can easily move around Vigan on foot and while savoring the local food that were prepared by our hosts and sampling those cooked on the festival grounds, the delight of witnessing the locals prepare on their assigned activities is another amazing thing.

The grand parade was going to be one of the most anticipated entertainment and the preparations being made within Plaza Burgos, Quezon Avenue, Florentino Street and its adjoining alleys were abuzz with merry-making liveliness. Exhibits, trade/food fairs, religious rituals, Santacruzans and other presentations were in full swing but what caught my eyes were the colorful decorations of the carabao- (water buffalo) drawn carriages which were going to pull in different indigenous products that hallmarks the unique identity of the Biguenos. 

The people showed their artistic inclinitions that even the carabaos were not spared.

Hope you enjoy the pictures.:-)










Vigan Cathedral

Beach front which we all had to ourselves located at Magsingal, Ilocos Sur

Betty, wearing her Vigan Run shirt

The trail heading towards the beach

Enjoying the powdery sand

Taking a break at Crisologo Street

Gavin getting a tattoo

One of the many miniature horses at Baluarte

Congressman Chavit's unfinished mansion


The closest i could get to Cong. Chavit (and his tiger!)

The real mccoy!

Betty posing at the entrance

The Trails of Baluarte!

We arrived in Vigan, Ilocos Sur last Friday at 3:30 pm after a gruelling 9-hour trip from Manila. Betty, BDM-er Mel Severino, Roselle (runningdiva) and myself were slated to run the Vigan Heritage 15k Run that Sunday and we were all going to be guests at Betty and Ral’s ancestral home at the Kamestizoan District, just a stone’s throw away from the Vigan Heritage Village. Roselle would be arriving at 9:00am the following morning, Saturday while Mel would be checking-in after lunch.  

It was nice to be back strolling around the shops and ancestral houses along Crisostomo Street which they now call the Heritage Village. I remember being in Vigan last year but not much have changed, except that some of the old houses were noticeably restored and painted. I was just contented to look around and i noticed new buildings that didn’t blend well with the surroundings like the Max restaurant which is so modern! Anyway, after a few more walks, we headed towards Burgos Plaza and went to a kiosk and ordered their famous “empanada” which still had that distinct ilocos-empanada taste!  

Crisologo Street, Heritage Village

We were back at the house just before 7:30pm as most of the shops and eateries were closed by now. Sad thing about this place is that they don’t seem to have a night life. We had a sumptuous dinner of “Bagnet”, “Pinakbet” and some brandy to wash it down before we called it a night. Betty had then suggested that we go for an early morning run the following day and explore some of the city while running.    

We woke up at about 5:30am the following morning and after having two cups of coffee each, Betty and i donned our running gear and headed out of the gate and started our run. We had no idea where to run at first, then Betty remembered that Baluarte, Congressman Chavit Singson’s theme park and habitat which houses some of the rarest and most exotic animals from all over the world was just a few kilometers away. 

More surprising to us was a presence of a trail that was located at the rear side of the 80 hectare theme park enclave. Here is our exploration of the trails: 

On to Baluarte

Entering Caoayan town

Amidst all election posters, the signage to Baluarte

Posing at the entrance

A chapel at the main entrance

Ostrich above greets us

Now inside the Baluarte

Betty continues the run inside

Road to the right part of the theme park

Towards the back side entrance

Going towards the trail's descent

Downhill trail with the South China Sea in foreground

Betty leads the way downwards

Part of the trail

Betty at the edges

A new discovery for us so we thread forward

The surface was a little wet brought about by rains the previous night so our shoes got heavy with mud

The trails were continuously zigzagging

Now out in the open

Towards the foothills

Charging the hilly terrain

Trying to catch up

Into our 4th kilometer

Betty getting the hang of trail running, mud and all!

Get the mud off your shoe first!:-)

Another incline

I do the catching up this time

Taking a pose, catching some breath

On to the woods

Dried leaves all over the surface

We we're now on our 7th km

A sudden uphill!

A plant in the middle of the trail while Betty scrubs off mud from her shoe

The trail ahead

A seemingly endless trail

Taking a walk break

The trails was so serene and the weather was mild


Viva Vigan Heritage Run: May 2, 2010

I still can’t forget the Ilocos Norte adventure runs we had when McCoy, Wilnar, Dhentz  and I travelled to Laoag City in Ilocos Norte to join the Run Ahead, Laoag City Raise the Roof Run last November 29, 2009. Aside from the race in Laoag City itself (laoag-city), we had a whirlwind tour of the province with adventure runs at the beaches of Blue Lagoon (pagudpud), Saud (saud), and the Sand Dunes of La Paz (la-paz), courtesy of our gracious hosts, Faivo and Babette Bartolome. It was a very well-organized race, one worth returning to.

Come May 2, 2010, there will be another race up north in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, the Viva Vigan Heritage Run organized by the Metro Vigan Runners Club (Tarayem) and it will be a 3k, 5k, 10k and 15k run. The run co-incides with Vigan’s famous Binatbatan Festival of the Arts from April 30 to May 5, 2010. If you want to know how much it would cost you to register for the race, please read on their press release below:

Another summer spectacle unfolds in Vigan from April 30 to May 5, 2010- the Viva Vigan Binatbatan Festival of the Arts! The festival was crafted in 1993 as an effort to nurture the pride of Biguenos on their identity as residents of this unique and historic city. With the collaboration of the LGU and the private sector, it metamorphosed into one of the biggest and most colourful attraction in the North, drawing crowds from all over the Philippines and abroad, who come to celebrate a city festival in a setting replete with history and heritage, cultural treasures and reminiscences.

This year’s festival marks another milestone of the city of Vigan with the inclusion of the “1st Viva Vigan Heritage Run” which will be held on May 2, 2010 with a theme “A Run for a Clean and Honest Elections”. The event is sponsored by the city government of Vigan headed by Mayor Eva Marie S. Medina. This race is being organized by passionate runners from Vigan, TARAYEM (Metro Vigan Runners Club). Race categories: 3K, 5K, 10K, 15K

What to expect from this race?

  • Very affordable registration fees
  • On-line registration allowed
  • Accurate race distance
  • Kilometre markers
  • Directional signs
  • Road marshals (Police, Traffic aides, Barangay Tanods)
  • Clean in-house rest rooms situated every 3 km
  • Abundant water stations (every barangay)
  • Experience running on a cobblestones along the Heritage Village ( all race categories)
  • Running alongside a river that connects to the South China sea (15K category)
  • A glimpse of Baluarte ni Chavit (10K and 15K category)
  • Carbo-loading party on May 1, 2010, 6PM in front of Vigan city hall(local carbo-rich delicacies)
  • Souvenir shirts
  • Enjoy the weeklong Viva Vigan Binatbatan Festival of the Arts



“A Run for a Clean and Honest Elections”

5:00 AM, May 2, 2010

Vigan City Hall, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur

Race Organizer: TARAYEM (Metro Vigan Runners Club)

Objective: To create awareness on the health benefits of running and to promote and showcase the tourist spots of the City of Vigan through this road race.


3K Kiddie Run, (12 years old under)

  • Male
  • Female

5K Fun Run (13 years old to 18 years old)

  • Male
  • Female

10K Adventure Run (Open Category)

  • Male
  • Female

15K Le’ Tour de Vigan (Open Category)

  • Male
  • Female


3K Kiddie Run (Male, Female)

  • 1st Prize: PhP 1, 500.00 plus trophy
  • 2nd Prize: PhP 1, 000.00 plus trophy
  • 3rd Prize: PhP 500.00 plus trophy
  • 4th to 10th placers: Medal

5K Fun Run (Male, Female)

  • 1st Prize: PhP 2, 000.00 plus trophy
  • 2nd Prize: PhP 1, 500.00 plus trophy
  • 3rd Prize: PhP 1000.00 plus trophy
  • 4th to 10th placers: Medal

10K Adventure Run (Male, Female, Open Category)

  • 1st Prize: PhP 3, 000.00 plus trophy
  • 2nd Prize: PhP 2, 000.00 plus trophy
  • 3rd Prize: PhP 1000.00 plus trophy
  • 4th to 10th placers: PhP 400.00 each plus Medal

15K Le Tour de Vigan (Male, Female-Open Category)

  • 1st Prize: PhP 4, 500.00 plus trophy
  • 2nd Prize: PhP 3, 000.00 plus trophy
  • 3rd Prize: PhP 2000.00 plus trophy
  • 4th to 10th placers: PhP 500.00 each plus Medal

Registration Fees:

3K: Free

5K: P30.00

10K: P50.00

15K: P80.00

Deadline of Registration: April 30, 2010

Registration areas: Vigan City Health Office Mon-Friday from 8AM to 4PM c/o Dr. Lymuel Pascua or Mr. Jessie Ancheta, Planet Sports General Merchandise, Plaza Maestro, Vigan City, Bantay Bread at Brgy. Boquig, Bantay, Ilocos Sur or download registration form and fax it to (077) 722-3838.

Mementos From Ilocandia

(Our Ilocos Norte Sojourn, Last of a four-part series)

Pagudpud is one of the least spoilt real getaway places, with superb, empty beaches. But over-all, Ilocos Norte presents its unique charms. My highlights were hiking the sand dunes of La Paz, running along the beaches of Pagudpud, taking a bite of the special Ilocos empanada, chilling out under the wooshing sound of the Bangui windmills and going back into time in Vigan (Ilocos Sur) which is well worth visiting for the Spanish architechture alone.

Ilocos province is made for adventure, leisure and a feel for history. And as the nearby flapping of the bangui windmill blades mezmerizes you beneath them, we agreed that it was worth the long travel!

Having our breakfast at the hotel resto

With ladies at the Reception counter

Tobacco Monopoly Monument, Laoag City

Ilocos Norte Capitol Building

Blue Lagoon beach

Old Marcos house at Batac

Another part of Marcos' home in Batac

Marker at Marcos' Mausoleum. At right is Gingili, known as the "bankrunner" at the forums who i would find out later was a former classmate of mine at the Ateneo Grad School of Business

Paoay Church

With the gang

Vigan at night

Front of souvenir shop--Vigan

Naughty T-Shirt for sale

Preparing the famous Ilocos empanada

At the Cape Bojeador lighthouse in Burgos, North of Laoag

The corridors of the lighthouse

Posing at the tower's door

At the Bangui windmills

Running thru strong winds at Bangui