We endured an hour and a half bus ride from Laoag to Vigan (100 pesos per person on an Ordinary Bus). Riding the bus from point A to point B in Ilocos was not tedious at all. At the time of our visit, the December breeze greeted our faces as it accompanied us throughout the bus ride thus making the trip undeniably comfortable. Yes, it can be comfortable even on board an Ordinary bus. Upon finally arriving in Vigan, I was filled with awe. The town seemed to have a very prominent identity compared to its neighboring towns. Right at the moment I set foot on Vigan soil, I knew I was in for a big treat. I was captivated
We checked in at Vigan Hotel. The experience? I do not recommend. It was more than eerie, it was dirty, and it had an old-haunted-house-scary-vibe. But nevertheless, we managed to set foot on it to leave our things. (We were supposed to check-in at Villa Angela but it was full at the time that we booked accommodations for Vigan. December is normally the peak season for Ilocos travel). So if you’re planning to do an overnight trip at Vigan, do not, by all means check-in at Vigan Hotel. Try Vigan Plaza Hotel. or Grandpa’s Inn. It always has good ratings. NEVER dare to check-in at Vigan Hotel. Don’t tell me I did not warn you!
FIRST STOP: We started our Vigan exploration by heading to Chavit Singson’s interactive wildlife sanctuary, BALUARTE. It was a getaway and an exciting experience especially for animal lovers! And for the best news, it is free of charge for its admission and very much open to the public!
Baluarte is a vast space of land that is ideally landscaped to cater to numerous animals. It is not a typical zoo where animals are usually caged. In Baluarte, the animals are almost always free to roam around to interact with the public. (Of course, those who roam around are not the dangerous ones). Mostly, the deers, ducks, and birds roam around freely. The camels and the ostriches are trained to be given usual petting.
Mini ponies are also available to be freely ridden by the public. (Hmm, Mini Ponies sound redundant huh? Mini and then Pony…) But yes, you heard that right, pony rides are also for free! It was so fun to ride the pony. It was like a mini-kalesa. But I somehow empathized for the ponies, how many passengers ceaselessly try to ride them? And what reward do they get? I just wish they are not in any way, abused.
Besides the normal animals we see in the zoos, Baluarte prides itself for having exotic animals. The main attraction is mainly the Siberian-Bengal Tiger. Baluarte also has Crested Serpent Eagle, Eastern Bearded Dragon, Albino Burmese Python, Sugar Glider, Binturong and Green Iguana.
To date, Baluarte is still being expanded to accommodate more wildlife animals to be nurtured. Besides that, Chavit Singson is also building a skyscraper that shall be made into a casino. Well, I’m not so supportive of that. Wildlife sanctuary + casino= not a nice combination, and not a usual mix. I hope he’d change his mind and convert it into something else. Perhaps something more proactive and useful to the general public and for the common good. His money can be a source of good lubrication for something
But nevertheless, I still had a blast and I had a fun time in Baluarte.
Thank you, Baluarte! Here we go, VIGAAAANNN!!!