Ilocos Sur is where the Ilocandia Region’s myriad of colorful culture and history converge to constitute a living museum with a spirited past. Interesting sites and places share space in this timeless land. The genteel old world charm and the opulent provincial history reflects hundreds of years of Ilocos Sur’s being at the crossroads of Asian and European trade and influences. Many tourists consider a journey to the province as a step back in time.
It is not surprising that Ilocos Sur is fast becoming one of the hottest tourism spots in the country. Local travelers love to drop by to enjoy the sights of centuries-old structures and to taste the heavenly dishes that are unique to this province. Foreign tourists are also sharing the same liking for everything in Ilocos Sur.
About Ilocos Sur
The province is situated in the western section of Northern Luzon. Ilocos Sur shares boundaries with Ilocos Norte in its north, Mountain Province in its east, La Union in its south, China Sea in the west, Benguet in the southeast, and Abra in the northeast. The total land area is about 2,600 square kilometers with a population of 630,000, the 42nd highest in the country. There are 34 towns.
Vigan City is the provincial capital. The UNESCO World Heritage site was founded in the 16th century. It is currently the best preserved sample of a planned Spanish colony in all of Asia. The architecture highlights the combination of cultural elements from the Philippines, China, and Europe. The city spits culture in every corner. The best way to go around is through riding any of tiny tricycles (motorbikes with side passenger cars).
In terms of tourism, Ilocos Sur is popular for its old churches and ancestral houses. The Kamestizoan District within Vigan is apparently replete with old homes that feature ancient tile roofs, hardwood floorings, and azoteas in Spanish-Mexican-Chinese architectural styles. The Sta. Maria Church is a national landmark.
The best time to visit Ilocos Sur is during its festivals. Here are some of the most popular festivities in the province.
Viva Vigan Arts and Industry Festival – held every first week of May, this is an event when Vigan City hosts a feast featuring its arts and products. There are cultural activities, exhibits, and Calesa parades.
- Semana Santa – held every Holy Week. This is an interesting commemoration of the Passion of Christ. Good Friday rites are the highlight of the occasion. Easter Sunday is jovial and is filled with much merrymaking.
How to get there
The best way to come is through public transport, specifically bus rides. Partas, Dominion, Viron, and Aniceto lines of buses are offering regular daily trips between Metro Manila and Ilocos Sur. The bus ride usually takes eight hours. Some opt to take flights via the nearby Laoag City, where there are daily air flights to and from Metro Manila.