I got less than three months left before my Armenian visa will expire. But as I have written on my last article that I can’t cancel my backpacking trip, so, here is what I have been doing.
It started few weeks ago when my desperation was at its peak and finally, I got the courage to do it. It has always been my dream to have a backpacking adventure anywhere in my home country. Though, there were a lot of things going through my head, I still have decided to work on it. The first step was easy, I just purchased a backpack good for less than a month. The second part was the hardest. I was glancing on the map of the Philippines thinking which is the good place to travel. Since I haven’t explored much of Luzon, then I chose it as a starting point. It was difficult since there were many promising and popular places to visit. But one province stood out and that was Ilocos Sur. If you were following my blog, I kept on telling that I have weakness on UNESCO world heritage sites and Ilocos Sur has it. My mind was already set in going to the Ilocos Region. The third action was about finances. I bought myself a plane ticket going to Manila and did run some estimation on how much I will need to last the trip since Ilocos Sur was just the first leg of my backpacking adventure.
The day came, I boarded the plane heading to Manila. After an hour and 20 minutes, the plane landed and I went directly to the bus station. I was in Partas Bus Station in Cubao at 1800H. I took the MRT-3 route to get to Araneta Cubao train station then walked to the bus station passing by Arayat Market til I reached Aurora Boulevard. According to the dispatcher who was selling the tickets, buses depart every hour. I got mine scheduled at 1900H but left the terminal half past 7 in the evening. It has two seat selections, one for deluxe for PhP805 and the other one for standard which is around PhP650. The bus started its engine at exactly 1930H and so the journey began.
The driver told me that it’ll take 8-10 hours to get to Vigan. Almost the entire duration of the trip, I was asleep. I can only remember that we stopped like 3 times. First was I don’t know where but it was a quick toilet break. The second time, it was in Sison, Pangasinan to grab some food to fill some empty stomach at 2330H.
I arrived in Vigan at 0300H. It wasn’t hard to find a place to stay in Vigan. In every corner, you will find hotels, apartelles, inns and guesthouses which vary in prices and services from affordable to expensive.
Since I am on a tight budget, I got these affordable places to stay;
1. Vigan Hotel
It is a budget hotel located in Calle Burgos corner V. de los Reyes street. The hotel looked old and everything inside it, too but what do you expect from an old city.
Pros: The good thing about the hotel is if you are a penny-pincher then it is for you. They offer fan-typed rooms for a very low price of PhP595 for double room and PhP395 for single occupants with shared bathroom and toilet. The rest were for air-conditioned typed rooms not less than PhP1,000. They also have free wi-fi access, towel and bath soap and coffee anytime of the day.
Cons: Since it’s close to the road, the noise from cars, calesa and trikes can be heard. Most of all facilities are in its antique stage (old) and no maintenance.
2. Arzobispado Palacio de Nuestra Segovia
In English, it is the Archbishop’s Place in Nueva Segovia street just across Plaza Salcedo and Vigan Cathedral. They offer rooms for people who seek to relax their weary and exhausted feet.
Pros: I got an ordinary fan room for just PhP300 with shared bathroom and toilet. The room is neat, cool, and very nice place to stay. I can also reflect here since they have a chapel, wide green gardens and even close enough to the church. I can hear the birds chirping, the cool wind from the gardens and trees. It’s like a retreat house and I like it. They even have house rules to follow such as curfew hour at 2100H, lights should be out by 2200H, and maintaining cleanliness by considering the place as your very own home.
Cons: I’m not sure if it was a disadvantage but for me it wasn’t. They don’t have wi-fi access. The room was small and lack any forms of entertainment such as television.
So far, the first few days of my backpacking trip went smooth. I still got a lot of stories to tell and magnificent and lovely tourist attractions to show. This is just the start of my backpacking journey.