Ticking the Boxes in Philippines; Rumela Basu; NatGeo Traveller

Philippines – Historic City of Vigan

History, wellness, wildlife and seafood in the island nation. Read more on Nat Geo Traveller India.


An adventurous 4×4 ride over the sandy coastal desert at La Paz Sand Dunes, in Ilocos Norte province, feels much like a dash across the Emirati deserts. The experience however is in complete contrast to everything else in Ilocos Norte’s capital, Laoag, where the most intrepid ride is one on a traditional horse carriage or kalesa (PHP2,000/Rs 2,500 per vehicle).

These kalesas (PHP150/Rs 190 per hour) also clatter on the cobbled streets of Vigan, the capital city of neighbouring province, Ilocos Sur. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Vigan is the best preserved planned Spanish colonial town in all of Asia. Steep roofs and window panes fitted with a mosaic of capiz shells characterise most buildings here.

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