Royal Bibingka, Empanada and Longganisa. Second Stop Vigan City.

Vigan UNESCO Heritage Site
Vigan is the second stop of our Ilocos adventure. After about 4 hours drive from Baguio City (see the Baguio City food trip post), we have to stay for a day in Vigan City to visit and say hello to relatives and to my sisters. Our adventure two main objectives are to explore the Ilocos and to rediscover its famous unique foods.

Vigan Empanada

First on the menu list is Vigan empanada, we arrive in Vigan at around five-o-clock in the afternoon, just in time for a quick snack of empanada and ukoy. The empanada stalls under the bell tower are packed with tourist we have to wait for sometime to get a table. This time I have to dissect a piece to see the inside. I am hopping to replicate it when I get home in Manila or perhaps in Abu Dhabi. There is no other way to enjoy an authentic empanada, only under the bell tower of Vigan St. Paul Cathedral or at Plaza Burgos where all it has began.

Vigan Max's Restaurant

Crisologo Street under the dusk, the nostalgia of this UNESCO heritage site is being amplified by the reddish evening skies. This is the first time I have seen the heritage village full of tourist both foreign and local. What caught my attention is the Vigan Max’s Restaurant. The Vigan’s branch specialty is not their famous Max’s fried chicken, what else longganisa, bagnet and dinuydoy (mashed squash with pork and ampalaya).

Vigan Longgania

The Vigan longganisa is famous for its vinegary and garlicky flavors, but personally, I like it because they are leaner compared to other longganisa of other regions. Now the fats are reduced further. An innovative street vendor use turbo oven to roast longganisa skewed in bamboo stick, it did catch the attention of a lot of health conscious tourist.

The next morning it’s time to enjoy a freshly cooked bowl of sinanglao, a stewed beef innards and skin, flavored with kamias (ginger lily fruit) and bile, it is similar to papaitan. They are only available in the morning at street corners of Vigan and they are sold fast.

Well if you do not like this exotic food, try the Vigan miki. They are also freshly cooked in the morning. The miki stalls under the bell tower at Plaza Burgos are again full of customers enjoying a bowl of annatto flavored noodle soup. They are mostly early churchgoers who have come for the early prayer or mass.

A visit at the Vigan public market is part of the journey. Longanisa lined hanging in the meat section is part of the sight along with bagnet. Nevertheless, I was not there for them, should you want longganisa and bagnet to take back home, I would recommend that you order from the reputable manangs who made them homemade style, they usually use better meats cuts of fresh pork. I was there to buy papaitan set, they are sold fresh in complete set with bile and with a block of coagulated blood.


A wine derived from sugar cane locally called basi is another must have in Vigan. The equally famous sukang Iloko or cane vinegar share the same process. It is the same vinegar used as a dip for empanada and ukoy.


Tinubong is another unique kakanin of the Ilocanos, They usually come from Magsingal a town up north of Vigan. Tinubong is made up of ground glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk and sugar with strips of young coconut meats sealed in bamboo tubes. In the old days tinubong was supposed to be cooked using the bamboo tubes under charcoals. Today they are commercially cooked in wok and poured inside the bamboo tubes as ready to eat. To eat them the bamboo tubes has to be place under a flame to warm and make the tinubong inside soft before splitting to scoop out the delicacy.

Marsha's Royal Bibingka

The famous Vigan Royal bibingka is the best-recommended food to try if you are in Vigan. Marsha’s Royal bibingka has now become the leader of the several bibingka makers. They have now established their commercial dominance of the delicacy. They have big bakery at the town of Bantay along the main hi-way to Manila from Ilocos Norte where passenger busses and motorist can conveniently stopover. Vigan City is not along this hi-way its about three to five minutes drive to the City center. Marsha’s Delicacy product packaging is way superior from the other bibingka bakers. Their boxes are visually appealing at present they come in lavender colored boxes. They have modern counter complete with illuminated menu signage, a dine-in area and clean rest rooms. Other goodies are also available beside the bibingka.

The Sister's & Tongson's Royal Bibingka

Of course, to mention the other choices are The Sister’s and Tongson’s especially if you have stayed loyal to these two bibingka bakers.


There are other food items that I have to mention, they are usually bought as pasalubong. Crispy fried corn kernels (chichacorn) they come also in adobo and chili aside from the regular garlic flavor. Balikutsa (pulled sugarcane candy). And the Vigan dried miki should you want to have it cook yourself upon your return home.

Second Stop, Vigan City is part of our Ilocos Adventure during the 2008 Christmas holiday season.

See the first stop of our Ilocos Adventure:

Strawberry Taho, Sundot Kulangot, Baguio City Food Trip

See the Final Leg of our Ilocos Advanture:

Final destination Northern Ilocos un-spoilt beaches


  1. I love empanada vigan, longganiza, yummy

  2. Mj kritz

    Im looking every day for a new receipe because

    everyday I Want to cook new rceipe while my husband he eat now filipino food.thanks for the
    receipe & I enjoy cooking that is my hobbie.


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