Every single time someone in the group asks where we would go next, J would go, To Vigan’s Hidden Garden! I don’t know what’s with him and gardens, but on our last day in the city, we finally relented and went to the place. Honestly, I’m really not that keen on revisiting it since I really didn’t find it that interesting the first two times I went. But okay, since we have nowhere else to go, to the Hidden Garden it is.
Vigan’s so called Hidden Garden is not really hidden at all. Well, it is way out from the city center, and one needs to either ride a tricycle or hire a calesa to access it, so I guess it is partly hidden in a way.
The sprawling garden started out as a personal venture for retired engineer, Francis Flores. It started to really blossom and guests started to pour in. Eventually, he opened the place to the public in 1991 and it became one of the usual stops with the calesa tours in Vigan.
Hidden Garden is really intended for people with green thumbs. Here, one can find all sorts of ornamental plants for one’s landscaping needs. Yes, they are for sale. Every mom who has a small patch of ground would definitely love this place. And while I’m not really interested in horticulture, I find their collection of bonsais to be really nice. Believe it or not, I even attended a free workshop once on how to grow them—or hinder them from growing, to be more precise.
For photographers, it is a paradise for macro photography. We visited the garden after lunch, the time when most insects are hiding and resting, but we still saw quite a few of them buzzing around. Don’t forget to bring your macro lens and arrive early in the morning when the bugs are most active.
But since I’m also not that keen on shooting macro, my favorite place at Hidden Garden is their restaurant. Curiously named as the Lilong and Lilang Restaurant, it sits at one of the corners of the garden. The open-aired café looks really cozy with its native-inspired design.
During my previous visits to Hidden Garden, I got totally enamored with their Vigan longanisa. Lilong and Lilang Restaurant has one of the best ones I’ve tried in the whole of Vigan. I usually order three pairs of them whenever I visit.
But since everyone already reached their quota of Vigan longanisa, they begged off and we ordered the restaurant’s other offerings.
For our late lunch, we asked for a plate of sizzling bagnet sisig (Php255.00), poqui poqui (Php115.00), bagnet (Php220.00) and a bowl of Hidden Garden Fried Rice (Php150.00).
Serving size was huge, especially the rice. We were four in the group and it was more than enough for everybody. The massive mound was topped with bits of longanisa.
The poqui-poqui was superb, so was the sizzling bagnet sisig. My favorite however is their plain bagnet. It was amazingly crispy, almost chicharon-like in its crunchiness. Of course, it comes with the KBL dip which comprises of kamatis (tomato), bagoong (fish sauce) and lasona (shallot).
If you’re no garden lover like myself, Vigan’s Hidden Garden still has something to pull you with. A meal at Lilong and Lilang Restaurant inside the garden would definitely make your visit worthwhile. Everyone agreed that besides the dinner we ate at Café Uno, this is one of the best meals we’ve had in town.
Hidden Garden | Lilong and Lilang Restaurant
Address: Brgy. Bulala, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur
Contact Number: (077) 722-1450 | (0917) 922-2827
Open Hours: 6:00am to 7:00pm
Menu: Click Here
GPS Coordinates Map: 17°33'34.8"N 120°21'53.2"E