Photos, videos and stories of town explorations.
The food park has an open square enclosed by cargo containers piled into two layers with food stalls and restaurants occupying the cargo container spaces.

✈ It was a welcome treat for me after staying away from my hometown longer than the usual.

✈ This was more than just a dinner, of course. It's a moment of reminiscing the eight-year relationship we had as colleagues in the nursing services of our hospital. I realized I missed my old job badly that I had this emotional surge of wanting to go back.

[Vigan, Ilocos Sur Province, Ilocos Region, Luzon Island, Philippines]

There's a great new addition to Vigan's ever growing food, dining and tourism industries. A food hub just opened last April in Tamag called the Sitio Food Park with the claim of being the first urban food park in Northern Luzon.
A Welcome Treat from My Colleagues
The food park has opened about three (3) months ago but I had no enthusiasm to join the hype that time. It was maybe because I'm tired and sick of all these first-day hypes with the opening crowd that could no longer handle the curiosity and excitement. I know it would be hard for me to achieve a relaxing moment if I'm gonna join a frenzy of crowd that couldn't wait to post an update on social media. I opted to let the force subside so that I could have my own moment when everything has returned to normal. So yes, that's the reason I never visited the food park.

SITIO FOOD PARK, VIGAN
[VIGAN] ► WELCOME TO SITIO FOOD PARK!
I'm no longer staying in Vigan often because of some life hacks that I applied and career twists that are so inviting after I resigned from my nursing job in Vigan about 10 weeks ago so the opportunity to visit the said food park was rare until last week when my former chief nurse invited me to have a dinner with them. It was a welcome treat for me after staying away from my hometown longer than the usual.

Reaching the food park was a drizzly welcome followed by a sudden heavy downpour that didn't last for long. The food park isn't waterproof obviously but if you would use your common sense, you could still have a sumptuous meal without getting wet.

What we did was to climb the stair and stay at the second level. The rain didn't stop yet but we were able to secure a place that would allow us to stay dry.

My colleagues chose to bring me to the Rustic Box Steak House. I didn't know why they chose it but I was more than grateful that someone paid for my meals that night.

They ordered a porterhouse for me and it was so juicy, tender and big—perfect for building my muscles since I've returned to chiseling my body at the gym after random comments and soft bullying that I'm so thin.

1234
1 | [VIGAN] ► This life will offer you many choices and you could never tell which is the best unless you tried them all.
SITIO FOOD PARK, VIGAN
2 | [VIGAN] ► This is the mess of happiness.
SITIO FOOD PARK, VIGAN
3 | [VIGAN] ► If you make things complicated, then it's complicated. Use your hands. Eat the food. Enjoy as simple as that.
SITIO FOOD PARK, VIGAN
4 | [VIGAN] ► The steak that would help me fight bullies away. :-)
SITIO FOOD PARK, VIGAN

This was more than just a dinner, of course. It's a moment of reminiscing the eight-year relationship we had as colleagues in the nursing services of our hospital. I realized I missed my old job badly that I had this emotional surge of wanting to go back.

On the other hand, I learned that one of my colleagues who was also with me that night has pursued her plan to work in Saudi Arabia. Her reason? I don't know and I believe it's a personal decision she has to make. It's the same thing with me. I left my old job because of personal decisions too. How I wish to stay there longer but it's human nature that we want to achieve more. Me, I just wanted to grow and pursue my passion and goal of traveling the world.

The rain has stopped but not our conversations. The sky dimmed but the food park lightened as bulbs, lamps and smiles brightened up the space once consumed by darkness.
A New Food Park for Ilocanos and What to Expect
The Sitio Food Park is located in Barangay Tamag of Vigan, just along the Quirino Boulevard after the Ilocos Sur Provincial Hospital-Gabriela Silang. As far as my memory is concerned, the present location of the food park was the same location proposed for the construction of a fancy hotel with the perspective already on display. However, the proposed project has gone in the wind. After more than a decade, this project came out—the Sitio Food Park.

The location used to be a green space I've always adored everytime I passed by this area. It was surrounded by lush thick vegetation of trees, shrubs and maybe herbs that made me felt like I was so close to nature. The green space is already gone upon the birth of the Sitio Food Park.

The food park has an open square enclosed by cargo containers piled into to two layers with food stalls and restaurants occupying the cargo container spaces.

12345
1 | [VIGAN] ► Innovation is here. Sitio Food Park is said to be the first of its kind in Northern Luzon.
SITIO FOOD PARK, VIGAN
2 | [VIGAN] ► Lush thick green vegetation surrounds the Sitio Food Park. The area used to be an open green space.
SITIO FOOD PARK, VIGAN
3 | [VIGAN] ► Rainy days are young. We can still consume our chilled overprized juice.
SITIO FOOD PARK, VIGAN
4 | [VIGAN] ► One layer of courage is safer yet seemingly dispassionate. Double layer of courage is more adventurous and commanding.
SITIO FOOD PARK, VIGAN
5 | [VIGAN] ► Images and colors could speak a thousand words.
SITIO FOOD PARK, VIGAN

In the middle is like a concert ground with a performance stage at the western part of the park. It opens from 10:00 AM up to 2:00 AM the next day. The center square is an open space. The ground was designed with adorable tiles of pleasing patterns with dining tables and chairs on it.

The Sitio Food Park is near the Baluarte Zoo of Chavit Singson and less than 1 kilometer to the next municipality (Caoayan).

For first-time visitors, get an extra cash since the prices here were marked-up higher than the average. Party drinks are available and you have a wide array of choices in terms of what food to it.

There is also a concert stage for live band performances so expect that this food park would have a party atmosphere starting 10:00 PM onward.
Night and Rain
The light faded, creeped to oblivion. The chatter, laughter and occasional silence made time ran so slow that we didn't notice it was already dark. More people gradually occupied the spaces of the food park from the ground to the structures.

1234567
1 | [VIGAN] ► Oh night sky. Why so full of soul?
SITIO FOOD PARK, VIGAN
2 | [VIGAN] ► Collective beauty exists. See the tiles.
SITIO FOOD PARK, VIGAN
3 | [VIGAN] ► The sky masterpiece is incomparable.
SITIO FOOD PARK, VIGAN
4 | [VIGAN] ► There's up. There's down.
SITIO FOOD PARK, VIGAN
5 | [VIGAN] ► It was a rainy night at Sitio Food Park
SITIO FOOD PARK, VIGAN
6 | [VIGAN] ► Millennials are everywhere.
SITIO FOOD PARK, VIGAN
5 | [VIGAN] ► Sitio Food Park has a concert ground.
SITIO FOOD PARK, VIGAN
How to Go or Commute?
The tricycle terminal for Tamag (UNP TODA) is located in front of the Vigan Public Market near the Jollibee Vigan Market. Fare should be 10 pesos per head if there are at least two passengers but since this is a trike terminal, they will wait until the trike is full (four heads) unless you will pay for the other slots.

Vigan is known for infamous tricycle drivers who would charge you more than what the city ordinance mandates. Inside the tricycle is a sticker with the schedule of fares in Vigan. If you are wise, don't negotiate with the driver. Just ride and pay after based on the schedule of fares. If they insist you to pay more, you might opt to report them at the Vigan City Hall.

Basically, you can get a trike anywhere from Vigan. The same fare applies when you get a trike anywhere as long as it's inside the poblacion. However, if you took a trike from the residential districts of the Vigan poblacion, they might charge you higher and it's your choice if you're going to agree or not with the amount. As I said, you could just ride and pay after based on the schedule of fares posted inside the trike. Some trikes might not post it though so beware. You may request the schedule of fares at the city hall. Proceed to the information desk and tell them you're a tourist.

If you came outside from the poblacion or from another town (say for example Bantay), this is outside the scope of the ordinance. Normally, if you came from a point that is just near the Vigan border, fare should be from as low as 30 pesos up to 50 pesos per trike if you're alone. If there are at least two of you, fare should be at least 15 pesos to 25 pesos each head.

Take note that night fare is more expensive than what I mentioned here.
Ending Insights
For me this is a great addition to Vigan's roster of restaurants & food hubs and... I would claim this as an additional tourist attraction. It's a millennial-savvy destination I think.

More than that, I would like to believe that this food park will serve as a stimulus to that area—I'm referring to economic activity. The area is a dead economic zone and I hope other investors would follow soon so that this area will also develop economically. What do you think?

Above all, this experience for me is more personal. It felt good to catch up with old friends who became part of my life journeys. | end |
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Map Showing the Location of #VIGAN

MAP OF VIGAN
► FOOTNOTES, DISCLAIMERS, ACKNOWLEDGMENT, ETC

✈ This post was filed under the category "Food Destinations." See more posts related to this below.

✈ The maps I used on this post are from maps.google.com.ph.

✈ All photos are mine.

✈ The insights, condition and name of places or properties I mentioned here are based on the facts and situation on the day of my visit. Take note that you may have a different experience when you try or see the properties or places mentioned here. Names of places and properties may also change by time so it's not my responsibility to update all the information on this blog because once published, I already consider it an archive and I won't update my narratives because I want them to become my references of what have happened in the past. I'm very particular of the dates because I want my amazing readers to understand that I am writing stories based on my perspective and insights on the day of my visit. You can see dates almost everywhere on this blog. Exempted from this rule are my travel guide posts that need to be updated.

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NAGUSTUAM DIAY NABASAM/NAKITAM? MABALIN MO MET I-LIKE.
Photos, videos and stories of town explorations.
When I visited Poipet, I noticed those huge and fancy buildings that are popping out everywhere so I realized that there's something driving the economy of this city. What would it be?

✈ For tourists, Poipet is somehow notorious for its scammers who would trick you by voluntarily helping you to fill out forms at first then asking a fee later.

✈ Its strategic location has actually transformed Poipet into a boomtown because of border trades and gambling that have attracted both locals and tourists.


[Poipet, Ou Chrov District, Banteay Meanchey Province, Cambodia]
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Poipet is a Cambodian boomtown located in Ou Chrov District of the province of Banteay Meanchey. It's located at the Thailand-Cambodia border and it's usually a transit point between Bangkok and Siem Reap. Below are the things I learned and discovered based on my personal experiences, actual observation and research.
1 - Poipet is a Gambling City
When I visited Poipet, I noticed those huge and fancy buildings that's popping out everywhere so I realized that there's something driving the economy of this city. What would it be? It was impressive for me. I later found out that it's actually the gambling industry that's changing the landscape of this city.

POIPET, CAMBODIA
[POIPET] ► BOTH LOCALS AND TRAVELERS PASS IN BETWEEN THESE FANCY BUILDINGS STANDING IN SPITE OF A POOR PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE. THIS ROUGH ROAD SPEAKS MORE.
The demand for gambling is really high, as evidenced by the numerous casino hotels/buildings here. Here's the interesting side of the story. Gambling is illegal for Cambodians but the rule gets loose when foreigners enter the casinos. The market mostly serves the Thai gamblers and Poipet seems to be the best option to gamble. It's at least 3 hours drive from ▼ #BANGKOK
using private car. In Thailand, gambling is illegal so the nearest choice is Poipet.
2 - Both Extreme: Luxury and Poverty Have Glaring Presence
While Poipet seems to be posh and luxurious because of the lucrative gambling industry, the contrary is very present. Poor Cambodians doing life hacks to win the battle against poverty were here to stay.

POIPET, CAMBODIA
[POIPET] ► HERE'S A CAMBODIAN WOMAN DOING LIFE HACKS TO SURVIVE CAMBODIA'S GRUELING POVERTY. THOUGH POIPET LOOKS FANCY WITH ITS CASINOS, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN IS THE OTHER FACE OF POIPET.
This scenario is somehow the same with some of the places in my country ▼ #PHILIPPINES
so I won't judge. The wide gap is just obvious and... glaring. Here's the good news. Cambodians, however, were employed by these gambling facilities.
3 - It's the Main Entrance/Exit Point Between Cambodia and Thailand.
Poipet is the most popular portal of entry to and from Thailand so expect that there would be long lines at the immigration office. Patience required.

POIPET, CAMBODIA
[POIPET] ► THERE'S ACTION AT THE IMMIGRATION OFFICE. BE WISE.
Its strategic location has actually transformed Poipet into a boomtown because of border trades and gambling that have attracted both locals and tourists. Its local population has doubled in a span of 10 years from approximately 40,000 in 1998 to approximately 80,000 in 2008. It's currently the fourth most populous town in Cambodia. Real quick!
4 - The Border Gate Arch is the Most Photographed Landmark in Poipet
This is a personal discovery. The border gate arch of Poipet with traditional Khmer carvings seemed to be the most popular and most photographed landmark in town.

POIPET, CAMBODIA
[POIPET] ► BOTH LOCALS AND TOURISTS WHO CROSS THE BORDER TO THAILAND WILL DEFINITELY SEE THIS LANDMARK.
It's the reason why I made that border gate as the cover photo of this article. Search "Poipet, Cambodia" on Google, Yahoo and Bing and you'll see an overwhelming presence of this landmark.
5 - Tourist Scam is Common in Poipet
For tourists, Poipet is somehow notorious for its scammers who would trick you by voluntarily helping you to fill out forms at first then asking a fee later. Others are agents of overpriced buses who would bring you to a terminal with an overpriced restaurant and let you wait there for a considerable length of time so that you'll get hungry and buy their food.

POIPET, CAMBODIA
[POIPET] ► TOUTS MAY OFFER HELP AND IT'S THE MOST OBVIOUS SCAM YOU COULD GET. MINE WAS DIFFERENT. THE IMMIGRATION OFFICER ASKED ME FOR A FEE SO THAT HE WOULD ALLOW ME TO EXIT.
I, myself, was also scammed. As a Filipino, exiting Cambodia doesn't require me to pay. However, during my turn at the immigration office, I was asked to pay fees which unfortunately I did because of lack of knowledge being it was my first time to cross the border that time. Lesson learned.
__________________________________

The stories above are some of the few interesting things I learned and discovered during my short stay in Poipet. | end |


Map Showing the Location of Poipet

MAP OF POIPET
► FOOTNOTES, DISCLAIMERS, ACKNOWLEDGMENT, ETC

✈ This post was filed under the category "Travel Learning and Discoveries." See more posts related to this below.

✈ The maps I used on this post are from maps.google.com.ph.

✈ All photos are mine.

✈ The insights, condition and name of places or properties I mentioned here are based on the facts and situation on the day of my visit. Take note that you may have a different experience when you try or see the properties or places mentioned here. Names of places and properties may also change by time so it's not my responsibility to update all the information on this blog because once published, I already consider it an archive and I won't update my narratives because I want them to become my references of what have happened in the past. I'm very particular of the dates because I want my amazing readers to understand that I am writing stories based on my perspective and insights on the day of my visit. You can see dates almost everywhere on this blog. Exempted from this rule are my travel guide posts that need to be updated.

LATEST STORIES COVERING POIPET | SEE OLDER POIPET STORIES »

MORE STORIES COVERING OU CHROV DISTRICT | SEE OLDER STORIES »

LATEST STORIES COVERING THESE CATEGORIES | SEE OLDER STORIES »

MORE TOWNS YOU MIGHT LIKE TO EXPLORE:
VBP P KLSVD SF L N
NAGUSTUAM DIAY NABASAM/NAKITAM? MABALIN MO MET I-LIKE.