Vinzons in Camarines Norte: What to do, tourist spots and where to eat

Vinzons, Camarines Norte, Philippines
"Vinzons, Camarines Norte Tourist Spots" for Come To CamNorte's tourism campaign

Vinzons is the town in Camarines Norte I never expected to admire so much. Sure, the famous Calaguas islands geographically belong here but there's more to this town than being always dubbed as "the gateway to Calaguas".  Actually, the parish priest of this town himself laments this overused tagline because he said Vinzons deserve to be known more than the islands of Calaguas. I'm going to talk about it later in this post.

From Daet, our private van traveled to Vinzons for about an hour. We knew we were there already when we passed through a big arch that says "Vinzons, an Eco-Heritage Town in Camarines Norte'. Many weekends ago, we went to Camarines Norte to visit this town aside from Capalonga, a coastal community. We only had one whole day but it was enough to convince me that one of Camarines Norte's gems is the town of Vinzons.

HISTORY OF VINZONS
During this trip, we had the honor to learn more about Vinzons' history not from a book or travel guide but straight from Fr. Toti Angeles, the current parish priest of this town.  Vinzons was first named as Tacboan then Indan which is a leafy tree that populated this place way, way back when it is made of vast forests and rice fields. If you want to have an idea of how the indan tree looks like, check my photo above. It's the leafy half photo of tree in the right side.

When the province gave birth to Wenceslao Q. Vinzons, the history of Vinzons in Camarines Norte was changed forever.  Wenceslao was the former Governor of Camarines Norte and a guerilla leader who fought Japanese soldiers during the colonization days.  He was captured and eventually killed. The town adopted his name because of his martyrdom. Vinzons also share the same name to an elementary school in Manila and most especially the Vinzons Hall, a student activity center inside University of the Philippines - Diliman.


TOURIST SPOTS IN VINZONS, CAMARINES NORTE: WHERE TO GO AND WHERE TO EAT 

1.  Visita Iglesia in Camarines Norte - Parroquia de San Pedro Apostol Church 




There are actually two oldest churches in Camarines Norte. The first is Parroquia de Nuestra SeƱora de Candelaria in Paracale which we visited many months ago. We were even given access to a video camera monitored slash airconditioned room where the original statue made of pure ivory and gold is located. It was actually my first time to see a holy art that's so precious like that!


Parroquia de San Pedro Apostol Church CAMARINES NORTE vinzons

The second church I  am referring to is the one here in Vinzons. I must say it is the most beautiful of all the churches I have seen in Camarines Norte. It is also a 400-year old church that still uses its Spanish name - Parroquia de San Pedro Apostol up to these days. Made of coral limestones that will surely put your mood to yesteryears, this church is very well-maintained. Destroyed by fire many decades ago, the parish did everything to regain back how it looked like originally. Through thorough archival research and photos contributed by parishioners, they were able to bring back everything with slight modification of course. From the retablo, to the doors and wall paintings, you will see how Saint Peter the Apostle Church was built with so much love and faith.


saint peter the apostle vinzons camarines norte

Unlike the Paracale church of Camarines Norte, the 400-year old original statue is still found at the very top of the front facade of the church. I agree however from the parish priest that due to its historical value and also made of precious gems, that it would be kept in a safe place like the one in Paracale. You can click HERE a blog post I made VISITA IGLESIA IN CAMARINES NORTE: COME TO THIS 400-YEAR OLD PARROQUIA DE SAN PEDRO APOSTOL CHURCH IN VINZONS.


2.  See the ancestral / old houses in Vinzons

old houses in vinzons camarines norte

I have a soft heart when it comes to Filipino old houses! That's why my heart jumped when I saw these old houses while we were inside the van going around Vinzons. While it is not the same in Vigan that you can spot most of these near each other, I am still amazed at how until these days the locals were able to preserve their ancestral houses. Some are in derelict condition,  some need a repair and some look just like in the era of our great great great grandparents!


vinzons camarines norte

I hope that the local tourism of Vinzons will be able to come up with a tourism promotion out of these as well though I understand these houses are private properties. Because of lack of time, we were only able to visit one house that is already a century year old owned by Don Ramon Pajarillo. I do not know them personally but I would like to thank them for taking care of their ancestral house this long. 


old houses in the philippines

The wooden furniture, windows made of Capiz shells and overall architecture of the house is so nostalgic.  Instead of builing the next *insert foreign destination here* in our country, why not we focus on rebuilding and preserving our old houses and our very own architecture? 


3. Eat some of Bicol's best-tasting local dishes and delicacies
While sinantol or ginataang santol (cottonfruit with coconut milk) is still my top favorite local food in Camarine Norte and in the whole Bicol region, there were three additional food we tasted for the first time during our second trip in this province. Thes Bicolano delicacies were all served to us in a known restaurant in Vinzons called Estela's Garden.  Here are they: 

where to eat in vinzons camarines norte - estelas garden

Hinalo looks like a regular suman wrapped in fine, banana leaves. The only twist is that aside from it's made of glutinous rice, they have added bits of pili/peanuts plus coconut jam.
Angko looks exactly like tikoy, another Filipino delicacy. It's shape is circle and colored white. Instead of coconut jam/sweets, the filling is made of pili and/or peanuts.
Pandecillo obviously means a small piece of bread in Spanish. It's like our favorite pan de sal we eat every morning but this one has a filling of pili/peanuts plus milk. Somehow, it tastes like yema, another Pinoy delicacy because it is very sweet.


bicolano dishes



Where to eat in Vinzons, Camarines Norte - Estela's Garden

Estela's Garden is personally recommended by the local tourism office of Vinzons. It is not a full-pledged restaurant, it is actually more of food stop inside a private compound. Aside from these, they also sell other dishes such as baby back ribs, chicken cordon bleu and Korean beef stew.




We love the atmosphere in Estela's. It has a homey vibe that you'll think your at home on your own table and chair eating your mom's homecooked food. The tables are communal because it is the long type, not the round one that you'll only share with your buddies when you eat there. We also love the different colored flowers blooming inside the compound plus we saw a plant of PURPLE colored chili pepper for real! I do not usually mention this in any restaurant or hotel reviews I do but in Estela's, the comfort room deserves a mention. It's not that it is made of diamonds but I find it cute that it has some planted greens inside. It kind of gives a cool feeling. 

Estela's Garden is located in Purok 6, Poblacion Street Tres 427 Santo Inchero Street, Vinzons. To order, you can call or text them at 09153286685.


4. Calagus Islands, the Boracay 20 years ago
In my first paragraph, I mentioned that Vinzons should not be known only as the gateway to Calaguas. This do not mean I am against in the promotion of these islands as main tourist attractions of the province of Camarines Norte. I have seen how beautiful and raw this beach is, all I can say is it's a paradise. I just wish and pray that this will not turn to the same fate of what Boracay is now - crowded, dirty and overly commercialized. One whole day and if possible one night is the amount of stay you need here to make the most of the beautiful beach of Calaguas. 


calaguas islands, vinzons camarines norte


I know this picture do not give justice to how purely pristine the waters of Calaguas islands. We actually arrived in the morning while the sun is up but past noon, the rain fell down for at least an hour. As soon as the sky is clear, we started taking photos but it wasn't as beautiful compared to the early morning. Lesson learned to us but we cannot blame ourselves, we were so hungry that we ate and settled a bit. I will be sharing a DIY Travel Guide to Calaguas Islands soon, stay tuned.


islands of calaguas vinzons  camarines norte


The islands of Calaguas is a beach I will always want to come back but if we are to talk about off-the-beaten-path spots in Camarines Norte, I would prefer more the Parola Island of Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte. Click HERE why I consider this as one of the true hidden beautiful beaches in the Philippines. 


LOCAL FESTIVALS IN VINZONS
Tacboan Festival (September) in Vinzons This celebration is dedicated to the town's original name which is Tacboan.  Some of the activities are commemorative mass, street dancing, trade fair, exhibits, sports and a lot more.
Vinzons Day Celebration (September 28) This is the commemoration of the birth anniversary of Vinzon's hero Wenceslao Q. Vinzons, Sr., a native of Vinzons (former Indan). Commemorative mass & program, oratorical contests, lecture forum on the life of the hero, DBC/Lyre competition, parade and others are the highlights of this celebration.



To my dear readers, this Travel guide to Vinzons in Camarines Norte is a work in progress. We are constantly striving to make this article as helpful as much as we can. We are open to your feedbacks or additional information that we can use here. We'll add your name as credit/source if you wish so. Please see below some questions we need answers preferably from the locals of Vinzons themselves.

1. Aside from the places we visited, what else / what are other tourist spots we can also share to our blog posts for the town of Vinzons?
2. Is there any prestigious awards that the town of Vinzons is known for or any prominent family who live here?        
3. What is the main livelihood of this town?
4.We need complete directions about how to go to Vinzons from Manila and Daet. How much is the fare?
5. Do you know when is the date of the official fiesta in Vinzons?
6. We are looking for more  (clear and if possible high res) photos of Tacboan and Vinzons Festival. We also need brief history of each of these. 

Please let us know if you want to help by sending me a message - mariaronab@gmail.com


To read related articles, please check below:
DIY TRIP TO CAMARINES NORTE: GUIDE TO THE TOWNS OF VINZONS (INCLUDING CALAGUAS) AND CAPALONGA
VISITA IGLESIA IN CAMARINES NORTE: COME TO THIS 400-YEAR OLD PARROQUIA DE SAN PEDRO APOSTOL CHURCH IN VINZONS
TRAVEL GUIDE TO CAMARINES NORTE: WHERE TO GO AND WHERE TO STAY (Labo, Capalonga, Paracale, San Lorenzo and Jose Panganiban

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