Saying good-bye to the cobblestoned streets of Vigan and heading back to Manila? There are two ways to do, by air and by land. The overland distance between Vigan and Manila is approximately 400 kilometres from Manila via the MacArthur Hwy/Manila N Rd. If you're flying from Laoag, you'll be in Manila in just about 50 minutes. This convenience comes at a price of roughly PHP5,000 for a one-way flight ticket. If you decide to go by bus, it will take you around 10 hours but it's still dependent on the traffic condition.
Flights fro Vigan to Manila
Currently there are no commercial flights from Mindoro airport aka Vigan airport. You should use Laoag International airport instead.
As of this writing, only one airline plies the route between Laoag and Manila. Philippine Airlines have one or two daily flights with tickets ranging from PHP4,000 to PHP8,000. Even if you choose the budget economy cabin class, your ticket will already include a light snack and a free 10-kilogram luggage allowance. Unlike budget airlines, Philippine Airlines do not run frequent seat sales but they do run random promotions so it might be worth it to follow their SM accounts. As a general rule of thumb, book early to get the cheapest ticket.
Getting from Vigan to Laoag where the only airport in Ilocos Norte is located takes around 2 hours by bus. The bus fare should be around PHP200, give or take.
Buses from Vigan to Manila
The good thing about taking a bus from Vigan to Manila is that there are direct trips so it's quite convenient and hassle free. Also, if you want to save on accommodation and need to be in Manila in the morning, you can take the night bus. There are numerous trips daily served by a variety of buses – from regular air-con to deluxe ones.
Partas, for example, has a night trip scheduled for 8pm. The final destination for this bus is their terminal located in Cubao. Dominion also has several buses that ply the Vigan to Manila route terminating in Cubao. Their earliest trip is scheduled at 3am followed by other buses at 7.30am, 9am, and 10.15am. In the afternoon, they have just as many departures as in the morning: at 1.30pm, 3.30pm, 4.30pm, 6pm, and 9pm.
If you are aiming to get off at the bus terminal closest to the airport, Partas has first class express buses that depart for Pasay at 7.30pm, 8.30pm, 9pm, and 10.30pm as well as an express service scheduled to leave at 09.30pm. Express buses should generally bring you to your destination quicker as they do not stop to pick up passengers along the way. It should be noted though that the length of your journey largely depends on traffic condition. It is absolutely bad idea to plan catching your plane on the same day of your arrival by bus from Vigan. Based on our experience, if your bus is due to arrive to Manila after 3am, traffic along the way can be absolutely unpredictable.
Bus types, onboard service and road conditions between Vigan and Manila
There are air-conditioned buses and deluxe buses equipped with reclining or lazy boy seats and an onboard toilet. Buses with onboard toilets are not as frequent though but there's nothing to worry about as all buses make bathroom stops every two or three hours so you can stock up on munchies or use the toilet.
Please note that it is almost always freezing cold inside long distance buses so pack layers.