Awesome aerial shot of Vigan City, Ilocos Sur from www.skyscrapercity.com
With its olden architecture, Vigan shows a classic example of successful preservation of historical culture and heritage. In fact, it is considered as “an exceptionally intact and well-preserved example of a European trading town in East and Southeast Asia” by UNESCO.
If you haven’t been to Vigan yet, make it a part of your travel bucket list and cross the bridge of time and space with Vigan. Like listening to the music of “Somewhere In Time” by John Barry, the history of Vigan will surely captivate your heart.
igan is the capital and a fourth-class city in the province of Ilocos Sur, Philippines. Located on the western coast of the large island of Luzon, facing the South China Sea, Vigan is a World Heritage Site, being one of the few Hispanic towns left in the country. Well known for its cobblestone streets, the Hispanic structures of the city remain intact up to the present. The unique architecture in the city fuses Philippine and Oriental building designs and construction, with colonial European style.
igan can be accessed by land or air. It is an eight to nine-hour ride from Manila, and you can take your private vehicle or simply ride in a public transportation. There are bus companies that provide daily trips from Manila to Vigan, while others drive passengers from Manila to Laoag, passing by Vigan. The trip is via North Luzon Expressway, passing through the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Pangasinan, and La Union.
By air, Philipine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air fly to the Ilocos Region. The nearest airport with regular commercial flights is in Laoag in Ilocos Norte. Meaning, travelers going to Vigan shall require two more hours of travel from Laoag via bus or jeepney.
igan is a perfect destination for a quick weekend getaway. Its small size will allow you to discover the entire city in two or three days, provided that you maximize your time and don’t rest in between itinerary items. Here are some wonderful things to do in Vigan.
- Explore Calle Crisologo, the cobble-stoned street in Vigan with Spanish period ancestral houses left and right. Dawn is the best time to walk along the street as you can experience the quiet Calle Crisologo without the hustles of tourists and shopkeepers; only sidewalks that are stripped bare of colorful wares.
- One of the best things about traveling is getting to taste authentic food and recipes. At Vigan, the must-try is the Vigan longganisa that is best eaten during breakfast. Many local restaurants and eateries are available in the city which serves delicious and authentic Vigan meals.
- Visit the Syquia mansion on Calle Quirino, Vigan, an ancestral home of the family of former President Elpidio Quirino’s wife’s. The mansion is a must-see not just for its historical significance but for its beauty. It features high-ceilinged rooms with hardwood floors and are decorated with whimsical wood carvings of pageboys, country lasses, antique wooden furniture and oriental porcelain.
- Experience a heritage river cruise in Mestizo River in Vigan. The winding Mestizo River traces this history back to pre-colonial times when Vigan natives traded with the Chinese who moored their boats on the riverbanks. Cruise passengers literally travel through history by travelling through the river. The boat takes them to various points where life-sized dioramas stand, depicting important events in Vigan’s history. A recorded voice then narrates the story.
- Visit and explore Father Burgos’ ancestral house. Padre Jose Burgos of the Gomburza priests once lived in a stone house in Vigan which until now remains intact.
Photo of Calle Crisologo from www.wikipedia.org
Photo of Vigan Longganisa from gitaasuncion.blogspot.com
Photo of Syquia Mansion from whitedogleader.blogspot.com
River Cruise photo by Kristine Marie Castalone from travel.nationalgeographic.com
Photo of Burgos House from lnbvigan.com
So What’s The Real Story?
t brings us back to the question, how Vigan survived the second world war? Two love story came about. One was concerning Belen Castillo and Major Sakae Narloka. The other one was between Adela Tolentino and Captain Fujiro Takahashi. It was known that these Japanese officers resisted their commanding officer’s orders to burn down Vigan in order for their loved ones be spared from the misfortune that others have suffered by getting associated with the Japanese. You can read more from Inquirer.
is more than just a tourist spot. With all that historical and cultural experience for both tourists and local residents, more importantly, Vigan reminds us that somewhere in time, a beautiful story of love, courage and sacrifice happened here.