Vigan: Wandering Around the Heritage Village
If you ever wanted to glimpse at the past of the Philippines, this place would be at the top of your list. Because no matter what time of the day you decide to visit the different tourist spots here in Vigan, you will never be disappointed.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the few Hispanic towns left in the Philippines whose structures have remained intact. And it is well known for its cobblestone streets and a unique architecture that fuses Philippine and Oriental building designs and construction, with colonial European architecture.
In May 2015, Vigan City was officially recognized as one of the New 7 Wonders Cities together with Beirut, Doha, Durban, Havana, Kuala Lumpur and La Paz. New7Wonders Foundation president and founding member Bernard Weber led a ceremony held at St. Paul Cathedral where he handed a bronze plaque to Vigan Mayor Eva Grace Singson-Medina, signifying the heritage city’s election as one of the world’s wonder cities.
Plaza Salcedo is named after the founder of Vigan City, Juan de Salcedo. He named it Villa Fernandina de Vigan before it became Ciudad Fernandina, and finally, Vigan City.
One of the main attractions here in Vigan is the Dancing Fountain of Plaza Salcedo. Nearly hundreds of tourist and locals alike flock this place just to witness this marvelous show.
Vigan’s dancing fountain show starts at seven in the evening and lasts for about thirty minutes. If you missed it, worry not, it has a repeat performance after an hour. And again, if you manage to also miss that, you still have tomorrow’s show to watch—it runs each and every night.
But please, be sure not to miss it; it’s one of the things that would definitely stick with you after visiting the city; it literally puts Vigan City in a whole new light.
We’ve taken pictures and videos here for many years, but this time, we had taken Buknoy (our Drone) with us. Aerial photos and videos of the place will definitely give you a whole new perspective on the place.
Plaza Burgos is the smaller of the two major plazas in the UNESCO World Heritage City of Vigan. While Plaza Salcedo was constructed to honor a foreign conqueror, Juan de Salcedo, Plaza Burgos was built to remember the martyrdom of Father Jose P. Burgos, one of Vigan’s illustrious sons put to death by the Spaniards. Just right beside Saint Paul Cathedral’s Bell Tower, a plaza is a place for many locals to rest and relax while watching people walking, kids playing, and skateboarders doing their tricks at the plaza square. There are also tables around the plaza designed with chess board so you can play chess with strangers.
Food kiosks are spread throughout the plaza. For those food lovers out there, the plaza is a good destination for you. The plaza is best known for its empanadahan, a place for eating a local meat and vegetable-filled pastry, and other street food. Visitors should not miss the Vigan empanada which is said to be one of the best local foods. Also, don’t let your Vigan tour ends without tasting the Vigan okoy (shrimp patty). It is like an empanada dipped in Vigan vinegar, plus a taste of barbequed marinated meat in wooden skewers with sweet-sauce glaze. At the corner of the plaza is Tongzon’s, where visitors can have a taste of Vigan’s royal bibingka, a rice-based sweet. We’ve been eating empanada in this plaza for years now, yet we still crave for more.
CALLE CRISOLOGO (Cobblestone street)
Mena Crisologo is a Filipino politician, poet, and writer. One of his works, Mining wenno Ayat ti Kararawa, is often considered the Noli Me Tangere of the region.
Since he is well-loved and well-respected in Ilocos, he was named after the street that made Vigan City famous all over the world: Calle Crisologo.
Calle Crisologo will instantly transport you back in time with their picturesque houses and horse carriages. The houses are simple, naturally old-looking, but has survived many natural and man-made calamities.
Be sure to take your cameras with you so that you can preserve your memories here the way they preserved this place.
DASH OF HISTORY
Vigan was an important coastal trading post in pre-colonial times. Long before the Spanish galleons came, Chinese junks sailed from the South China Sea to Isla de Bigan through the Mestizo River. Sea-faring merchants came to barter exotic goods from Asian kingdoms in exchange for gold, beeswax, and other mountain products from the Cordilleras. Immigrants, mostly Chinese, settled in Vigan, intermarried with the natives and started the multi-cultural bloodline of the Bigueños.
In 1572, King Philip II sent Captain Juan de Salcedo with about 80 soldiers to explore the coast of Los Ilocano that sailed from Manila on May 20, 1572 and arrived in Vigan on June 12, 1572.
Thus, after the successful expedition and exploration of the North, Don Juan de Salcedo founded “Villa Fernandina de Vigan” in honor of King Philip II’s son, Prince Ferdinand who died at the tender age of four.
As a reward for his services to the King, Salcedo was awarded the old province of Ylocos which then composed of the Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Abra, La Union and some parts of the Mountain Province as his Encomienda and was accorded the title as Justicia Mayor de esta Provincia de Ylocos.
In January 1574, Salcedo returned to the capital of his Encomienda, Vigan, bringing with him some Augustinian Missionaries to pioneer the evangelization of Ylocos and established a Spanish city, for the purpose of controlling the neighboring countries.
It was believed that when Juan de Salcedo asked a native what the name of the place is, (as Salcedo spoke in Spanish), the native could not understand a word he was saying. Salcedo, however, was pointing on the ground and the native thought that he was actually asking for the name of the vegetation planted on the ground. He thereupon said “bigaa apo, bigaa apo”, referring to a tuber plant from the “gabi” or taro family. From then on the Spaniards named the place Bigan.
Bus companies such as Dominion Bus Lines, Viron Transit, Partas, and Aniceto/St. Joseph operates terminals in Vigan. Bus companies such as Philippine Rabbit Bus Line, Florida, Maria de Leon, and Fariñas pass by Vigan on their way to Laoag. GMW Florida Transport operates a terminal at the entrance to Vigan. They operate direct and/or indirect bus services from Vigan City to points in Luzon, mostly to Manila, Baguio, and Laoag and vice versa.
Bus lines going directly and passing by Vigan City from Metro Manila are found in Cubao, Pasay City and Manila. Aircon trips are available everyday and travel time is at about eight to ten hours.