Vigan City is the capital of the province Ilocos Sur. Established in the 16th century, it is the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia. In 1999, Vigan City was listed by UNESCO, and in December 7, 2014 it was crowned as one of the New7Wonders Cities (during the time we came here, the voting was still ongoing).
Also known as Mena Crisologo Street named after the late Gov. Mena Pecson Crisologo who was among the most-respected Ilokanos as a writer and politician. Considered the major attraction of the city as it is filled with preserved Spanish-style houses. Walking or riding in calesa through the street is a must, as you will feel like being transported back to Spanish colonial time.
A trip in the day is good to clearly see the structures of the houses and buy some souvenirs. But never ever forget to see the magnificent beauty of the street at night. For couples, take advantage of the very romantic atmosphere by having dinner in some of the old houses converted to restaurants like Café Leona.
Pagburnayan Jar Making
In this factory, they will show you how to make burnay using pre-historic methods of production and even let you make your own. Burnay is Ilocano jar used for storing vinegar, wine (called basi) and fish sauce (bagoong); and also as decorative ware.
You can come back after a week to buy the jar you made. The tour guide said they are cooking and finishing the jars that were made by the tourists then display it if the tourist doesn’t come back.
Baluarte ni Chavit
Baluarte ni Chavit is owned by the infamous politician Chavit Singson. The place lies in hectares of land and is more than just a zoo; it is also an interactive wildlife sanctuary and facility.
Here you can see different animals. In cages they have tigers, camels, iguanas, pythons. In the fences are peacocks, deer, and horses. The place also have butterfly garden. It’s amazing how big the park is and yet the area is open to the public.
We also rode a miniature horses for free and we just gave P20 tip to the kutsero (kalesa driver). In our surprise, we saw some deers walking in the streets outside the fences and our tour guide said it is normal in Baluarte.
We took two (2) hours inside Baluarte because we waited for the Animal show which started at 4:00 PM. It was worth the waiting as we were able to see different breeds of birds and snakes. It was very entertaining and educational. After the show, you can take pictures with the animals with a minimal fee; we paid P200 for a picture with the tiger.
Souvenir shops are also lined-up at the entrance of Baluearte. Here we bought our shirts with printed image of Calle Crisologo at P160 each.
Other Places to Visit
Unfortunately Syquia Mansion was close when we came due to lunch break so keep that in mind.
Open Daily: 9AM-12NN and 1:30PM-5PM
Tuesdays: By Appointment
In Hidden Garden you will see different kinds of flowers, plants and burnay. Inside the Hidden Garden, along the path walk, you will notice signage with images of different Ilocano foods. A restaurant can be found at the end of walking trail, where you can take rest for a while and order some of the Ilocano cuisines. One unique food I noticed is Sinigang na Bagnet, but we we’re in a hurry so we skip eating. Sad to say, we never found Sinigang na Bagnet in other restaurants even in Laoag and Pagudpud :(.
Bantay Church and Bell Tower
Check out the huge bells and take a view of the whole city at the top of the tower.
Plaza Burgos, Plaza Maestro, Vigan Cathedral, Plaza Salcedo
All these places are just walk-away from each other. You can walk going in these places from Calle Crisologo or Provincial Capitol.
Tip: It’s better to put these places at the least priority of your itinerary and visit it before dawn. You can pass here before going to Calle Crisologo at night.
This post is based on my personal travel experiences and research for this trip. Please feel free to share your experiences, as well as, suggestions or your questions on comments below.
I hope this helps you on your next travel. Enjoy!
“Historic City of Vigan” (1999). Retrieved from: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/502/
“Calle Crisologo – Mena Crisologo Street”. Retrieved from: http://www.vigan.ph/attractions/calle-crisologo-mena-crisologo-street.html