A little Spanish village tucked away in Ilocus Sur is proudly a historic city verified as a UNESCO heritage site as having the most intact Hispanic colonial influences in Asia.
How To Get There
Take a 1 hour domestic flight from the major city airport of Manila to Laoag International Airport. Once arrived, you will have to take a 2-hour bus ride to reach Vigan. There are also van services for hire in Laoag if you have a bigger budget.
What To Do
The 18th-century building of culture and history is Vigan’s St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral situated in the heart of town. The cathedral is intricately beautiful inside and out to mark the conversion of St. Paul. Take a stroll along Calle Crisologo, a quaint street with Spanish houses for souvenir shopping. Also, ride on the popular two-wheeled horse carriage called Calesa used during the colonial time or a motorized tricycle to sight see around town.
Travelers with children can go to Baluarte Zoo (with no entrance fee!) where animals roam freely with a butterfly garden and even a petting zoo. At sunset, travel to Mindoro Beach which is famous for its shiny black sand contrasted with clear waters stretching along the coast. Plaza Salcedo is worth the trip at nighttime to watch a light and sound fountain show.
Where To Eat
Vigan’s cuisine is a mixture of inspiration of native flavours as well as Hispanic recipes. Empanada is a popular street food in this part of Philippines. It is alike to taco, fried to a crisp and filled with meat and greens. You can find it at Plaza Burgos. Try ukoy, a form of shrimp fritters made with sticky rice and vegetables or longaganisa, Vigan’s famous local sausage similar to Mexican salami. This sausage even has its own annual festival in Vigan. Find more delectable dishes at Kusina Felicitas, an authentic Ilocano restaurant serving local food.
Where To Stay
Ciudad Fernandina Hotel is loved by many for its walking distance to most Vigan landmarks such as Crisologo Museum and cathedral. A few streets away from Calle Crisologo is where you can get your night rest in this similar looking Spanish mansion set on the ancient road. For a more exclusive stay, check out Vitalis Villas built on mountain cliffs with a breathtaking sea view. Dubbed as a mini Santorini, guests can anticipate sports activities in the Philippines water and surrounding nature.
Local Tips & Facts
1. Vigan was a trading coast back in the 16th century founded by Chinese settlers so the city architecture has Oriental and Spanish influences.
2. Although Ilocano is the local dialect in Vigan, most of the natives are also fluent in Tagalog and English.
3. Abel weaving is known as Vigan’s traditional craft so make sure to check out their handcrafted products for souvenirs.