5 Amazing Reasons to Visit Historic Vigan, Ilocos
A favorite among both foreign and domestic tourists, in addition to being one of the "New 7 Wonder Cities of the World", Vigan, Ilocos Sur, situated in Northwestern Luzon, is thus a must-visit city in the Philippines that is well worth it.
Here are five amazing reasons why you should visit:
#1 - Fascinating history: Even before the Spanish colonizers arrived, Vigan has been full of Chinese traders that travelled with other Asian nationalities, sailing from the South China Sea towards Vigan’s shores – in search for gold, beeswax and other mountain products from the Cordlillera region. That time, the Chinese people would refer to this city as Bee Gan – which means “Beautiful Shores”. When the Spaniards came, they would interchange the letter "b" with "v", hence, the name, “Vigan” came about. Another anecdote about Vigan’s name that has been passed on from generation to generation, was that a Spaniard then was walking along the banks of Mestizo River, when he ran into a native and asked, “Como se llama de esta lugar?”. The native couldn’t understand a word he was saying, but then the Spaniard was pointing towards a plant that was abundant by the Mestizo River, so he said, “Bigaa Apo”, referring to the name of that big taro plant which is Bigaa. Voila! So, the name “Vigan” was derived.
#2 - Calle Crisologo: Literally walk down memory lane over at Calle Crisologo – located at Mena Crisologo Street, Vigan, Luzon – where you can go back to 16th century Spanish colonial times in the Philippines, as you gaze upon its cobblestone streets and a unique architecture that fuses Philippine and Oriental building designs and construction, with colonial European architecture, according to Wikipedia. You and your spouse, family or friends can also rent a horse carriage, the only mode of transportation allowed to tread upon this romantic road of ancient long ago. Travelers by day time can expect marvelous shopping moments there as they behold great products like antiques, abel woven products, basi wine, burnay products, chicharon, jewelry, sweets, Vigan vinegar, woodcrafts, etc. And by night time, couples, families or buddies can enjoy the dim night lights, while having dinner in an old house transformed into a restaurant, such as Café Leona, to while away the time, for superb bonding and happy chatting.
#3 - Dancing Fountain: Yes, the dancing fountain situated at Plaza Salcedo Lagoon, Vigan, Luzon, is a winner and has what it takes to entertain everybody! Established through the initiative of former Vigan Governor Chavit Singson, this amazingly cooling fountain display of laser lights and exciting music – is the epitome of the plaza’s lagoon that was built in the 1970s as a solution to the city’s need for water during times when fire occurs there. Moreover, historically speaking, its location, Plaza Salcedo was named after the Spanish conqueror, Juan de Salcedo who got control of the early native deal in Vigan and founded Villa Fernandina for the kings and queens of Spain in the year 1572. To top it all, while you are there, expect to encounter in a garden at Plaza Salcedo, dioramas of the world’s man made wonders that include a miniature of Vigan’s heritage site itself, London’s Big Ben and Paris’ Eiffel Tower. Whoa!
#4 - Hidden Garden: Touring Vigan, won’t be fun and complete without a stop at Hidden Garden of Vigan – located at Barangay Bulala, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. What’s in store? Is your happy tummy, what with their tasty Vigan Empanada, delicacies such as Suman, Bibingka and Ukoy; in addition to their warek-warek (Pork dish), Vigan pinakbet (veggie dish), and mouthwatering bagnet (deep fried pork), alongside many other Ilocano and Filipino valued meals! And what adds to the already impressive local dishes is the fact that the location is surrounded by lush landscape – thus foodies, oldies, yuppies, or what have you, will all feel cool, relaxed as well as full in this garden set up at the heart of Vigan City.
#5 - Syquia Mansion: Yet another top attraction worth our mention is none other than Syquia Mansion – the very residence of former Philippine president Elpidio Quirino, who was the country’s sixth. President Quirino was born in Vigan, and is best recalled as the major author of economic improvements accepted by the Philippines, which assisted the nation to recover from the destruction of World War II. This wonderful treasure is situated at Corner Quirino Boulevard and Salcedo Street, in Vigan – and it contains President Quirino’s many mementos that are owned by his spouse, Dona Alicia Quirino. Her forefather was Chinese who became rich via the productive trading in Vigan. Sy Kia’s high self-esteem in Asian traditions can be viewed by tourists there where they can see a photo of him with his braided long hair and conventional Chinese garment. His successors took on the hispanized last name which is Syquia after sometime. Be there if you can and feel the old days when historical meetings took place amidst such stylish furniture and ambience!