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Eden Morales, Contributor, 1000TravelTips.com | September 9, 2015
“Magical Streets of Calle Crisologo, Vigan”
Composing of more than 7,000 islands, the Philippine archipelago comes with a lot of great destinations. At the drop of a hat, this is not just a country of scenic places, colorful festivities, beautiful people, and sumptuous food, but this has something to do with magic as you pinned these paper towns on your Philippine map.
Let’s have a closer look at the magical streets of Vigan, nestled in the Ilocos Region and situated along the west coast of Northern Luzon. It’s name came from an Ilokano word which means “Bigan,” and natives were proven as hospitable and hard-working – the tourists will tell you why. A wonder class city in the north, and a well-persevered culture would embrace you as you step across its historic streets.
Vigan is one of a kind with its perpetuated Spanish Architectures. From Calle Crisologo’s walkways paved with cobblestones to the “kalesa,” a horse drawn carriage, you can see the influence of early Spanish colonization. The impressive baroque structures of cathedrals will make you feel the Europe culture vibe. The narrow streets cater to souvenir shops, old-fashioned cafes, restaurants and inns.
Bestowed by the UNESCO World Heritage in December of 1999, and recently included in the New7Wonder Cities of the World in December of 2014, Vigan has earned its spot as a truly must-visit and must-include destination in your travel bucket list.
Travel to Vigan Philippines
You can enjoy Vigan all-year round. Ultimately, the best time to visit this city is between November to April, collectively known as the dry season. Along with the coming Christmas Season, beautiful lights adorn and welcome you to the romantic streets of Vigan.
If you’re into festivities and colorful costumes, you can catch the Vigan City Fiesta, held every 25th of January. Other festivals include the Viva Vigan Festival of Arts which is held during the first week of May. Holy Week in Vigan is also one of the peak seasons for tourists. The highlights are during Good Friday where pageantry and piety of shows are at its best. Processions of life-sized religious sculptures on carriages are also held during this season.
Vigan is very diverse and it can cater to every single distinct type of tourist. If you’re a couple traveling, a carriage ride would be perfect. I would suggest you do it in the evening to add a pinch of romantic feel. You can top off the evening by watching the dancing fountains in Plaza Burgos, a synchronized presentation of illuminated water fountains, played daily every 7-8pm. If you’re a certified foodie, you can also try Vigan’s scrumptious delicacies, like their famous empanada.
For those who love to shop there is also a lot of souvenir kiosks meticulously lined up in the streets. For history buffs, the Crisologo and Father Burgos museums are perfect for any itinerary. If you want to know how the rich and famous once lived, you can pay a visit to the Syquia Mansion, where the former president, Elpidio Quirino, resided. If you’re the laid back type of traveler, you can just take your time walking along the Heritage Village and just enjoy the sights of the town. If you’re into arts and crafts, you can drop by Pagburanayan, the most iconic pottery in Vigan, where you can see and learn the way of sculpting molds.
If you want to go to nearby tourist spots, St. Paul’s Cathedral is just a short walk from the heritage village. St. Augustine’s rich, red painted facade will also capture your eyes and your heart. Not far is its belfry, known as Bantay Bell Tower. If you’re an adrenaline seeker, try climbing up the stairs to get a bird’s eye view of the horizon. The vast landscape and postcard perfect view of Vigan is a potential highlight or your trip. Another Vigan attraction that tourists can go to is Baluarte, a privately owned land with a miniature zoo that showcases endemic species to the Philippines and other animals from foreign countries.
Packing for Vigan
Just a few reminders, since the Philippines is a tropical country, I would suggest that you pack light and comfortable clothes, preferably made of cotton or linen. Bring a dependable camera to capture every single memory during your tour. Also, bring a handy notebook where you can write your initial impressions and experiences. Include an umbrella to protect you from the daytime heat and a bottled water to quench your thirst. Well-soled sandals or slippers are also recommended while dealing with cobblestone streets, which initially can wear out footwear easily.
Vigan is one of the Philippines’ precious gems. Come and visit a place where culture and arts became a catalyst to make you fall in love with crafts. you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg while you’re here as Vigan is a budget friendly destination. The Philippines is known for its beaches and breathtaking landscapes, but Vigan is on a different level. It is definitely in a league of its own. So when you go to cross the Philippines off your travel bucket list, make sure to include Vigan.
Unravel the beauty underneath the fancy architectures and experience the magic that is, Vigan.