Dec 21, 2020
There’s a reason why UNESCO named the entire city of Vigan as a World Heritage Site—it’s filled to the brim with historic locations that perfectly capture how a Filipino city looked like during the Spanish colonial period. The three locations listed below will give you a head start on which sites you should have on your radar, but they’re only the tip of the iceberg of the many attractions you’ll find around Vigan.
Arguably at the top of every Vigan visitor’s list is to stroll down Calle Crisologo, one of the best preserved locations within the city. Its cobblestone street is bordered by rows of ancestral homes, each having their own centuries-old story to tell. Complete the experience by strolling down the street while riding on a kalesa, the local term for a horse-drawn carriage, just like the Spaniards did three centuries ago!
While the Bantay Bell Tower is technically not within Vigan—it’s located in the neighboring municipality of Bantay—it nevertheless captures a unique page of Vigan’s past. Before becoming the belfry of the nearby Bantay Church, the over 400-year-old structure used to be a watchtower that protected Bantay, as well as Vigan, from potential pirate invasions. Today, the tower offers a picture-perfect view of the city you wouldn’t want to miss!
If you’d rather immerse yourself in the story of a specific ancestral home, look no further than Syquia Mansion. Built in the 1800s by the Syquia family, the mansion also served as the residence of former Philippine president Elpidio Quirino, whose wife is a Syquia herself. The mansion-turned-museum now boasts an impressive collection of antique furniture, family heirlooms, and personal portraits, and its architecture gives visitors a glimpse of the high-society life in 19th century Vigan.