If your ideal vacation involves surrounding yourself with historical sites, then the city of Vigan, the capital of Ilocos Sur, is the perfect destination for you! Every step you take in the historic city takes you back several centuries, as Vigan is “the best preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia,” as described by UNESCO in explaining the city’s status as a World Heritage Site. Immerse yourself in Vigan’s unique blend of Spanish and Filipino culture, and fall in love with its historical, architectural, and cultural wonders.
You can’t help but fall in love with Vigan the moment you enter the city, as its wondrous feats of architecture line up all of its streets. Many of these bahay na bato or stone houses were built several centuries ago, standing tall as the remnants of the Spanish colonial era, when Vigan was primarily used as a site for trading by both Spaniards and Chinese merchants.
Nowhere is Vigan’s rich history better captured than in Calle Crisologo, one of the city’s main streets that has been designated for tourism. Ancestral homes line up both sides of the road, and its cobblestone street only adds to the ambiance. Don’t miss out on riding a kalesa or horse-drawn carriage to get the full experience!
Each building you’ll find in Vigan tells many centuries-old stories, and many of these structures are more than happy to share them. Syquia Mansion, home to the prominent Syquia family and former Philippine president Elpidio Quirino, has turned the ancestral home into a public museum, giving visitors a peek into high-society living in the Spanish era.
Vigan’s unique atmosphere also translates to its cuisine. Don’t leave the city without trying their world-famous longganisa, a type of pork sausage with flavors you’ll only find in Vigan. After a long day of traveling back in time, treat yourself to a serving of bagnet as well—the deep-fried pork belly makes for a delicious dinner!
With its various historical treasures, preserved sites, and cultural artifacts, the Vigan experience is unparalleled. You’ll always learn something new whenever you visit Vigan!
If you’re coming from Manila, the most common way to get to Vigan is via land travel, which will take around 8 hours. Tourists can shorten that travel time by taking the one-hour flight to Laoag Airport in Ilocos Norte and traveling for another 2 hours by land to get from Laoag to Vigan.