In my last post I mentioned how the two most unique destinations I have been to in the Philippines has been Baguio, and Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. In that article I rated the top Baguio Tourist Spots and Destinations, so now I will do the same for Vigan City. Vigan was established in the 16th century. The architecture is amazing. It is a Spanish Colonial town, but also influenced by the cultures of China and Europe. The result, is a very unique town that you won’t find anywhere else in the Philippines.
According to the UNESCO World Heritage website, Vigan ranks as the #1 spanish colonial town in Asia. Back when the town was established, Vigan was a coastal trading port with bordering countries in SE Asia. So, not only is Vigan’s architecture of Spanish Colonial influence, it also is a combination of Philippine and bordering Asian countries influence. It almost feels like you have taken a step into a time machine and sent back to the 16th century! So, what are the best tourist stops, destinations, attractions and things to do while your visiting Vigan? Here are some of my favorites :
Top Vigan Tourist Spots, Destinations and Things to Do (Ilocos Sur)
“Kalesa” – Horse Drawn Carriage Ride – Vigan is small enough to where you can explore most of the town on foot. However, I suggest riding in a horse drawn carriage. You can explore the small city for 150 pesos for an hour. It’s a great way to snap photos and admire the cobblestone streets, amazing cathedrals and historic architecture of the town.
Visit the Churches – The architecture of the Cathedrals are amazing.. During “Semana Santa” (Holy week) there are many festivities that will go on. Regardless of what time of year, the churches will be packed on Sunday.
Try Unique Filipino Delicacies Not Found Elsewhere
Filipino’s are proud of their unique foods. In Vigan, they have their own foods that can’t be found anywhere else in the Philippines. Vigan City has many restaurants that specialize in Filipino and Ilocano foods. What I had there that I recommend is the bibinka empanada. It can only be explained as being a stuffed coconut rice cake that was filled with chicken. You can also choose to have them stuffed with pork. When I go to a new place, I love to try foods that are authentic to the region. It helps you get a better feel for the culture and participate in the everyday culture of the region 🙂
Who doesn’t like a dancing fountain? Vigan has a nice one and it’s a free attraction. I like “Free” so it was a destination that was worth a visit. They have the dancing fountains light show every night at 7 or 7:30. It is located in the in the main square above the cathedral. You can ask any local for directions and they will all know where you are talking about.
Calle Crisologo Street (or Calle Mena Crisologo)
This is the area of Vigan that you will want to have your camera with you. Calle Crisologo Street was a prosperous area of Vigan that is infamous for it’s cobblestone streets and Spanish Colonial houses.
What I really enjoyed about Calle Crisologo St. is that the roads are closed to vehicles, although you can take a horse drawn carriage ride (“calesa”). It makes you feel as if yo were living during the era, when there wasn’t cars, jeepneys, tuk tuks or motorbikes!
A lot of houses on Calle Crisologo street has been converted into Inns that you can stay in. This will really give you a sense of what it was like to live in a Spanish Colonial House from the 16th century! The Vigan Hotels on Crisologo Street are a little more expensive, but if your fortunate enough to be able to afford it, it does enhance your vaction. Here you can view Vigan Hotels / Guest Rooms in all price ranges to fit your budget.
Directions on How to Get to Vigan City from Manila
If you are coming from Manila, the best directions (by bus) would to take a bus from manila to Vigan via Ilocos Highway. We recommend the following Bus lines that take daily trips to Vigan :
- Dominion Bus Lines
- Partas Bus Co.
- Viron Transit
Note : Philippine Airlines also flies to and from Laoag to Manila. Cebu Pacific also has one daily flight from Manila. Please check to see what the current departure times are.