Very few Spanish colonial towns in Asia are as well-planned and best-preserved as Vigan City in the Philippines. Considered the finest example of an intact Spanish colony in Asia, Vigan City (established in the 16th century) is declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Its unique old-world charm, impressive Spanish-era architecture, and delectable Ilocano cuisine draw millions of tourists to this capital city of Ilocos Sur province from all corners of the country and the world.
Exploring the historic town of Vigan is like traveling back in time. We are sure your Vigan experience will turn into one of the most cherished memories of the Philippines tour. So, pack your bags and grab that best deal on the flight to the Philippines! Here is a quick guide to the famous tourist spots in Vigan City, which you could not afford to ignore.
A leisurely walk or a ride on kalesas (traditional horse-drawn carriages) through the iconic Calle
Crisologo’s cobblestone paths that are flanked by heritage houses is what defines a classic Vigan experience! Take time marveling at the details of these royal buildings (their red-tiled roofs, ornamental doors, capiz windows, etc.) so well maintained through the years. Naturally, you would be intrigued to get a closer look at the interiors, which is not impossible. Some of these heritage homes that have been transformed into hotels, restaurants, or souvenir shops warmly welcome tourists. The night view of this Vigan heritage village is breathtaking with the streets bathed in the golden glow of the vintage lamps that adorn the historic buildings.
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Bantay Church Bell Tower:
Bantay Church Bell Tower, which serves the Saint Augustine Parish Church, is one of the famous tourist spots in Vigan City for two main reasons. Sitting on a hill, this brick structure that functioned as a watchtower during colonial times has a great historical significance. Secondly, a climb up the winding staircase to the belfry offers sweeping views of the Bantay district!
Also known as Saint Paul Metropolitan Cathedral, the historic Vigan Cathedral is situated in the main (also the busiest) square of the city. This Roman Catholic cathedral boasting an impressive Earthquake Baroque style of architecture is a significant religious landmark of the Philippines. The fact that a simple 16th-century chapel made of wood and thatch underwent multiple re-constructions and renovations to become the present-day grand structure makes your inspection of its ornate details even more fascinating!
Right in front of the cathedral lies this popular tourist spot in Vigan, famed for its Dancing Fountain. People start thronging this already-busy square as night falls to witness the magnificent show, in which water pairs with the multi-colored laser lights and dances gracefully to infectious music being played in the background. This 30-minute show of the dancing water fountain is a visual spectacle nobody likes to miss out on!
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Being a historic town, Vigan abounds with museums that tell you numerous stories of its past. The old-world charm of this town is such that it arouses your interest to dig deep into its history, thus driving you to explore its museums.
Fly to Vigan and check out Padre Jose Burgos National Museum, which houses the memorabilia of martyred priest Jose Burgos besides other Ilocano artifacts. While the Crisologo Museum is dedicated to Congressman Floro S. Crisologo, the Syquia Mansion Museum commemorates President Elpidio Quirino. Museo San Pablo, which exhibits beautiful photographs of Vigan and a few old santos (religious statues), is yet another popular tourist spot in Vigan.