The City of Vigan is a 5th class city in the province of Ilocos Sur, Philippines. It is the capital of the Province of Ilocos Sur. The city is located on the western coast of the large island of Luzon, facing the South China Sea. It is a World Heritage Site in that it is one of numerous Hispanic towns in the Philippines, and is well-known for its cobblestone streets, and a unique architecture that fuses Philippine building design, and construction with colonial European architecture.
According to the latest Philippines census, it has a population of 47,246 people in 9,193 households.
Points of Interest:
- Vigan Cathedral/St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral - the seat of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia. Burial place of the great Ilocano poet Leona Florentino. It also houses the replica of the Miraculous Santo Cristo Milagroso (the original being in Sinait, Ilocos Sur).
- Archbishop's Residence - Located next to the Vigan Cathedral, it is the only Archbishop's Residence still in use that was built during the Spanish Era.
- Father Jose Burgos' Residence - Located almost behind the Provincial Capitol. The birthplace of Father Jose Burgos, one of the three martyred Filipino priests at Bagumbayan (GOMBURZA).
- Plaza Burgos - dedicated to the memory of Father Jose Burgos. Located beside the Vigan Cathedral.
- Vigan Empanadaan - a reserved location where visitors can sample Vigan's famous empanada; as well as sinanglao (traditional hotpot made of beef innards). Located at the eastern part of Plaza Burgos.
- Baluarte - a mini-zoo located in Salindeg where visitors can see a variety of animals (including tigers and ostriches).
- Pagburnayan - a barrio in Vigan where tourists can see how the famous Vigan jars (burnay) are made.
- Hidden Garden - Located in Bulala (a barrio known for its making of bricks, pots, and other objects made of clay), it is a wonderland of greenery, with a mini-snack bar nestled somewhere in the middle.
- Quezon Avenue - the business center of Vigan
- Plaza Salcedo - dedicated to the memory of the great conquistador Juan de Salcedo. Located in front of the Vigan Cathedral.
- Mena Crisologo Street/Vigan Heritage Village - what Vigan City is known for--a street lined with Spanish Era houses and cobble-stoned streets, which led to Vigan's inscription in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Tourists can buy souvenirs or even ride a calesa (horse-drawn buggy).
- Syquia Mansion - the Vigan residence of Elpidio Quirino, 6th President of the Philippines.
- Crisologo Museum - the residence of the Crisologo family in Vigan converted into a museum.
- Quema House - the residence of the Quema family, considered by sociologist Fernando Zialcita as most representative of 18th-century Philippine architectural style.
Popular snack stands along Plaza Burgos serve up a variety of local treats, among others, like:
- sinanglao (soup made from beef innards)
- arroz caldo (rice soup with chicken)
- miki (flat noodles in a thick soup with meat bits and sometimes drizzled with eggs)
- empanada (turnover with a filling of eggs, Vigan longganisa/sausage and vegetables wrapped in a rice flour crust/shell)
- okoy (a pancake made with local shrimp).
Nobody should leave Vigan without tasting their empanada. It is a different concoction from the flour-based empanada that one usually knows.
Royal Bibingka is very popular at Tongson's Royal Bibingka, #8 Florentino St., Vigan City--just a street away from Plaza Burgos.
Also, one should have a try of the Vigan longganisa which is spicy unlike its Pampanga counterpart which is sweetish.
There is also a delicacy called tinubong, a sticky sweet rice cake that's sold in bamboo tubes, and you have to break the bamboo to eat the sticky sweet rice inside. They are usually sold in the Heritage Village in bundles of three to five.
Fried tasty corn (cornick) can also be bought in the various stalls. It comes plain or flavoured.
Native sugar is also made in surrounding towns and barangays of Vigan. However, they are in the form of tagapulot (molasses) and balikutsa (a very hard sugar concoction shaped into scrolls).
A good time to visit Vigan is during the town fiesta. Celebrated for one whole week -concluding on January 25 to commemorate the conversion of the apostle, St. Paul. The fiesta is marked by street parades, beauty contest and variety shows on the town plaza.
During the Holy Week, local and foreign tourist come to Vigan to see the religious processions of the antique and life sized statues mounted on elaborately designed carrozas that are paraded on the streets of Vigan.
To get to Vigan City from Manila, you can get a bus or take a plane to Laoag City and take a bus ride to Vigan. There are many places to stay. Many ancestral houses have been turned into quaint hotels and inns. There are also many bars and restaurants offering a variety of local and international dishes.