Sunday, March 30, 2014

Vigan Tour, Ilocos Adventure

‘Nostalgic’ – one word that comes to my mind when you say Vigan, Ilocos. I’ve been wanting to visit the place as I am really a fan of old houses and ancient structures, also I've been hearing how beautiful it is.

Vigan, the capital city of Ilocos Sur is the world heritage site that it is one of the few Hispanic towns left in the Philippines and it is known for its cobblestone streets and unique architecture, which is a Spanish colonial architecture. The term Vigan referred the area as ‘Bee Gan’ by the Chinese settlers which means the ‘Beautiful shore’. Then Spanish conquistadors interchanged V and B, which is the name, used to this day as Vigan.

As we started our tour, we chose to ride a ‘calesa’ (horse-drawn carriages) which is I think the best way to see the sights around. And it costs Php150 per hour.

Our first stop:
Father Jose Burgos House

Father Jose Burgos house or which is now a National museum is the ancestral house of martyr priest Fr. Jose Burgos. It is a two storey structure which contains the memorabilia of Father Burgos and also some antique collections and dioramas of local historical events.
I enjoyed the place and really surprised on how they were able to preserve a 19th century interior and some of the artifacts inside.

                                           Dioarama of the execution of the 3 Martyr-Priests

                                                                     Dining Area
Second stop:
Burnay Factory

Burnay is a pottery or jars that are made of clay/ the earth or soil found in Vigan and this art of pottery was introduced by the Chinese settlers during early times. The making of Burnay is done with the use of pottery wheel and kiln (or oven) plus a potter’s skilful hands.

And we were lucky to see the actual making of a burnay...

And I was able to try it also and didn't care if I get dirty...

It looked like it was easy doing this job, but I believe you really need skillful hands to make one.

Third Stop:
Crisologo Museum

The Crisologo Museum or Vigan House National Historic Institute branch is a Philippine Museum that consists of the preserved ancestral home of statesman Floro S. Crisologo and houses the family’s memorabilia, private collection of religious figures, and some exhibits.

Flor Crisologo was a brilliant trial lawyer, also a congressman in his district in Ilocos Sur. He was also behind the establishment of bills like Social Security System, The Virginia Tobacco Law, and creating the University of Northern Philippines.

The museum contains full of antiques, memorabilia, old book collections, certificates, paintings, old things, vehicles, and other prized possessions of Crisologo.

And here’s one area that captured my attention, the collection of pictures of the family tree of Crisologo. And from the photos, I’ve identified most of them as they are also in the politics now, just like Vincent ‘Bingbong’ Crisologo which was the congressman of the 1st district in Quezon City.  How great that the Crisologo family still manages the house and it is well-maintained.

And on the second floor of the house, there is a central exhibit that shows the bloodied clothing of the late congressman and other items that relates on his murder.

"On October 18, 1970, Crisologo was standing in a communion line in the Vigan Cathedral when an unidentified gunman shot him in the head. The murder remains unsolved to this day, but it is generally believed to have been politically motivated."

Fourth Stop:

Baluarte is a mini zoo which is owned by well-known Chavit Singson. It was once a rest house of the famous celebrities like Fernando Poe Jr. before it was developed to a zoo as Mr. Singson loves nature and has passions for animals.

The place covers 80 hectares of terrains, hills, and mountain sides. I believe they are still on the state of improving the facilities for both animals and visitors.

And the zoo is open for public and entrance is free. You can check out live tigers, peacocks, ostriches, swans, reptiles, birds, deers, horses, and many more.

Last Stop:
Calle Crisologo

Calle Crisologo is the main attraction in Vigan because it is filled with Spanish-style houses. It is a four blocks of cobblestone streets lined with heritage houses which was the area of rich families during the Spanish time. The street is named after, Mena Pecson Crisologo which is among the most respected sons of the Ilocos Region.

I had fun on this place because I really admire this kind of architecture, bringing you back to Spanish time. Also during the day, you will have an opportunity to shop for Vigan’s best products. But the best time to visit the place is at night time. They say that a walk through is magical at night. It adds more to the 18th century ambience of the lamp-lit street. I’ll definitely stay a night at Calle Crisologo when I come back.

Walking through the beautiful place of Vigan brings me back in history. This is one part of the Ilocos trip you shouldn’t miss as it is one of the few towns left in the Philippines that preserves the look since the 16th century.

"An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: A meaningful day."

-Dalai Lama


  1. beautiful narration of your trip to Vigan. 'Helpful for my plan trip to Vigan this month.

    1. Thanks for the beautiful comments Ian :) Have fun on your trip! :)


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