Vigan, Philippines

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Vigan, Philippines

Region: Ilocos Sur

Geographic Coordinates: 17.574700, 120.387000
Climate: Climate and weather patterns in Vigan, Philippines?
Population: 53935
Language: Filipino

Vigan, Located in the northern part of the Philippines, Is a charming and historic city that offers visitors a glimpse into the country’s colonial past. Known for its well-preserved Spanish-era architecture, Vigan was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. This accolade is well-deserved as the city showcases an exquisite fusion of Asian design and European influences. Walking through Vigan’s cobbled streets feels like stepping back in time. The city’s most famous attraction is Calle Crisologo, A street lined with ancestral homes dating back to the 18th century.

These houses are characterized by their massive wooden doors, Red-tiled roofs, And capiz shell windows that allow soft rays of sunlight to filter through. Taking a leisurely stroll along this picturesque street provides an opportunity to admire the intricate details of each building while immersing oneself in its unique ambiance. Another must-visit landmark is the iconic St. Paul Cathedral or Vigan Cathedral. This stunning Baroque-style church stands proudly at Plaza Salcedo and serves as a testament to Vigan’s deep Catholic roots. Inside, Visitors can marvel at its impressive altar adorned with gold leaf accents and religious statues.

To learn more about Vigan’s rich history, Tourists can explore several museums scattered throughout the city center. The National Museum Ilocos Sur Complex houses artifacts that offer insights into local culture and heritage from pre-colonial times up until today. The Syquia Mansion Museum provides an intimate look into the life of former Philippine President Elpidio Quirino by showcasing personal memorabilia within his ancestral home. Food enthusiasts will delight in trying out Vigan’s famed delicacies such as longganisa (local sausage), Bagnet (crispy pork belly), Empanada (savory pastry filled with meat or vegetables), And sinanglao (beef soup).

These dishes reflect both Spanish culinary influences combined with local flavors, Making them a gastronomic delight. Vigan hosts the annual Festival of the Arts or Viva Vigan Binatbatan, Which celebrates the city’s unique cultural heritage. During this lively event, Locals showcase traditional dances like the kalesa (horse-drawn carriage) parade and engage in various art forms such as pottery-making and weaving demonstrations. Vigan is a captivating destination that offers visitors an immersive experience into Philippine history and culture. Its well-preserved architecture, Rich culinary traditions, And vibrant festivals make it a must-visit place for those seeking to explore the country’s colonial past.

Whether strolling along Calle Crisologo or indulging in local delicacies, Vigan promises to leave an indelible mark on any traveler fortunate enough to visit this enchanting city.

Important Landmarks

  1. Calle Crisologo: This iconic street is lined with well-preserved Spanish colonial houses, giving visitors a glimpse into Vigan’s rich history.
  2. Plaza Salcedo: Located in the heart of the city, this public square features a statue dedicated to Juan de Salcedo, the Spanish conquistador who founded Vigan.
  3. St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral: Also known as Vigan Cathedral, this beautiful church dates back to the 18th century and showcases a mix of Baroque and Neoclassical architectural styles.
  4. Baluarte: A zoological park owned by former Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson, Baluarte offers various animal encounters including tigers, birds, reptiles, and more.
  5. Syquia Mansion Museum: The ancestral house of former Philippine President Elpidio Quirino has been converted into a museum showcasing his memorabilia and personal belongings.
  6. Bantay Church Bell Tower: This picturesque bell tower stands on top of a hill overlooking Vigan City and offers panoramic views of its surroundings.
  7. Hidden Garden: A lush garden filled with various plants and flowers where visitors can relax or dine in its restaurant serving traditional Filipino cuisine.
  8. Crisologo Museum: Formerly owned by Congressman Floro Crisologo, this museum exhibits his personal collection including antique furniture, paintings, religious artifacts, and more.
  9. Pagburnayan Pottery Making Facility: Visitors can witness traditional pottery-making techniques at this workshop where clay pots are handcrafted using age-old methods passed down through generations.
  10. Burgos Museum (National Museum Ilocos Complex): Housed in an old provincial jail building named after nationalist martyr Fray Jose Burgos y Garcia; it showcases archaeological finds from different parts of Ilocos region.

Primary Industries

  1. Tourism: Vigan is a popular tourist destination known for its well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture. It attracts both local and international tourists, contributing significantly to the city’s economy.
  2. Handicrafts: Vigan is famous for its traditional crafts such as pottery, weaving, woodcarving, and metalworking. Many local artisans produce handicrafts that are sold locally and exported to other parts of the country.
  3. Food Industry: The city is known for its unique culinary offerings like the famous Vigan longganisa (local sausage), empanada (a type of pastry), bagnet (deep-fried pork belly), and other traditional Filipino dishes.
  4. Agriculture: Vigan has a thriving agricultural sector with rice being the primary crop grown in the region. Other agricultural products include corn, tobacco, vegetables, fruits, livestock farming (poultry and swine), and fishing.
  5. Education: Vigan is home to several educational institutions ranging from elementary schools to universities. These institutions contribute to the local economy by providing employment opportunities and attracting students from nearby provinces.
  6. Retail Trade: The city has numerous retail establishments such as malls, supermarkets, specialty stores selling souvenirs or local products like woven items or food products.
  7. Banking and Finance: Several banks have branches in Vigan offering various financial services including loans, savings accounts remittances services among others.
  8. Transportation Services: Given its status as a tourist destination with historical sites spread across different areas of the city; there are various transportation services available such as tricycles motorcycles with sidecars which serve as public transport within short distances or jeepneys modified jeeps that cater for longer distances within or outside of the city limits.

It’s important to note that while these industries contribute significantly to Vigan’s economy; it is not an exhaustive list; there may be other smaller industries or businesses present in the city.

Noteable History

  1. Spanish Colonial Era: Vigan is known for its well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture, which dates back to the 16th century when it was established as a trading post by the Spanish conquistador Juan de Salcedo.
  2. Crisologo Family: The Crisologo family is one of the most prominent political families in Vigan. Floro S. Crisologo, a former congressman, played a significant role in local politics during the mid-20th century.
  3. Calle Crisologo: This iconic street in Vigan’s historic center showcases preserved ancestral houses from the Spanish colonial era and cobblestone streets that give visitors a glimpse into Vigan’s past.
  4. Philippine Revolution: During the late 19th century, Vigan became an important site for revolutionary activities against Spanish colonization led by Filipino nationalist groups like Katipunan.
  5. Syquia Mansion: The Syquia Mansion is home to President Elpidio Quirino’s wife, Alicia Syquia Quirino, who was born and raised in Vigan. It serves as a museum showcasing memorabilia from Quirino’s presidency.
  6. Padre Burgos House: The ancestral house of Father Jose Burgos stands as a reminder of his significant role during the Philippine Revolution against Spain and his advocacy for Filipino priests’ rights.
  7. St Paul Metropolitan Cathedral: This cathedral was first built in 1641 but underwent several reconstructions due to natural disasters over time; it remains an important religious landmark in Vigan today.
  8. Plaza Salcedo (Plaza Burgos): Named after Juan de Salcedo (the city’s founder) and Father Jose Burgos (a national hero), this plaza is a popular gathering place and hosts various cultural events.
  9. Vigan Conservation Complex: This complex houses the National Museum Ilocos Complex, where visitors can explore exhibits showcasing the region’s history, art, and culture.
  10. World Heritage Site: In 1999, Vigan was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its exceptional preservation of Spanish colonial architecture and its fusion with Asian design and construction techniques.

These notable historical events and people associated with Vigan contribute to its cultural significance and attract tourists from around the world.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Calle Crisologo: This historic street in Vigan is lined with well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture, making it a must-visit attraction.
  2. Bantay Church and Bell Tower: A beautiful church that offers panoramic views of Vigan from its bell tower.
  3. Crisologo Museum: Located along Calle Crisologo, this museum showcases the history and culture of Vigan through various artifacts and exhibits.
  4. Syquia Mansion Museum: Formerly the residence of President Elpidio Quirino, this museum provides a glimpse into the lifestyle and history of the Quirino family.
  5. National Museum Ilocos Complex: Comprising three museums – Juan Luna Shrine, Burgos Museum, and Padre Burgos House – this complex displays artworks, historical artifacts, and memorabilia related to prominent figures in Philippine history.
  6. Plaza Salcedo: A central park in Vigan named after Spanish conquistador Juan de Salcedo; it features a statue dedicated to him as well as a dancing fountain show at night.
  7. Baluarte Zoo: Owned by politician Chavit Singson, Baluarte Zoo houses various animals including tigers, birds, reptiles, and more. Visitors can also enjoy animal shows and activities like horseback riding.
  8. Pagburnayan Pottery Making: Witness traditional pottery-making techniques at Pagburnayan where skilled artisans create clay pots using manual methods passed down through generations.
  9. St Paul’s Metropolitan Cathedral: The seat of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia since 1758; its stunning architecture is worth exploring for both religious significance and historical value.
  10. Crisologo Heritage House / Syquia Mansion Heritage House / Villa Angela Heritage House : These ancestral homes-turned-museums provide insights into the lifestyle of affluent families during the Spanish colonial era in Vigan.

These are just a few examples of the many attractions Vigan has to offer. Exploring the city’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed heritage district alone is an enriching experience that allows visitors to immerse themselves in its unique cultural and historical ambiance.

Sports Teams

  1. Vigan City Football Club: The Vigan City FC is a football team based in Vigan. They compete in various local leagues and tournaments, including the Ilocos Sur Football Association (ISFA) League.
  2. Semana Santa Sports Events: During the Holy Week celebrations in Vigan, several sports events take place as part of the festivities. These include basketball tournaments, fun runs, and traditional Filipino games like sack race and tug-of-war.
  3. Rodeo Masbateño sa Vigan: Although not originally from Vigan, Rodeo Masbateño is an annual event held in the city that features bull riding competitions and other rodeo-related activities.
  4. Batang Pinoy National Championships: In 2018, Vigan hosted the Batang Pinoy National Championships—an annual multi-sport event for young athletes from different provinces across the Philippines.

It’s important to note that while these teams or events may have historical significance within their respective contexts, they might not have extensive or well-documented histories compared to professional or national-level sports teams/events found elsewhere in the country or internationally.

Cultural Events

  1. Viva Vigan Festival of the Arts – Held every first week of May, this festival showcases various art forms such as music, dance, theater, visual arts, and literature. It aims to promote and preserve the local culture and traditions.
  2. Longganisa Festival – Celebrated every January 22nd, this festival pays tribute to Vigan’s famous longganisa (local sausage). It features street dancing competitions, cooking contests, food fairs, and other activities centered around longganisa.
  3. Binatbatan Festival of the Arts – This festival is held annually during the last week of April or first week of May. It highlights traditional crafts such as weaving (abel), pottery making (burnay), loom weaving (inabel), among others. There are also parades showcasing traditional dances in colorful costumes.
  4. Raniag Twilight Festival – Taking place during Halloween season from October 24th to November 2nd each year, this festival features light installations that transform Calle Crisologo into a magical wonderland at night. There are also street performances and a grand parade.
  5. Semana Santa (Holy Week) – During Holy Week leading up to Easter Sunday, various religious processions take place in Vigan’s churches including Our Lady of Charity Church and St Paul Metropolitan Cathedral.
  6. Karbo Festival – Celebrated on February 10th each year in Bantay town near Vigan City proper; it highlights the importance of carabaos (water buffaloes) in agriculture through a grand parade with decorated carabaos pulling floats.
  7. Pagburnayan Jar Making Festival – Showcasing one of Vigan’s traditional crafts called burnay or pottery making; it allows visitors to witness how clay pots are skillfully formed and shaped by local artisans.

These events and festivals offer a glimpse into Vigan’s cultural heritage, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the local traditions, arts, and cuisine.


Vigan Cuisine

Local Cuisine in Vigan


  1. Empanada – Vigan is famous for its crispy empanadas filled with a mixture of ground meat, egg, and vegetables.
  2. Bagnet – A deep-fried pork dish that is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
  3. Vigan Longganisa – A garlicky Filipino sausage made from ground pork that has a distinct flavor.
  4. Sinanglaw – A traditional Ilocano soup made from beef innards cooked in a sour broth.
  5. Poqui-poqui – A dish made from grilled eggplants, tomatoes, onions, and eggs mixed together.

Popular Restaurants in Vigan:

  1. Café Leona – Located along Calle Crisologo, this restaurant offers traditional Filipino dishes including Vigan specialties like empanada and bagnet.
  2. Kusina Felicitas – Known for serving authentic Ilocano cuisine, this restaurant offers a wide range of traditional dishes such as sinanglaw and poqui-poqui.
  3. Lampong’s Restaurant – Famous for their delicious longganisa (sausage) varieties including the unique garlic longganisa which is a specialty of Vigan.
  4. Uno Grille – This restaurant offers an extensive menu featuring local favorites like bagnet along with other Filipino dishes in a cozy ambiance.
  5. Palacio de Laoag Hotel & Restaurant- Located nearby in Laoag City (a short distance from Vigan), this hotel’s restaurant serves authentic Ilocano cuisine including bagnet, pinakbet (mixed vegetable stew), dinengdeng (vegetable soup), among others.

These are just some examples of the local cuisine and restaurants you can explore while visiting Vigan to experience the unique flavors of the region.

Parks and Recreation

  1. Plaza Salcedo: Located in the heart of the city, Plaza Salcedo is a popular park where locals and tourists can relax and enjoy the surroundings. It features a statue of Juan de Salcedo, a Spanish conquistador who founded Vigan.
  2. Baluarte: Baluarte is an interactive wildlife sanctuary owned by Chavit Singson, a prominent politician in the Philippines. Visitors can see various animals such as tigers, ostriches, birds, reptiles, and more.
  3. Crisologo Museum: This museum showcases the life and works of Floro S. Crisologo, a former congressman from Ilocos Sur province. It also houses historical artifacts related to Vigan’s history.
  4. Syquia Mansion Museum: The Syquia Mansion is one of the ancestral homes turned museums in Vigan. It was once home to Elpidio Quirino, the sixth President of the Philippines.
  5. Calle Crisologo: This famous street is lined with well-preserved Spanish colonial houses that date back to the 18th century. Visitors can take leisurely walks along this cobblestone street while admiring its architectural beauty.
  6. Vigan Heritage Village: A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999, this area showcases well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture throughout its narrow streets filled with shops selling local products like antiques and traditional crafts.
  7. River Cruise at Mestizo River – Visitors can enjoy a relaxing river cruise along Mestizo River while taking in scenic views of old houses along its banks.
  8. Horse-drawn Carriage (Kalesa) Ride – A popular activity for tourists visiting Vigan is taking a ride on horse-drawn carriages known as Kalesa which will take you around town while providing an authentic experience reminiscent of the Spanish colonial era.
  9. Bantay Church and Bell Tower: Located in the nearby town of Bantay, this church and bell tower offer panoramic views of Vigan. Visitors can climb up the bell tower for a stunning view of the surrounding countryside.
  10. Hidden Garden: This garden is a peaceful oasis located just outside Vigan’s city center. It features beautiful landscapes, various plants, and a restaurant where visitors can enjoy local cuisine.


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