Because of its beauty and its well-preserved Spanish-era streets, Vigan has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When you drop by Ilocos Sur, this city is something you should definitely include in your itinerary.
If you’re looking for places to visit, here’s a list of top tourist spots in Vigan.
With over 200 homes still preserved from the Spanish Colonial period, Calle Crisologo has become the must-go to spot in Vigan. Recognized by UNESCO as a Heritage City. Walking along this street throws you back in time when only the rich occupied the area – but now, the cobble-stoned path is lined with vendors selling Vigan’s finest products.
- Location: Mena Crisologo St., Meztizo District, Vigan City
- Operation Hours: 24 hours (though most stores begin closing at 8 pm)
- Highlights: There are several shops where you can buy Vigan’s best products such as abel products, basi wine, antiques, Vigan vinega, longannisa, woodcrafts and more.
- Activity Tips: You can ride a kalesa to really add to the whole Spanish colonial feel – it costs cost you around P150. You can also sleep in one of the many spanish colonial homes that have been converted into inns.
- Insider info: The street was known as Calle de Escolta de Vigan during the Spanish occupation. But when the Americans came, it became Washington Street and then was finally named Calle Crisologo to honour Vigan’s first provincial governor, Meña Crisologo.
Dubbed the Malacañang of the North, the Syquia Mansion was the former home of late President Elpidio Quirino. Back then, it served as a venue for several government meetings but now, it has become a museum that perfectly displays wealthy living during the Spanish colonial period.
- Location: Quirino Boulevard cor. Salcedo Street, Vigan City
- Fee(s): P20
- Operation Hours: 9am to 5pm (closed on Tuesdays)
- Highlights: There is a Ming Dynasty porcelain jar that sits atop a table on the second floor. It was given by China’s last emperor to the Quirino family. If you look at the bottom of the vase, you can see the official seal which backs up its authenticity.
- Activity Tips: Check out the secret hallway where servants had to pass so they could get from one room to another without being seen by guests. These hallways were called Alipin sa Giligid.
- Insider info: There are secret peepholes in the walls and floors so that the family could see if a visitor was worth meeting in the sala. You can ask to take a look through them if you want.
The ancestral home turned museum belonged to one of Vigan’s most prominent sons, the late congressman Floro S. Crisologo. His wife, Carmeling Crisologo, had their home converted in memory of Floro after he was assassinated in another Vigan go-to, St. Paul’s Cathedral.
- Location: Liberation Boulevard, Vigan City
- Fee(s): No charge – but donations are accepted to help with the museum’s maintenance
- Operation Hours: 8:30am to 11:30am and 1:30pm to 4:30pm (open daily)
- Highlights: There are several clothes, antiques and more that tell of pressing times in Floro’s life – from the uniforms and bullets he used during the japanese and vietnam war to the clothes and shoes that he wore when assassinated.
- Activity Tips: The museum is very strict about guests not touching any of the memorabilia, so make sure that you don’t! You are, however, allowed to take as many pictures as you want.
- Insider info: Carmeling’s shoe and clothes collection is on display, but the car in which she was ambushed is what fascinates people most. She was pregnant at the time when gunmen began shooting – she survived the ambush.
- Contact Details:
Phone number: +63 9278327524
While the Crisologo Museum and Syquia Mansion are ancestral homes turned museums, the Villa Angela Heritage House is an ancestral home turned bed and breakfast. The ancestral home boasts of capiz windows, antique lamps, jars, four post beds and everything else that you’d expect a house built in the 1800s to have.
- Location: 26 Quirino Blvd., Vigan City
- Highlights: There are rooms for everyone! If you’re travelling in a huge group, you can stay at the dormitories on the first floor. You may also opt for private rooms with beautiful four-poster canopy beds and verandas. Each room comes with breakfast, private bathrooms and cable.
- Activity Tips: Take time to walk around the 2,000 sq.m. property owned by the prominent Versoza Family. Make sure you check out the photo of Tom Cruise with the venue’s owner from when he stayed there in 1989.
- Insider info: If you want to book, then take note that Christmas and Holy Week are Villa Angela’s busiest times. It’d be best to book sometime in June to September.
- Contact Details:
Phone number: +63 9193156122
Built in 1591, the bantay bell tower is considered one of Ilocos’ oldest structures. The brick tower was originally built so that people could keep watch over the town of Bantay – therefore the name, “bantay” which means “to guard”. It was then converted to a church bell tower in 1857 by the nearby Bantay Church which is dedicated to St. Augustine of Hippo.
- Location: Bantay Church Bell Tower is 10 to 15 minutes away from Crisologo street. You can take a kalesa or a tricycle.
- Fee(s): There is no entrance fee but a donation for the bell’s maintenance is accepted.
- Operation Hours: 6am to 6pm
- Highlights: The belfry provides a beautiful view overlooking the towns of Bantay and Vigan.
- Activity Tips: Make sure that you sign the guest book before entering and not the bell tower! The structure has managed to stand sturdy all these years, but has unfortunately fallen victim to vandals.
- Insider info: This was reportedly where Philippines heroes Diego and Gabriela Silang would date during the 17th century.
The two-storey museum is the ancestral home of Fr. Jose Burgos who was one of the three priests who were martyred during the Spanish rule. The Filipino priests, collectively known as GomBurZa, wanted Filipino priests to be treated equally as their Spanish counterparts.
- Location: Burgos, Vigan City
- Fee(s): FREE
- Operation Hours: 9am to 4pm (Mondays to Fridays); (Saturdays, Sundays and holidays are by appointment)
- Highlights: The museum is a satellite of the National Museum and houses memorabilia of Father Burgos and his family, a pag-ablan (wooden frame loom) and several portraits of people who contributed to the socio-cultural development of the region.
- Activity Tips: Read about Father Burgos before or after your visit to his home (preferably before!). Reading up on how he fought for equality between Filipino and Spanish clergy, and how the Spaniards used him as a scapegoat for the Ilocos revolt is incredibly interesting.
- Insider info: Make sure you check out all 14 oil paintings of the Basi Revolt of 1807 by Don Esteban Villanueva. The paintings are a record of the Ilocos revolt against the Spanish when the manufacturing of sugarcane wine (a means of livelihood) was banned in the Ilocos provinces.
While Vigan is best known for its heritage city and museums, visiting the beach is a definite must. While you can’t actually swim due to the strong waves, the main attraction is the sand – it’s jet black!
- Location: Brgy. Mindoro, Vigan City
- Fee(s): FREE
- Operation Hours: The beach is accessible at all times – but be cautious when (and if!) you enter the water.
- Highlights: The black sand is jet black due to it being rich in iron ore or magnetite.
- Activity Tips: The waves are strong – even for experienced swimmers. So best to be safe and just enjoy the water from the shore of black sand.
Arce Mansion is an ancestral home turned museum where guests can dress up like individuals from days gone by. For a minimal fee, you can dress up like the characters from Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere and take photos around the property.
- Location: 87 Quirino Boulevard cor. Abaya Street, Vigan City
- Fee(s): Guests are charged P150 for the costumes; P1,500 per person for the costume, photo shoot, dinner and prints (good for a minimum of 5 people)
- Highlights: Dress up like a chinese immigrant, a gobernaorcillo, a don or dona.
- Activity Tips: Guys may not find the right pants size for themselves, so its advisable that they bring their own slacks and wear leather shoes to ensure that they have the whole look together.
- Insider info: Guests can enjoy authenti Ilocano dishes at Arce Mansion’s while dressed up.
Enjoy a fun experience and check out other restaurants, things to do and more in Vigan. Discover cheap hotel deals and cheap flights from carriers like Philippine Airlines, AirAsia, and more with Traveloka!