- Traveler Advice
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Taking pride on having well-preserved Eurasian structures dating back to the 16th century, Vigan possesses a certain feel of being transported back in time, during the Spanish occupation in the Philippines, with the cobblestone paths, regal brick mansions, and colorful kalesas (horse-drawn carriages). Traditions and customs are also conserved in the city, even the olden techniques of Abel-weaving and clay-sculpting.
The uniqueness of the local design made Vigan a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for being Asia's finest model of a Spanish colonial town. The port city was also a constant stopover in the famous Silk Road, a line of trade routes that connected Asia and Europe. The origin of the name Vigan is explained in an anecdote passed on through generations. A Spaniard, strolling by the Mestizo River, came across a native, to whom he asked what the place was called. The Ilocano did not understand, and when he noticed the Spaniard pointing to a plant, the native replied, "Bigaa Apo"—Bigaa, being a large taro plant thriving on the riverside, became the root to the name Vigan.
Even long after the Spanish rule, Vigan maintains the opulence and prosperity of that era, especially in the Mestizo District, a good place to find souvenirs and other trinkets. More historical artifacts are kept in the local museums such as Padre Burgos National Museum, Crisologo Museum, and the Museo San Pablo. City-trekking in Vigan is not as tasking as doing so in other cities because of the numerous wooden benches along the sidewalks free for anyone who wants a break. To those who fancy a classier, more comfortable way to get around the town, kalesas are pretty much everywhere in Vigan. Riding around Salcedo and Burgos parks is not only a visual experience, but a gastronomic one as well. The highly-noted Vigan empanada, an Ilocano remake of the traditional Spanish pastry, is sold in the parks at around 5 pesos apiece. There is also the Vigan longganisa, which are small, round sausages that really pack a punch. Those who want to have a fill of more dynamic activities can go to Pagburnayan, a baranggay in Vigan where one can experience the traditional method of pottery-making and even make a burnay (earthen pot) as a souvenir.
Vigan Traveler Advice
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