Vigan Sights and POI
When planning that big Ilocos tour, make sure to spend a few days in the World Heritage City of Vigan. A charming blend of old and new, it is an impressive reminder of the old days. The city is small and compact what makes it ideal for weekend getaways and is best explored on foot. If you find yourself here, we've outlined a few stops that are absolute must-sees!
Strolling down Calle Crisologo
First off is the Calle Crisologo ( Mena Crisologo St. Vigan ) which is the main reason why tourists flock in this part of the country.
The nostalgic street is a throwback to the Spanish Colonial era so imagine the cobblestone pavement, old buildings, and a ride on a horse-drawn carriage or calesa (PHP150/hour). The street is closed to vehicles so you can take a leisurely stroll anytime.
During the day, check out the numerous souvenir shops and restaurants. At night the street the soft glow from the lampposts fill the air giving the place a tinge of romance and mystery. Overall, it's Vigan's main tourist draw thus expect the street to be crowded. To beat the crowds, come early morning or late at night.
Dancing fountains in Plaza Salcedo
Dedicate one evening for the free dancing fountain show in Plaza Salcedo. The show is held daily at 7.30 pm and lasts half an hour. There is also the second show at 8.30 pm on weekends.
While it's certainly yields to the famous fountain shows in Kuala Lumpur or Dubai, it's still an impressive and generous effort for the town of such a size. We loved the selection of music although it would've been better if they included some local songs in the repertoire. Bring the kids and make sure to come early to secure a good spot.
Churches in Vigan
In search of spirituality, visit St. Agustine Church which is right next to the famous Bantay Bell Tower. The Catholic church is really well preserved and has a beautiful interior and exterior reminiscent of the Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Drop in for some peace and quiet and while you're there, do check out the church museum and the small garden at the back. This church is just about 5 minutes from the city centre, so you can walk or take a tricycle for about 20PHP.
Bantay Bell Tower
After a brief reflection at the church, it's time to see the classic landmark in the region – Bantay Bell Tower. The belfry was featured in a popular local movie back in the 80's what accounted for its popularity among domestic tourists. The belfy dates back to 1591 when it was built to serve as a watchtower. We really loved going up the tower to survey the entire city and its surrounding plains and valleys. Bear in mind though that the climb is a bit steep. If you're visiting in summer, don light clothing and stay hydrated. Open from 6am to 6pm, admission is free but donations are welcome. For a foolproof insta-worthy captures, time your visit in the late afternoon to catch the fiery sunset.
Next, acquaint yourself with some history and how the truly affluent lived the past by paying a visit to Syquia Mansion ( Quirino Boulevard, Vigan ). Get a rare glimpse into the lives of the Philippines’ 6th President Elpidio Quirino and his family. The mansions is filled with antiques, photographs, and paintings and we were especially impressed with the stories about the servants, peepholes and hidden passages. Open everyday except Tuesday from 9 am to 5 pm. There is a small admission fee of 50PHP.