During our last visit to the Philippines, we spent some time in the Ilocos region. More specifically we stayed for a few days in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.
Vigan is a quaint historic town that features old architecture and culture. My wife spent some of her formative years in this town, so for her coming to this place is more than just a tour or a visit. It is homecoming.
First of all, we stayed in an old Spanish house that was made into a hotel, which was aptly named Grandpa’s Inn. According to the owners, it was their grandparent’s ancestral home.
True to its motto: “a home away from home,” we felt right at home in this comfortable inn.
There are many ways to tour the town. The most classic is to ride on one of the many kalesa (horse-drawn carriage), while the kutsero (driver) gives you the insider’s history of places you will pass through. The other way is to walk around with somebody who grew-up there (like my wife), and hear the history of this town in their personal perspective. The last one is just to run around (preferably in the morning, when there’s not much traffic and people yet) on your own, and get both your cardio exercise while touring the place at the same time. Well, I did all of that.
The most well-known part of Vigan is the Heritage Village. This is a preserved tourist attraction, with cobblestone street lined with houses and buildings that retained their relic-like appearance.
In the middle of the town is Plaza Burgos, built to remember the martyrdom of Father Jose P. Burgos who died in the hands of Spanish colonizers.
Part of the nostalgia of Vigan are its old historic churches.
Everywhere you look in Vigan are old houses and buildings. Some are well maintained.
Some houses are needing repair.
Some old houses were renovated and look like new.
But sadly to say, just like everywhere else, some old buildings are being eaten by progress and commercialism.
I also wandered with my wife, places that she used to go way back when. This includes the public market.
Just like a homecoming, you would not miss to walk again in the streets where you grew up. So my wife and I walked through old neighborhoods that are dear to her heart.
Vigan. A wonderful place. A city indeed rich in heritage, both in our national history and personal memories.
I hope to visit this place again, in the future. Someday. Soon.