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5 Things To Do In Vigan, Philippines For The Best Culture And History

Kaye
Published May 09, 2017

Vigan is one of the oldest cities in the Philippines and part of the UNESCO World Heritage List, due to its rich Hispanic towns and Spanish colonial history. To this day, its heritage is well-preserved most intricately. Each visit will always be consistently and beautifully nostalgic. Get to know the city more personally with these featured attractions.

1. Relive the steps of national heroes at Calle Crisologo

Calle crisologo  vigan at night

Cobblestones and calesas – these are the two things that make Calle Crisologo distinctly Filipino. The cultural and historical sentiment comes to life instantly, especially at night time with empanadas and other Vigan delicacies are up for grabs for anyone who would like to understand how it was in the Philippines during the Spanish era. Otherwise known as Mena Crisologo Street, this mestizo district is lined with Spanish-style houses, and souvenir shops, that Filipino writers have been so inspired by for many years. Even to this day, the red-tiled roofs and capiz shell windows have been preserved and there is no other place like it. Taking a walk along its lamp-lit lanes feels like being in the 18th-century. The sentimental street is named after Mena Pecson Crisologo, one of the most respectable sons of Ilocos. He was a prominent writer back in the day and is known for the Ilocano version to Don Quixote.

Calle Crisologo

Address: Crisologo, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur

Website: Mena Crisologo Street

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2. Get refreshed on the Mestizo River Cruise

Mestizo River #vigan #mestizoriver #sanjuliansur #liberationblvd #ilocossur #sky_captures

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Cruising along the Mestizo River at Vigan is fascinating. It lasts for about 45 minutes and tells the story of the City from how it was discovered, how the Spanish took over and how it became one of the most-visited cities in the Philippines. The short excursion promises a time of refreshment, while learning more about life through the eyes of the Ilokanos. The best thing about the Mestizo River is the annual candle floating ceremony during the Raniag Twilight Festival. This is specifically done in Barangay Beddeng Laud in the Celedonia Garden.

Mestizo River

Address: Barangay Beddeng Laud | Mestizo River, Vigan

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Vigan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Vigan

3. Look at life differently from Bantay Belfry’s vantage point

The high tower that sits on a hill just ten minutes away from Vigan is Bantay Belfry, built in 1591. Standing there, looking at the panoramic view of Vigan from the highest point of the area, is both uplifting and empowering. Reaching the top is not that easy, especially for those who have issues with height. Each step you take makes you reflective and once you reach the top, there’s a sense of empowerment. Symbolically, looking at life from this point of view allows its beholders to get some perspective. Bantay Belfry is known as the “people’s tower” alerting town folk of coming danger. Its nearby churches include the St. Augustine Church, with its nearly gothic exterior, and the baroque Saint Paul Cathedral.

Bantay Belfry

Address: Bantay, Ilocos Sur

Website: Bantay Belfry

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Vigan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Vigan

4. Revisit history: Father Burgos Museum, Leona Florentino House, and the Crisologo Museum

The Spanish have made the Philippines distinctly strong in the Catholic faith. To understand why Filipinos are the way they are, visiting the museums and churches are worth the time and experience, because these are living testaments of how the Filipino people came to be. Three of the most enriching museums are the Father Burgos Museum, the Leona Florentino House and the Crisologo Museum.

Hanging of Father Burgos

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Named after friar Father Burgos, the Father Burgos Museum showcases the remnants of his patriotic life through family heirlooms, jewelry, photos and other memorabilia. The museum also focuses on his personal library, including his own copy of Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal. Father Burgos is highly regarded because he supported the rebellion of the Filipino people against the Spaniards in the plight for independence. This caused his apparent execution at Bagumbayan in 1872. Father Burgos Museum is open to the public Tuesdays to Saturdays.

Father Burgos Museum

Address: Burgos, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur

Website: Father Burgos Museum

✔️ Pizza and pasta. #cafeleona #vigan

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History will always need a woman’s touch. This is the main reason why Vigan has the Leona Florentino House built in 1797. Leona Florentino was a Filipino poet who has garnered international recognition. She is also the mother of the pioneer of the labor movement of the Philippines, Isabelo delos Reyes. Located at the heart of Calle Crisology, this ancestral home is the city’s heirloom, dearly beloved by the locals because of Café Leona – one of Vigan’s most favorite culinary destinations. Here, Ilokano cuisine is highlighted, specially because it is best enjoyed with family and friends, buffet-style. Get ready to experience Vigan delicacies at their best.

Leona Florentino House

Address: Mena Crisologo Street, Plaza Burgos, Vigan City

Website: Leona Florentino House


The Crisologo Museum is all about Floro S. Crisologo – a prominent congressman responsible for the legislations of landmarks that benefitted the country. Unfortunately, political unrest got Floro shot in October 1970 and because of this, the museum was established to let his legacy live on. The Crisologo Mansion is open for public viewing throughout the week and is found on Vigan’s Liberation Boulevard.

Crisologo Museum

Address: A. Reyes St, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur

Website: Crisologo Museum

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Vigan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Vigan

5. Experience Vigan's festivities: Viva Vigan Festival of the Arts, Vigan City Fiesta, and the Tres de Mayo Celebration

Any place that is rich in culture will always have vibrant festivals. The Viva Vigan Festival of Arts is a weeklong celebration done in the first week of May, usually in the first week. It is celebrated to promote the value of Vigan as a center of history, in the hope of strengthening the advocacy to preserve and protect its cultural identity. The Vigan City Fiesta, on the other hand, is held every year on January 25. It commemorates the conversion of St. Paul, Vigan City’s patron saint. The Metropolitan Cathedral is dedicated to St. Paul. The Tres de Mayo Celebration is also religious in nature, where the people remember St. Helena and her son, Prince Constantine in their plight to seek the cross Jesus died on. It is a thanks-giving day, celebrated with a feast in honor of the Black Nazarene. Usually, a drama is performed to relive Helena’s plight.

Vigan City Fiesta

Website: Vigan City Fiesta

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Vigan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Vigan

Vigan City is beautifully rich in all the significant ways

For a weekend well-spent or maybe for a simple change of scenery, Vigan City is a great place to be. Enjoying the people, the food, sights and long walks will surely make each one of its guests feel like a Filipino.

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Calle crisologo  vigan at night
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During the day, I teach Writing and Literature. In the in-betweens, I would either be sharing conversations with interesting people over cups of coffee or jotting down thoughts in my journal. ...Read more

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