Once a settlement for traders coming from China and was overwhelmed by Southern Fujianese, Vigan is now a famous UNESCO city with magnificent Spanish era architecture which draws travelers from world over. The Southern Fujianese referred this beautiful place as "Bee Gan" which means "Beautiful Shore", but the interchangeable V and the B has transformed "Bee Gan" as "Vigan" during the Spanish era and the name remains to this day.
Philippines entry :
Vigan Heritage City, Philippines
Similar to Jonker Street in Malaysia, Vigan's Calle Crisologo or Mena Crisologo Street is a must visit and this is perfected when one is riding a kalesa (or calesa); a local horse-drawn carriage. The best tips that can be shared is that if you wish to visit Vigan, you must experience it in 2 ambience or mood that is during day time and at night. As for night, you must catch it at sunset and while the blue hue is at its best; before darkness takes over.
Heritage homes owned by Filipino-Chinese traders are now the main attractions on Calle Crisologo Street, a subject matter loved by photographers. Some of these homes have turned into a mini museum, souvenir shops, restaurants, some even converted into hostels or inns. Something that I am game to try in my next visit.
Romantic blue hue is what makes this place famous for its night or sunset photography and we were lucky to be able to catch this moment. It was a race against time for us, a 4-5 hours bus ride from Laoag to Vigan but it was worth it.
Antiques from Spanish era, burnay, Vigan vinegar and wood ornaments can be found here, some even sold window frames with the shells still intact. Aside from this, Vigan souvenirs are at abundance, from fridge magnets, to shirts to bags and local delicacies for you to bring back and share with family and friends. If you are a curious person, try out their ice cream (cheese and yam), you will definitely ask for more *smile*.
This reminded me so much of Andalusia, dreamy romantic windows and doors complemented with romantically designed iron railings. The yellow lighting certainly perfected the mood.
Vigan is located 8 hours from Manila via land transport, if you have spare time in your itinerary, do include Vigan City, you won't be disappointed.