Vigan Photo: Harvey P.

Vigan

They say that experiencing Vigan is like traveling back in time to the Spanish colonial era. This UNESCO World Heritage City and capital of Ilocos Sur is one of the few remaining 16th century towns in the country. Get ready to fall in love with Vigan’s timeless charm as you explore the weathered stone pathways, majestic colonial churches, and well-preserved ancestral houses of this old European trading town.

Start your journey by riding a horse-drawn carriage, or calesa, down the iconic cobblestone path of Calle Crisologo. Located in the Mestizo District, this crown jewel of Vigan is lined with Spanish-style houses that evoke the city’s prosperity during the days of the Manila-Acapulco maritime trade.

Walk up to any of these ancestral houses and you’ll find beautifully crafted details in its red tile roofs, thick walls, grand staircases, huge doors, and sliding capiz shell windows. You can even experience living in a heritage house by checking into those that have been converted into inns.

While Calle Crisologo may be the most famous street in Vigan, you might also want to explore its lesser-known streets like Calle Plaridel, Calle Delos Reyes, and Calle Bonifacio. Here, you’ll discover the more rugged but equally enchanting side of Vigan, where heritage houses blend with modern-day elements like tricycles, parked cars, and hanging cable wires.

From Plaza Salcedo, travelers can make their way to St. Paul’s Cathedral, the city’s historic “earthquake Baroque” church. Just a short walk away from the cathedral, you’ll find the Archbishop’s Palace, the country’s lone 18th century archbishop’s palace. Visitors can explore the palace’s Museo Nueva Segovia, which houses religious artifacts and manuscripts from the Ilocos region.

Discover the culture and lifestyle of Vigan’s past inhabitants by touring ancestral homes turned into museums like Crisologo Museum, Padre Burgos Museum, and Syquia Mansion. Kids will surely enjoy a visit to the Buridek Children’s Museum and Baluarte, a zoo filled with various animals and life-sized concrete dinosaurs.

You might not want to miss Arce Mansion if you’re going on a tour of heritage museums. What makes this place an ideal selfie spot, aside from its antique furniture and signature capiz windows, is the fact that they allow guests to dress up like Ilustrados, gobernadorcillos, and other historical characters using their wide array of colonial-era costumes.

Vigan is also known for its traditional crafts, namely, abel fabric and burnay pottery. Travelers can visit local craft shops and watch abel weavers as they create colorful fabrics using traditional wooden looms. And if you want to learn how the city’s burnay are made, head to the iconic Pagburnayan, where potters shape locally-sourced clay into traditional jars.

Once you start feeling hungry from your adventures, grab a bite to eat at one of Vigan’s most famous restaurants, Café Leona. This Vigan cuisine restaurant is housed within the ancestral house of 19th-century poetess Leona Florentino, after whom the place is named.

Aside from Café Leona, you’ll find plenty of other charming restaurants and cafes worth trying scattered all around the heritage city. Visitors can sample the local cuisine at Grandpa’s Inn, go for desserts at the whimsical Leila Cafe, relax over coffee at the cozy Café Uno, or dine at the Lilong and Lilang Restaurant, which is tucked away within the lush greeneries of Hidden Garden.

You can also head to Plaza Burgos or the Vigan Public Market to sample local treats like longganisa (local sausage), empanada (eggs, longganisa, and vegetables wrapped in a rice flour shell), okoy (deep fried local shrimp pancake), arroz caldo (rice soup with chicken), poqui-poqui (mashed eggplant with egg), basi (sugarcane wine), and the highly addictive Ilocos chichacorn.

Finally, after a long day of exploring the heritage city, travelers can wind down and welcome the night by taking a romantic walk along the lamp-lit Calle Crisologo or watching the colorful dancing fountain show at Plaza Salcedo.

And for the ultimate one-of-a-kind experience, venture away from Vigan’s mainstream tourist attractions and visit Mindoro Beach. This serene beach is home to a magnificent stretch of jet black sand, where adventurous travelers can enjoy stunning sunsets, splashing waves, and the breathtaking scenery away from the rest of the city’s busy crowds.

Top Rated Restaurants in Vigan Browse All

  1. Irene's Vigan Empanada
    4.2 Stars
    Snack
    23 Reviews View
  2. Hidden Garden of Vigan
    3.9 Stars
    Filipino
    30 Reviews View
  3. Café Leona
    3.7 Stars
    Filipino
    43 Reviews View
  4. Kusina Felicitas
    4.0 Stars
    Asian
    12 Reviews View
  5. McDonald's
    4.3 Stars
    Fast Food
    7 Reviews View
  6. Bistro Amarillo
    4.2 Stars
    International
    5 Reviews View
  7. Hap Chan
    5.0 Stars
    Chinese
    2 Reviews View
  8. Comedor
    5.0 Stars
    International
    2 Reviews View
  9. Bigaa Gastropub
    4.3 Stars
    International
    3 Reviews View
  10. Vigan Empanadahan
    4.0 Stars
    Filipino
    4 Reviews View

Top Rated Hotels in Vigan Browse All

  1. Hotel Luna
    4.3 Stars
    Hotel
    14 Reviews View
  2. Cordillera Inn
    5.0 Stars
    Hotel
    3 Reviews View
  3. Grandpa's Inn
    3.5 Stars
    Hotel
    10 Reviews View
  4. Hotel Ni Among
    4.5 Stars
    Hotel
    2 Reviews View
  5. Vigan Hotel
    5.0 Stars
    Hotel
    1 Review View
  6. Cordillera Family Inn
    5.0 Stars
    Hotel
    1 Review View
  7. Hotel Veneto de Vigan
    5.0 Stars
    Hotel
    1 Review View
  8. Metro Vigan Inn
    5.0 Stars
    Hotel
    1 Review View
  9. Casa Teofila Lodge
    4.0 Stars
    Hotel
    1 Review View
  10. Hotel Salcedo de Vigan
    3.0 Stars
    Hotel
    2 Reviews View

Top Rated Places in Vigan Browse All

  1. Vigan Heritage Village
    4.7 Stars
    Landmarks
    72 Reviews View
  2. Irene's Vigan Empanada
    4.2 Stars
    Snack
    23 Reviews View
  3. Hotel Luna
    4.3 Stars
    Hotel
    14 Reviews View
  4. Bantay Belfry
    4.6 Stars
    Historical Site
    9 Reviews View
  5. Hidden Garden of Vigan
    3.9 Stars
    Filipino
    30 Reviews View
  6. Cafe Uno
    4.1 Stars
    Coffee
    19 Reviews View
  7. Café Leona
    3.7 Stars
    Filipino
    43 Reviews View
  8. Kusina Felicitas
    4.0 Stars
    Asian
    12 Reviews View
  9. McDonald's
    4.3 Stars
    Fast Food
    7 Reviews View
  10. Syquia Mansion
    4.8 Stars
    Tourist Attraction
    4 Reviews View