I heart Vigan! That’s what I told myself while slowly marching along the cobblestone Calle Crisologo on my third day in the Unesco World Heritage City of Vigan.
This city is a breath of fresh (not the mountain type) air, very much in contrast with the concrete jungle that is Manila, with those monstrous structures, and continuously rising.Vigan is a unique city owing to its old world charm, it is a 16th century Spanish colonial town in Ilocos Sur and its provincial capital with a population of around 50,000 people.
Right before 9:00pm, just after watching the vibrant - if not a bit blaring - musical dancing fountain show at Plaza Salcedo, one should take a walk at the amber-colored streets of Mestizo District, particularly Calle Crisologo and feel the melancholic ambiance of the night. Listen to the occasional clacking of a late night calesa congruent with the clattering of footsteps from couple of lovebirds who, like you, enjoy the stillness of the surrounding. Gape at every Spanish era wooden mansions, timeworn and in beautiful decay. Watch your shadow moving from front to back as you stride caused by the soft yellow glare of the antiquated lamps lining the sides of the street. Listen to the sweet laughter from gleeful youths coming from the opposite end of the street where Café Leona is.
Wake up early at dawn and enjoy the beautiful solitude of the place when you don’t need to share it with hordes of tourists especially during the weekends, a perfect time to enjoy that genuine vintage aura of the place minus the roars of tricycles and rowdy crowd later in the day.
Bring a book, grab a cup of brewed coffee at McDonald’s near the St. Paul Cathedral, sit back and relax at one of the long benches around the lovely fountain pool of Plaza Salcedo. Visit the numerous fine museums of this heritage town – Burgos Museum has a lot of wooden antique furniture waiting to be admired, Syquia Mansion offer tourists the chance to envisage the illustrious lifestyle of the insulares of those times, find out more stories in the colorful life of a prominent politician at the Crisologo Museum, take a tricycle ride and enjoy the breeze on top of the bell tower at Bantay church.
Loads of people or otherwise, Vigan is a charming city, you’ll enjoy it any other way.
It left a good impression on me, so I sincerely like Vigan.