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Vigan

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Vigan Heritage SiteAs the capital city of Ilocos Sur province, Vigan is a beautiful Hispanic city most known for its cobblestone street called Calle Crisologo.  Spanish houses dating back to the 18th century still stand on the site, which is frequented by both foreign and domestic tourists. Of course, there are other streets in Vigan that are also lined with old houses bearing the influence of European architecture.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has listed Vigan as a world heritage site for maintaining its buildings the way they were built centuries ago.  The old houses in Vigan share the same features as those of Hispanic houses built in other towns in the Philippines with strong middle and upper class during the Spanish regime.  Intramuros in Manila, of course, was the center of Spanish government in the Philippines at that time.

As a tourist town, Vigan is teeming with all kinds of souvenir shops.  With tourists merging with vendors and horse-drawn carriage during the peak summer season, it is quite difficult to have a good camera shot of the famous Crisologo Street.

Old Spanish Houses in Vigan

A side trip to Vigan is the Baluarte Zoo or Vigan Zoo, located in the village of Salindeg just ten minutes by car from Calle Crisologo.  The local government of Vigan allows tourists a toll-free access to the zoo, which boasts of a clean and spacious environment for pygmy or miniature horses, camels, ostrich, tigers, and other species of exotic animals.

Calle Crisologo in Vigan, Ilocos Sur

Vigan is 408 kilometers from Manila, or about 7 to 8 hours by land travel.  From Manila, it can be reached via the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), the Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and the national road from Tarlac all the way to the provinces of
Pangasinan, La Union, and Ilocos Sur.

Vigan, Ilocos Sur province

Buses bound for Laoag City also pass Vigan.  Travel time is between 8 to 10 hours by bus including stops.  Domestic airlines also have daily flights to Laoag City. From Laoag, travel time by bus to Vigan is about one hour.

Baluarte Zoo in Vigan
Vigan Zoo, Ilocos Sur