Vigan City in Ilocos Sur is considered one of CNN Travel’s list of Asia’s 13 most picturesque towns, and the Department of Tourism (DOT) is very proud of the recognition.
“The City of Vigan’s heritage, the Hispanic architecture and the food make it a picture-perfect site and deserving of the spot in the CNN list,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat lauded.
The town is described by CNN as “one of the best places to experience Spanish colonial-era architecture in Asia.”
Puyat also said that, “the CNN citation of the City of Vigan means that sustainable tourism is not just about environmental protection but also the preservation of the country’s history and culture.”
Spanish colonial-era architecture in Vigan
Vigan was established by the Spaniards in 1572. It is among the World Heritage Cities of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
“Travelers will find the vast majority of the colonial buildings around the central square, Plaza Salcedo, including the white and yellow St. Paul’s Cathedral. The beautiful Baroque structure was first built in 1641 and then restored after several earthquakes and fires,” Kate Springer from CNN explained.
Springer also mentioned the abundant Instagrammable landmarks at Vigan City such as the Plaza Salcedo and the trade center at cobble-stoned Calle Crisologo that tourists should not miss.
“A short walk south, Calle Crisologo is another major landmark. The cobbled street features well-preserved heritage houses, alfresco bars and kalesa (horse-drawn carriages) that transport you back in time.”
Puyat praised the efforts of the local government to preserve the ancestral houses in Vigan City. The officials mandate a thorough research and documentation of the buildings to get the original design before doing the restoration.
“A touch of Spanish colonial style is also a requirement for the design of new structures in the area to complement the City’s preservation and tourism program,” the DOT said.
“Family ancestral houses are transformed into museums, souvenir and antique shops and restaurants while maintaining its original Spanish style influence,” it added.
Vigan City is joined in the list by Hoi An in Vietnam, Yufuin in Japan, George Town in Malaysia, and Kampot in Cambodia.
This capital city of Ilocos Sur also made it to the New Seven Wonders Cities in 2014.
Have a taste of the city with its pottery workshop, food adventures of the locals’ unique dishes, such as bagnet, poqui-poqui, and stuffed fried pastry.