Cobblestone walkways, horse-drawn carriages, mansions of yester-years. This is Vigan, one of the few remaining 16th century towns in the Philippines. Vigan is so special it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although the Philippines has many period-haciendas and mansions, Vigan has an entire district of them. It’s like gallivanting through time.
Get your hands dirty with clay
Vigan is known for burnay, a traditional jar that’s crafted from locally sourced clay, traditionally used to ferment sugarcane wine but today mostly used for decoration. Head on to Barangay VII, Liberation Avenue, and learn how the art of making this jar has been passed down from one generation to another.
Father Burgos’ house
This historic house was once the home of one of the greatest names in Philippine nationalism: Padre Jose Burgos. Burgos was sentenced to death for a false charge of rebellion against Spanish colonizers.
This incident would later on inspire national hero Jose Rizal. Today, Padre Burgos’ childhood home is a well-preserved museum for all things Vigan that date back to that period.
This is the home of Doña Alicia Quirino, wife of the Philippines’ sixth President, Elpidio Quirino. Explore high-ceilinged rooms with hardwood floors decorated with antique wooden furniture, oriental porcelain and presidential memorabilia.
Bantay Bell Tower
This brick tower stands on a lonely green hill overlooking Bantay, a municipality northeast of Vigan. Climb the winding staircase up to the top of the tower to see the enormous main bell which dates back to World War II.
Buy Handmade Abel textiles
In the towns of Mindoro, Camangaan, and San Pedro, the women still weave the traditional handlooms with locally sourced cotton. Called Abel, this fabric can be used for pretty much anything, from blankets to wall decorations. In fact, Abel was so popular during the Spanish period that it almost destroyed the Spanish textile industry.
Photo courtesy of Obra19 CC-BY SA 3.0
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