Vigan recently made headlines for joining CNN’s list of most picturesque towns in Asia, and it’s not hard to see why—this quaint city with an old-time charm never fails to blow away visitors with its well-preserved colonial-era architecture and, of course, its vibrant culinary scene.
If you’re journeying to northwestern Philippines any time soon, here are five experiences that you must squeeze into your itinerary when you visit this gem of a city in locos Sur.
Make Your Own Clay Jar
Vigan takes pride in their burnay (pottery) industry, which can be traced back to the pre-colonial times. Back in the day, burnay jars were used to ferment vinegar, fish paste, and a local wine called basi. When you go to Vigan, you can experience making your own burnay jar—just make your way to Pagburnayan and express your interest in trying your hand at this type of pottery. The craftsmen onsite will gladly assist you.
Walk Down The Storied Streets Of Calle Crisologo
Do a quick image search on Vigan and you’re sure to get results showing colonial houses lining a cobblestone street—that’s Calle Crisologo, the heritage city’s most notable attraction. At 500 meters in length, the entire stretch of this street isn’t long, but it will take you a while to complete the walk from end to end, as you’ll surely be checking out souvenir shops selling regional handicrafts and snack stalls along the way.
Take A Kalesa Ride
Perhaps, the best way to tour Vigan’s top tourist spots is by taking a kalesa ride, or a horse-drawn carriage. Your coachman doubles as a tour guide, and he’ll take you to popular attractions like the old Ilocos Sur Provincial Jail as well as Bantay Church and its famous belfry.
Dine Al Fresco
At night, the restaurants along Calle Crisologo set up tables on the street, giving the place a European old town vibe. A favorite among locals and tourists alike is Café Leona, which is named after Ilocos’ most influential female poet and playwright Leona Florentino. A must-try when you dine here is the Pinakbet Pizza—a fun twist on the quintessential Ilocano dish. You can also go for their longganisa pizza if you’re a sucker for meaty toppings.
Cap Off Your Night At Plaza Salcedo
Every night, people gather at Plaza Salcedo to catch the free fountain and light show. The display starts at 7:30 PM on Mondays to Saturdays and 8:30 PM on Sundays and lasts for about 30 minutes. For the best view of the spectacle, secure a spot on the bleachers a few minutes before the show starts.
Looking forward to your trip to the Philippines? Check out more experiences here!