Destinations

The City of Vigan Named as One of the Most Beautiful Towns in Asia

CNN Travel lists the UNESCO Heritage Site as one of Asia’s most picturesque towns.
IMAGE WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, PIXABAY
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The beautiful city of Vigan waves the Philippine flag on a list of the most picturesque towns in Asia curated by CNN Travel. The story notes that the historical town is “one of the best places to experience Spanish colonial-era architecture in Asia.”

Established in the 16th century, Vigan is located in the cool province of Ilocos Sur, and has long been recognized as one of the must-see destinations of the country, especially since it was inscribed as a UNESCO Heritage Site in the year 1999.

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Photo by WIKIMEDIA COMMONS.

“Its architecture reflects the coming together of cultural elements from elsewhere in the Philippines and from China with those of Europe and Mexico to create a unique culture and townscape without parallels anywhere in East and South-East Asia,” UNESCO notes.

The city is best known for its Heritage Village, which has become synonymous with the town itself as it embodies Vigan’s well-preserved Spanish colonial era urban planning and infrastructure, such as the beautiful two-story structures made with brick and wood, as well as delicate capiz shell windows. 

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Photo by PIXABAY.

Here, we take a look back at some fascinating historical facts that continue to enrich this captivating site: 

Vigan had been a thriving economic and political hub until the diocese of Nueva Segovia moved to the city in the year 1758. This amplified the city’s cultural heritage, which led to its official renaming: Ciudad Fernandina de Vigan.

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Photo by WIKIMEDIA COMMONS.

Photo by WIKIMEDIA COMMONS.

A large percentage of the town’s inhabitants consisted of Chinese Mestizos from the prosperous business class that strengthened the town’s economy. 

Naturally, the buildings reflected this interesting population mix, with Chinese architecture. The ground floor of their two-story buildings was where they conducted business, while the upper floor was where they lived.

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Photo by WIKIMEDIA COMMONS.

The city represents Spanish urban planning, specifically the grid pattern that opens up into the Plaza Salcedo and Plaza Burgos. 

Even during times of war, Vigan had supported military troops during battles such as the Malong Revolt in 1661, the Silang Revolt in 1762, the Tobacco Revolt in 1788 and the Basi Revolt in 1807. In fact, General Emilio Aguinaldo established his headquarters in the city where the philippine flag was raised 400 years later. 

Vigan ranks among other breathtaking towns such as Yufuin (Japan), Hoi An (Vietnam), George Town (Malaysia), and Zhouzhuang (China).  

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