VIGAN CITY is the capital city and the 5th class city in Ilocos Sur, Philippines. This is situated in the western coast of the Luzon Island facing the South China Sea. The 6th President of the Republic of the Philippines, Elpidio Quirino was born in this city.
Vigan is considered as a World Heritage Site since it is well-known for its cobblestone streets and Spanish architecture. The place has preserved its rich history and beginnings during the Spanish era.
During the pre-colonial times, “Bigan” Island became a coastal trading post with Chinese merchants bartering their goods in exchange for gold, beeswax and other mountain products by natives. The Chinese were the first settlers and eventually some married the natives of the place.
Then on June 12, 1572, Captain Juan de Salcedo arrived in the settlement and conquered the place. After exploring the place, Salcedo renamed the place to “Villa Fernandina” in honor of deceased Prince Ferdinand, son of King Philip II. The king awarded Salcedo the privilege to become the first mayor of Ilocos with the parts of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Abra, La Union and some part of Mountain Province under his governance. In January 1574, Augustian missionaries arrived and established a Spanish city. It was told that the name “Vigan” was derived from a giant Taro plant called “Bigaa”. A few years later, “Villa Fernandina” and Vigan were unified as one and this step became more economically beneficial. On September 7, 1758, Vigan became the seat of Diocese and was renamed to Cuidad Fernandina de Vigan.
In 1803, the Chinese formed their own settlement and called the place pariancillo or “Los Sangleyes del parian”, and the Spaniards made their own villa as well and named it “Los Españoles de la Villa”. These people opened business in the heart of Vigan and eventually rose into the class of the elite, thus Vigan became prosperous in terms of domestic and foreign trade. According to the city archives, Vigan became a city between the years of 1758 to 1937.
On December 2, 1999, Vigan was marked in the UNESCO World Heritage List of Sites and Monuments because of its exceptional heritage site.
Vigan City has a total land area of 2,740 hectares or 27.4 square kilometers, and 60.68% of the total land area is used for agriculture; 32.92% are residential, followed by industrial, commercial and institutional facilities. The municipality has intermixture of land uses.
The City has a current population of 45,143 people in 9,193 households. Predominant dialect is Ilocano, followed by Kankanaey and Itneg. However, most residents are also fluent in Filipino and English language.
COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY
Vigan City is the center of trade and commerce in Ilocos Sur province. Currently there are 1,227 business establishments which consist of stores, manufacturers and processors engaged in Ilocano woven cloth "abel", ice plant, ice cream factory, and Vigan jar and among other products; dealers and distributors, service establishments and other businesses. Various products are also exported to other localities and other countries.
The City has two distinct seasons, the dry season from November to April reaching its peak during the torrid months of April and May, and the rainy season during July to September. The average annual maximum temperature is 30.9°C, and the average annual minimum temperature is 23.2°C.
ARTS & CULTURE
Vigan celebrates the following annual festivities:
Semana Santa or “Holy Week” – In observance of the Holy Week, processions of life-size statues are being done as well as the traditional Bisita Iglesia or visits to 9 churches in the city.
Vigan Fiesta – This is a week long festivity starting on January 25 featuring carnivals, parades, musical extravaganzas, beauty and popularity contests, and nightly cultural shows.
Viva Vigan Festival of Arts – This is held every first week of May featuring calesa parade, comedia, street dancing, ramada games, religious rituals, santacruzan, bankathon, exhibits, trade/food fairs and other exciting events.
The City boasts of various local products that is sold in various parts of the country and is also exported in other countries:
Abel Iloco – Wooden handloom is used to produce Abel Iloko fabrics made out of cotton yarn or “sagut” such as blankets and bed covers, pillow cases, mosquito nets, bath towels, robes, hand towels, place mats, table napkins, runners, among many others.
Kattokong Craft – This is a gourd hat edged with woven nito and fine bamboo slats that is handcrafted in barangay Bongtolan.
Red Clay or “Damili” – Craftsmen produce cooking pots, water vessels, firewood and charcoal-fed cooking, stoves, water and animal-feeding basins, plant pots, and the ever famous Vigan tiles.
Vigan or “Burnay” Jar – This is an earthenware jar that is crafted by a potter and with the aid of a wheel, made out of fine sand and heated and after molding it is heated into a high temperature in a huge brick-and-clay ground kiln. This is sold in and out of the Philippines.
Vigan has a wide range of delicacies that would surely suit once taste, like the well-known empanada, Vigan Longganisa, local bagoong and other native delicacies such as bibingka, puto, etc.
83% of the Vigan population is Catholic in religion.
LIST OF “BARANGAYS” (or communities)
The City is subdivided into 39 communities:
Barangay I (Pob.)
Barangay II (Pob.)
Barangay III (Pob.)
Barangay IV (Pob.)
Barangay V (Pob.)
Barangay VI (Pob.)
San Julian Norte
San Julian Sur
This is the official residence of the Archbishop of Nueva Segovia and was built in 1783. It showcases artifacts, antique portraits, a throne room, and archives, among many others. The palace also served as the headquarters of the revolutionist Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo in 1898.
This is the residence of Governor Chavit Singson and it houses a mini zoo, a shooting range, and palomino rides.
This Plaza was built in honor of the Vigan martyr priest, Father Jose P. Burgos. Currently, the plaza is the center of various kiosks offering local delicacies for townsfolk and visitors alike. The place is also used as a venue for important events.
This museum contains various memorabilia and antique collections of the Crisologo family.
This is a village located in Barangay Bulala wherein red clay products or cooking pots are molded in various shapes and designs.
Tourists can enjoy a taste of the native delicacies such as bibingka, dudol, patupat, sinuman, puto and a lot more, and be able to see personally as to how it is cooked. This is situated in Barangay San Jose.
LEONA FLORENTINO HOUSE
This is the residence of the mother’s local poetess who gained international recognition, Isabelo Delos Reyes. This house has been designated as the Provincial Tourism Center and administrative building of the Vigan Heritage Commission.
MINDORO BEACH RESORT
This beach is ideal for picnics, family gatherings and swimming. One can also reserve for an overnight accommodation.
NUEVA SEGOVIA MUSEUM
The museum houses ecclesiastical artifacts, statuaries, archdiocesan archives, prints of old pictures of baroque churches, portrait of bishops, throne room and other Episcopal paraphernalia.
The 17th century monument of Juan De Salcedo stands here, and this is also where Gabriela Silang was executed in 1763.
SPANISH FRIENDSHIP PARK / MIRA HILLS PARK
This is located in Barangay Pagburnayan which provides a swimming pool, amphitheater, and a water reservoir. This place is a favorite destination among many tourists.
ST. PAUL’S METROPOLITAN CATHEDRAL
This Cathedral was built in 1790-1800 by the Augustinians and be marveled at the unique architecture of the place. The interiors and artifacts of the cathedral are still intact.
This is the ancestral house of Dona Alicia Quirino, and the late President of the Philippines Elpidio Quirino uses this mansion as a venue for official and public functions during his administration.
THE AYALA MUSEUM
This is the former house of Father Jose Burgos. Currently, it houses various ethnic artifacts, weapons, kitchen utensils, basketry, wooden sugar milling equipment, rig or locally called "calesa", Burgos Memorabilia, tri-dimensional dioramas, a mini library, among many other things.
VIGAN ANCESTRAL HOUSES
This is a UNESCO World Heritage village in which Vigan ancestral houses can be found with an outstanding architecture, urban planning, and landscape design dating back from 16th century. The houses were built by Chinese taipans that made fortunes out of indigo dye, abel fabrics, gold, tobacco and other export items at that time.
Air transportation is provided by the Air Philippines, Chemtrad Aviation with available flights from Manila to Laoag. The Laoag International Airport caters to international flights from Taiwan, Hongkong and Guangzhou and it serviced thrice a week by Philippine Airlines to and from Manila. The San Fernando Airport, now under the administration of the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) has been expanded to be ready to take in bigger planes.
Vigan has sufficient transport system. There are four Bus Companies operating within the vicinity of Vigan such as: Philippine Rabbit Bus Line, Dominion Bus Corp., Partas Trans. Co. and Aniceto Transportation. They operate direct bus services from Vigan to Manila, Baguio, Laoag and other parts of Luzon. The trip from Manila to Vigan takes about 7 hours, while Laoag City to Vigan takes about 1 ½ hours drive.