#beautifulsunday was the idea of @ace108. For the past couple of months, we have been frequenting Vigan almost every Sunday and I still do not tire of this place. Every visit, there is always something new to see or visit. This is probably the last part about Vigan for now.
This is a painting of a familiar scene in Calle Crisologo. This painting was done by a certain Jerome and is displayed in the reception of Hotel Felicitas. When I see a photo just like this, I am always reminded of Vigan, The Heritage City of Ilocos Sur.
When asked about Vigan and what place you should visit, what always come to mind is Calle Crisologo. Spanish houses are preserved in this UNESCO Heritage Village. Constant renovation, preservation and construction is being done to be as close as can be during the Spanish regime.
Before entering the main street, you will see this statue of Leona Florentino. She was a well known poet and playwright during the Spanish times and her works were recognized internationally. Some of her works were translated to other languages. Unfortunately, the original copies perished during the Philippine Revolution. She is known to be one of the outstanding women during the Spanish times.
To the left of the statue is a restaurant named after her, Cafe Leona. Here, you can taste authentic Ilocano dishes that the Ilocano province is well known for such as Vigan longganisa (pork sausage), bagnet (deep fried pork), pakbet (sauted mixed vegetables) and many more. It is a nice place to dine and cool down from the heat.
Beside this cafe is one of the many stores which sells longganisa and bagnet if you have not had enough of such food. There are also different delicacies that you can buy such as bibingka (sweet sticky rice delicacy) that the province is also known for. However, I buy my pasalubong from a different store because their products are not that sweet which is just right to my taste. Other food or treats you can buy are crunchy cornick and corn pops of various flavors (garlic, barbecue, cheese, sweet). Different kinds of yema, peanut kisses, biscocho etc are found here. I always tend to buy a few of these food and many more.
Aside from food, lots of souvenir shops line the streets and colorful products of different sorts are displayed. Take your time window shopping/shopping or just taking photos just like me.
You can find here t-shirts of all colors printed artistically about Vigan. Woven bags, purses, wallets, scarves, etc are also eye catching because of how beautiful and colorful they are. Ref magnets are also popular gifts that tourists buy. Accessories such as bracelets and keychains are also cheap items you can buy as gifts.
Different displays and home decors can also be found here such as wooden furniture. There are even small versions of it. There are also woven baskets for sell.
I even saw a wooden toy gun and miniature cars. It's very tempting to buy such items but my eyes feasting on them is enough for now.
Also of note are cigars or tobacco sold in most of the shops. Tobacco is one of the livelihood of the people of Ilocos aside from rice farming. It is not a surprise therefore to find it sold along the street of Calle Crisologo.
Tired of shopping? No worries. There are cafes and restaurants that you can choose from to satisfy your hunger and quench your thirst. There are hotels and inns with restaurants that you can also go to. I saw one bar and restaurant called Bartech. It is probably derived from the Ilocano word "bartek" which means a drunk person.
If you are lazy to find a place to eat, then you can choose from those that were at the main street. However, if you are adventurous enough, go and find places away from the crowd. One such place is Kusina Felicita at Granpa's Inn and Restaurant located at #1 Bonifacio Street Corner Quirino Boulevard. It was the Halloween Season when we visited so the place was spooky-themed then.
The real purpose of visit here is the food. We ordered kare-kare, red eggs (salted eggs) with onions and tomatoes, grilled tuna, Vigan longganisa and fresh string beans salad and of course rice for rice is life. These are delectable delicious dishes that will make your Vigan experience all the more better.
After we had our fill and rested, we went back to Calle Crisologo again. Roads and buildings are being repaired during our visits. Whenever they build new structures, they always pattern it to the Spanish architecture.
It is mandated by the local government that there should be uniformity in the design of the structures which is nice to preserve the ancient feeling of the place. Only the commercialization of the place is inevitable which makes the place lose its authenticity.
These guys on the roof are doing repairs. Other structures are also being repaired during our visits. Since the buildings are old, some of these structures are in bad condition and needs immediate repair or restoration or better yet taken down and build new ones.
There is a church at the end of the street and we also took a peek at it. This church fronts the city hall and behind that are the museums that you might be interested to visit, too. These museums tell you more about the history of this city.
See related topic here: ULOG #44: A Beautiful Sunday tour to some of Vigan's Museums (Vigan, Ilocos Sur Part 2)
Cathedral of Vigan
The first church built was made of wood and thatch. It was in 1641 that the this existing church was built. It was damaged by earthquake in 1619 and again in 1627. As if that is not enough, a fire razed it in 1739. Despite all those tragedies, the church stands strong as you can see now.
As per history, this church was built when the Diocese of Nueva Segovia was transferred from Cagayan to Vigan in 758. This church is also known as the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle.
This is a Baroque architecture with Chinese influence with Neo-Gothic and Romanesque touches. On top of the columns beside the two doors on the right and left stand Chinese Foo dogs or lions. A statue of St. Paul on a horse is placed in a niche above the main door. Adding to the attributes to the St. Paul are symbols of sword, book and palm which also adds to the decorations of the facade of the church. A bell tower also stands tall to the right side of the church.
While the buttresses of this church are big and strong they are not as impressive as those of Paoay Church.
There are lots of altars inside the church. Most notable are two of these altars. The one on the north is dedicated to Apo Nazareno and to the south is dedicated to Apo Birhen del Rosario.
They said that they face of Christ can be seen in the face of Apo Nazareno. Apo Birhen del Rosario is depicted as carrying her cape just like how a Filipina lady does.
Also of note, the remains of former bishops and Leona Florentino were contained here in this church.
While the church is not as impressive, it is still a formidable structure that stands bright in the center of the city.
Adjacent to the cathedral is the only Archbishop's Palace in the Philippines which was built during the Spanish era. This was finished in 1783. Reportedly, it took seven years for it to be finished. Interestingly, it survived the war. They said there was a museum in the palace but we have had no time to check it.
Outside the church are life sized statues of angels and saints which serve as guards. An example of which is the statue of St. Michael the Archangel.
After visiting this church, it would be nice to end the day watching the fountain display which fronts the church. We missed that chance though because we had to go home by then. Maybe next time.