Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Vigan is one of the best places to visit if you want to travel back to the Spanish-era. From beautiful ancestral houses to centuries-old churches, you’ll definitely have a fun-filled trip in this historical city. Here are the top Vigan tourist spots you shouldn’t miss when you visit.
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I remember looking at the photos of well-preserved cobblestone streets and horse-driven kalesas back when I was in Elementary school and adding it to my bucket list. So when my friend, Steffi and I first visited Vigan way back 2016, our first stop was Calle Crisologo. During day time, you’ll find here hotels, souvenir shops, cafes and bars which I think kinda ruins the travel-back-in-time experience. (If I remember correctly, there’s also a funeral parlor here).
If you want to have Calle Crisologo all to yourselves, I suggest waking up at 5:00 AM and go exploring. This is the best time to take photos. You can also rent a bike from Hotel Felicidad for around P150 per hour and go cycling.
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Location: Mena Crisologo St., Meztizo District, Vigan City
Open 24 hours but most shops close at around 8:00 PM.
Syquia Mansion is a 19th century stone mansion which was once the home of the late President Elpidio Quirino. Decades ago, government meetings were conducted here. But now, it’s a museum which depicts wealthy living during the Spanish period.
Location: Quirino Boulevard cor. Salcedo Street, Vigan City
Entrance Fee: P20 per head
Open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (closed every Tuesday)
Crisologo museum is the ancestral home of the late congressman Floro Crisologo. After his assassination, his wife, Carmeling Crisologo converted their home into a museum in memory of her husband. You can find a lot of antiques, and things the family owns.
Location: Liberation Boulevard, Vigan City
Fees: Free but donations are accepted for the museum’s upkeep
Open daily from 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM
Villa Angela Heritage House
Unlike Syquia Mansion and Crisologo Museum, the Villa Angela Heritage House is an ancestral home that was turned into a bed and breakfast. You can find here a photo of Tom Cruise with the owner back when he stayed in 1989.
Location: 26 Quirino Blvd., Vigan City
Rates start at P3,300+
Related Post: Vigan Hotels: 15 Best Accommodations in Vigan City
Bantay Church Bell Tower
Boasting of a view of Vigan City, Bantay Church Bell Tower was built back in 1591 and is one of the province’s oldest buildings. In the local dialect, “bantay” means “to guard” which is what the locals used the tower for. In 1857, it was then converted into a church bell tower.
Location: It’s 10 to 15 minutes away from Calle Crisologo via tricycle. Back when we went here, we made the mistake of thinking it was near so we walked for nearly 20 minutes under the heat. Haha.
Fee: It’s up to you. Donations are accepted for the maintenance of the bell tower.
Open daily from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
Padre Burgos House
During the Spanish period, there were three Filipino priests known collectively as GomBurZa who were martyred. One of these, Fr. Jose Burgos, once lived in this house. Padre Burgos House is his ancestral home. Now, it’s a museum which houses memorabilia of Father Burgos and his family.
Location: Burgos, Vigan City
Mindoro Beach of Vigan
People love white sandy beaches. But have you ever seen a black sandy beach? Mindoro Beach of Vigan is jet black in color because of the magnetite and iron ore present in the sand. Swim cautiously since the currents are very strong in these parts.
Location: Brgy. Mindoro, Vigan City (The beach is pretty far from the city so it’ll be a bit expensive if you do decide to ride a tricycle going there.)
Another ancestral home turned into a museum, Arce Mansion is a must-visit if you want to dress up. For a fee, you can dress up like a don, a dona, a gobernadorcillo or a Chinese immigrant.
Location: 87 Quirino Boulevard cor. Abaya Street, Vigan City
Fee: P150 for the costumes; P1,500 per person for the costume, photoshoot, dinner, and prints (good for a minimum of 5 people)
As a writer, I adore Cafe Leona. This cafe is the ancestral home of the poetess Leona Florentino. Their bagnet and longganisa are a must-try. You can find this place at Calle Crisologo.
Abel-Iloko Weaving Community
Beloved for its quality, Vigan’s traditional woven product the Abel cloth is made at the Abel-Iloko weaving community. You can visit an Abel showroom and learn more about the craft as well as buy some woven products like table napkins, blouses, blankets, shawls, and placemats for souvenirs. Rowilda’s Loom Weaving factory is the most famous in Vigan.
Location: Brgy. Camangaan, Vigan
Business Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Factory: Weaving activity starts at 8 a.m.) / 7:30 a.m. to evening (Showroom: closing time varies)
If you’re traveling with kids, you might want to check this place out. Owned by Chavit Singson, a local politician, Baluarte zoo houses several animals and often has wildlife shows. Don’t forget to bring an umbrella, it’s hard to walk under the harsh sun.
If you are an animal lover, it’s best not to come here. I was honestly traumatized by Singson’s collection of dead animals he hunted at the Safari Gallery.
Location: Quirino Boulevard, Tamag, Vigan City, 2700 Ilocos Sur
Business hours: 7: 00 AM to 6:00 PM
Admission: Free, but there is a Php 50 fee for the e-cab tour around the zoo.
Aside from weaving, Vigan also boasts jar making. You can stop by the Pagburnayan Jar Making and watch earthenware jars come to life from a potter’s hand. If you’re lucky, you can also try making one. It’s a magical experience. Don’t forget to buy a few jars for souvenirs!
Location: Liberation Blvd, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur
Fee: Free but donations are accepted.
This not so hidden place is best place to grab a scrumptious meal. Aside from the food, you can also have a look around and buy plants from the garden. There are a lot of ornamental plants and bonsai.
Location: Katipunan St, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur
Where to Stay in Vigan?
Looking for accommodations in Vigan? Here’s a list for you!
Aside from hotels and resorts, you can also opt to stay at an Airbnb.
Responsible Travel Tips
When traveling to one place, make sure you practice responsible tourism. Here are some tips to do so.
1. Respect the environment
Don’t litter. Please hold onto your trash until you find a garbage can. Don’t bring home the sand or any seashell. Leave them where they belong. Missing seashells can have potential detrimental environmental impacts.
2. Avoid single-use plastic
Bring your eco bag and refuse single-use plastic.
3. Shop local
Keep the traditional crafts alive and support local artisans. Buy from them. And try not to haggle, P20 may seem small to you but it can mean a lot to them.
4. Always ask permission
Be sure to ask for permission first when taking photos or videos especially when it comes to children
What to Pack for
- Eco-friendly Reusable Water Bottle
- Light Rain Jacket (especially from June to November)
- T-shirts, a Nice top, and a Long-sleeved Shirt
- Day Bag
- Power Adapter
- Universal Waterproof Phone Case
- Packing Cubes
- Microfiber Towel
- Travel Insurance
- Money Belt
- Sneakers, and Some Flats
- Reusable Straw and Reusable Bag (no to single-use plastic!)
Related Article: The Only Travel Packing List You’ll Ever Need (Trust Me)
Our Camera Gear
- Mirrorless Camera: Fujifilm XT3
- Lenses: Fujifilm Fujinon kit lens (18-55mm) | Fujinon 35mm f2 | Fujinon 50mm f2
- Drone: DJI Mavic Pro 2
- GoPro: GoPro Hero Black 7
- Power Bank: Romoss Powerbank
- Camera Backpack: Case Logic Camera and Laptop Backpack
- Monopod: Ifootage Cobra 2 a180
- Mic: Rode VideoMicro
- Gimbal: Zhiyun Weebill-S
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Johanes is a digital nomad and a web content writer who loves to go on spontaneous travels. She also likes to go camp under the stars and play with her dog and cats.