Vigan, one of the cradles of history in the Philippines, is home to the Heritage Village, the only village to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage in the country. Many centuries after the Spanish Colonial Era in the Philippines, Vigan's Heritage Village remarkably retained its charm, as if walking on its famous cobblestoned streets means stepping back in time. Every year, countless visitors, local and foreign, head to Vigan to marvel at the beauty of the town's historical jewels.
The famous cobblestoned Calle Crisologo, just a short walk from Vigan Cathedral, is part of the Heritage Village, a spacious compound of well-preserved Spanish colonial houses that are now mostly converted into antique shops and souvenir stores. The Heritage Village is also home to several hotels and restaurants for every budget. Well-known ancestral homes in the area such as Villa Angela (now a hotel) and Syquia Mansion (residence of former Philippine President Elpidio Quirino) are also popular attractions.
Calle Crisologo and the Heritage Village look very inviting in pictures, and even more breathtaking when you see it in actual. I have been to Intramuros countless times, but I have never seen colonial houses as beautiful and well-preserved as the ones in the village. I have heard and read people say it countless of times, but I’d have to say it myself: the Heritage Village has the power to captivate and make people feel what it was like to be in a rustic 16th century Spanish colonial town.
Shopping around in Calle Crisologo should definitely be in every visitor’s itinerary. The shops offer all sorts of souvenir items such as keychains, shirts, bags, purses, accessories, textile goods, and even antique (either in design or authenticity) wooden products. Food items such as the famous Ilocano chichacorn, bagnet, and kakanin are also being sold around the Heritage Village. It’s probably best to shop and stroll in the late afternoon, when most of the shops are open. Some stores may allow you to haggle, like one seller who gave me a discount for a beautiful hardwood mini closet (perfect for storing jewelry and watches) .
Strolling along Calle Crisologo and the surrounding streets, is indeed a visual treat, especially at night, when the cozy street lights make everything extra dreamy and romantic. Vigan is a quiet town, but the night life is definitely not out of the picture. We found several restaurants around the Heritage Village, like Grandpa’s Inn triumvirate of Uno Grille, Kusina Felicitas, and Cafe Uno (famous for their great food and homey ambiance), where it would be nice to have a hearty dinner or simply hang out and chat over coffee or tea and clubhouse sandwiches. For those who are up for alfresco or street dining, there are establishments like Max’s Restaurant where outdoor seats are available every evening, so people can enjoy the historic ambiance of Calle Crisologo while savoring their sumptuous meals.
A Heritage Village/Calle Crisologo experience would never be complete without going on camwhore mode. Everything around me looked so beautiful, I found it easy to get shutter-happy and shoot here and there. I could only try my best to capture the beauty of Calle Crisologo and the rest of the Heritage Village, but nothing beats seeing and relishing everything with your own eyes.
Photos taken using Nikon FE2 + Kodak Ultima 100 and Eurocolor 200