8 Best Things to Do in Vigan City Philippines – Spanish-style houses, Safari Zoo, and more!

8 Best Things to Do in Vigan Philippines | Budget Itinerary

The City of Vigan in Ilocos, Sur is the best place to reminisce about the Spanish era because of its well-preserved old streets and buildings.

Vigan City is one of the most beautiful cities in the Philippines because when you’re in the city, it feels as if you’re in a different country. It’s also a national favorite with locals and tourists constantly visiting the city. Its most popular attraction is the Calle Crisologo, a cobblestoned street that still features Spanish-style ancestral houses from the 1500s.

When the Spaniards took hold of Vigan back in 1572, it was named Villa Fernandina in honor of Prince Ferdinand, firstborn of King Philip II of Spain for which the Philippines was named. The

The UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Vigan are definitely a must on your travel plans especially if you’re into knowing about the rich history of the Philippines. There’s no other place as well intact as the remnants of Spanish colonial history in Vigan!

Today, we’ll look into 8 of the best things to do in Vigan!

The ever-popular, most frequently visited in the city, Calle Crisologo best features the Spanish heritage that flourished here.

The beautiful Calle Crisologo at night
The beautiful Calle Crisologo at night, credit: GuidetoPhilippines

The street still contains the original cobblestones that people in the old days walked on, and the ancestral houses show a glimpse of the old Spanish towns.

Calle Crisologo is a picturesque sight and it’s great for taking photographs for Instagram as most locals do! But aside from this, there is a ton of things you’ll get to find here like the Kalesa which is a horse-drawn carriage and the only vehicle that can access the area.

You’ll also find shops selling different things like jewelry, furniture, and even high-quality antiques. There’s a particular store named Rowilda’s Weaving that sells hand-woven clothing and blankets that are of world-class quality.

Location: H99Q+X84, Crisologo, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur

Opening Hours: Always open.

Entrance Fee: FREE

2. Crisologo Museum

The Crisologo Museum was originally an ancestral house of the family of late Congressman Floro S. Crisologo who met his demise through an assassination while he was attending church service in October 1970 at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Memorabilia of Cong. Floro S. Crisologo
Memorabilia of Cong. Floro S. Crisologo, credit: bluedreamer27.com

Crisologo was a prominent politician back in the day for his contributions to the legislation of landmarks in the country. It is said that the assassination was politically driven but to this day, the case has not yet been solved and the gunman remains unknown.

The ancestral house was then turned into a museum by his wife where his blood-stained trousers are displayed and other memorabilia.

Location: H9CP+5QJ, A. Reyes St, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur

Opening Hours: 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

Entrance Fee: FREE but donations are accepted for maintenance of the museum.

3. Syquia Mansion

The Syquia Mansion is a National Heritage site that offers a glimpse of the old Spanish-style houses during the Spanish colonial period.

The Spanish-style living room in Syquia Mansion
The Spanish-style living room in Syquia Mansion, credit: lifeisacelebration.blog

Originally owned by Gregorio Syquia and his family, the Mansion is the oldest bahay na bato, or stone house, in the city. It was built in 1830 without cement, steel bars, and a blueprint. The mansion was designed with high ceilings, hardwood floors, porcelain ware, antique hardwood furniture, and family portraits.

The sixth President of the Philippines, Elpidio Quirino, and his wife also lived here and you’ll find portraits of them in the sala (living room). You can also find family heirlooms and artifacts from prominent Ilokano families like the Ang Co Family. And if you feel hungry, you can try out the longganisa sold at Tienda Ti Mansion!

Location: Quirino Boulevard, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur

Opening Hours: Temporarily closed.

Entrance Fee: Php75 or $1.50 per person.

4. Pagburnayan Jar Factory

The Pagburnayan Jar Factory is one of the last remaining jar factories in Vigan. It aims to preserve the art of Burnay jar-making.

The art of burnay jar-making, credit: GMA Network

A Burnay is a kind of pot made out of clay which is abundant in western Vigan. These jars were first introduced by Chinese immigrants who first settled in Vigan. They were used for tea drinking and storing salt, sugar, water, basi (a local wine), and bagoong (fermented fish).

Visiting the 101-year-old factory, you’ll get a chance to learn how to make your own burnay jar as well as understand the cultural background and significance of this art form. Unfortunately, taking your creation home is not possible because the jars take a lot of time to bake and dry. You can, however, buy pre-made jars that are available in the factory.

This tourist spot is a fun way to spend a day in Vigan. It’s also great to take part in the conservation of this dying tradition too!

Location: 48 Gomez St, Vigan City, 2700 Ilocos Sur

Opening Hours: 8 AM to 6 PM, daily.

Entrance Fee: FREE but donations are encouraged.

5. Baluarte Zoo

Another tourist attraction that will surely get your little ones thrilled or your inner animal lover happy is the Baluarte Zoo in Vigan!

Hunting Gallery at Baluarte Zoo in Vigan
Hunting Gallery at Baluarte Zoo in Vigan, credit: LoneProwler

This 100-hectare Zoo is a resort and a mini zoo that houses wild animals like birds. snakes, crocodiles, lions, and the majestic Bengal tigers! This zoo is owned by a local politician by the name, Chavit Singson. He loves the safari so much that he used his land to share his love for it.

The kids will really love the life-sized dinosaur statues in one part of Baluarte Zoo. And for those who love hunting, the Safari Gallery display preserved animals and hunting photos too!

The best thing about Baluarte Zoo is that the entrance is free so, if you’re traveling on a budget then this is definitely for you!

Location: H92G+GV7, Quirino Boulevard, Tamag, Vigan City, 2700 Ilocos Sur

Opening Hours: 8 AM to 6 PM, daily.

Entrance Fee: FREE

6. Bantay Church Bell Tower

The Bantay Church Bell Tower is a historical icon of its own. Ever since its construction in 1591, this bell tower has been held dear and important to the lives of the people of Ilocos Sur as this served as a warning in times of incoming dangers.

The Bantay Church Bell Tower at Bantay, Ilocos Sur
The Bantay Church Bell Tower at Bantay, Ilocos Sur, credit: Rosesale, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Its location makes it a perfect vantage point for soldiers back in the day to spot anyone and anything approaching Bantay, Vigan, and the surrounding towns. It was also rumored that Philippines heroes, Diego and Gabriela Silang loved having dates at this spot!

You might wonder why the bell tower is situated away from the churches. It’s because the Bantay Church Bell Tower is older than the surrounding churches!

You can climb up the bell tower to see the beautiful view up above. However, the bell tower’s height with the addition of it being on top of a hill might induce anxiety, especially for those who are afraid of heights. But perhaps, this is the best place to face your fears since the view is truly worth the climb!

Location: 003 Rizal St, Bantay, Ilocos Sur

Opening Hours: 8 AM to 6 PM, daily.

Entrance Fee: FREE but donations are encouraged.

7. Vigan Cathedral

Also known as St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral, the Vigan Cathedral plays an integral part in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Vigan.

St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral (1547)
St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral (1547), credit: Allan Jay Quesada, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Vigan Cathedral dates back to 1574 when the first church was built under the Spanish conquistador, Juan de Salcedo. It sports a neo-Gothic and pseudo-Romanesque style of architecture that is a wonder in itself. It was designed to withstand earthquakes and is also characterized by its beautiful white exterior and buttresses on its sides.

Today, it serves as the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia which covers the entirety of the province of Ilocos Sur. The area is great for pictures, but don’t forget to pay your respects inside the church which is equally as beautiful!

Location: Burgos St, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur

Opening Hours: 7 AM to 5 PM, daily.

Entrance Fee: FREE

8. Mindoro Black Sand Beach

We all know and love pristine white beaches, right? And the Philippines has a lot of these beaches. However, there’s a unique beach in Vigan that has black sand instead of white!

Waves over the Mindoro Black Sand Beach
Waves over the Mindoro Black Sand Beach, credit: blog.rakuboss.ph

The Mindoro Black Sand Beach is one of the best black sand beaches in the Philippines. The beach offers you a gorgeous view of the West Philippine Sea that is exceptionally perfect during sunsets.

On this beach, you’ll notice that there is quite a scent but it is due to the iron ore that makes the sand black. Some parts of the beach do not have this black color because back in the olden days, the black sand was illegally mined. Swimming in the may require you to be extra cautious since currents here are a bit strong.

Mindoro Black Sand Beach is simply the perfect way to wrap up your Vigan trip! Its laid-back nature can surely make you feel relaxed and fulfilled!

Location: Vigan City, Ilocos Sur

Opening Hours: Always Open.

Entrance Fee: FREE

How to get to Vigan?

The best way to travel to Vigan if you have no ride yet is to take a bus from NAIA to Vigan City. Buses are quite inexpensive here in the Philippines and it will only cost you around $12 for a premium ride complete with airconditioned accommodation, comfortable seats, blankets and pillows, and complimentary snacks and water. Travel time usually takes 7-9 hours.

If you’re in a hurry, you can book a flight to Vigan as well. You take a flight from Manila to Laoag Airport and then take a bus from there to Vigan. The journey only takes 3 hours. You can quickly check for available flights here!

Is Vigan City restricted?

No! Tourists can now visit Vigan for tourism and leisure travel given that they have received COVID-19 vaccinations at least two weeks before arrival. No need to take a COVID-19 test in this case, simply bring a valid vaccination card.

You can visit Vigan City’s official website for more updates on COVID-19 regulations as well as all the happenings that you might want to visit on your trip!

Is Vigan City Worth Visiting?

Quick answer, YES!

Vigan City is definitely worth a visit. Everything in the city, its culture, and its heritage are some of the most intact in the Philippines. It’s a great place to learn something about the history of the Philippines and the perfect place to have a picturesque trip! Prices are cheap too as you’ve noticed in this article. Almost all of the attractions are free!

So, if you’re looking for a place to travel to in the Philippines, you should definitely visit Vigan!

Did you like this blog? If you want to know more about attractions in the Philippines, read our blogs here!

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