Vigan City, known for being a well preserved Spanish colonial town, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Before it was included in the World Heritage List, the city was rife with political instability and economic problems. But with proper planning and action, the community was able to transform Vigan by focusing on their culture, history, and tradition.
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Due to the locals’ united effort, Vigan is now a premier cultural destination. Some have described the city as a “living museum”—its structures remain solid and functional. Have a do-it-yourself city tour by checking out these Vigan tourist spots on our list. For our recommended Vigan hotels in 2020, refer to this article instead.
How to Get from Manila to Vigan, Ilocos Sur
There are no direct flights from Manila to Vigan and vice versa. If you want to travel by plane, you can fly to Laoag, Ilocos Norte instead. Travel time by plane is only an hour or so. From there, you can take a bus to Vigan for about an hour and a half. Tickets from Laoag to Vigan are available here.
Travel time from Manila to Vigan City is somewhere between 8 to 10 hours by bus. Daily air conditioned bus trips are available at Cubao and Pasay bus terminals. Although there are regular trips, we highly recommend booking tickets in advance especially during peak season dates.
What to do in Vigan
Here are some of the best things to do in Vigan! These tourist spots should definitely be in your list of places to visit. You can also check our Vigan hotel recommendations by clicking here.
Pay a visit to the Vigan Cathedral
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Completed in the 1800s, the Vigan Cathedral still stands strong today. The church’s Baroque architecture was fortified by the Ilocanos to make it earthquake proof. Even if you’re not religious, it’s worth a visit for its view. It’s located in front of Plaza Salcedo which is at the heart of the city center. You can catch the Dancing Fountain lights show at 7:00pm on weekdays and 8:30pm on weekends.
Wander inside Heritage Village
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A seven minute walk from Plaza Salcedo, and you’ll stumble upon Heritage Village. The most photographed spot in all of Vigan is undoubtedly Calle Crisologo or Crisologo Street.
Here you’ll find the iconic ancestral Spanish houses, horse carriages, and cobblestone streets. For just 150php, you can take a ‘kalesa’ or horse carriage tour for an hour. Aside from photo ops, Calle Crisologo has shops, museums, and restaurants you can visit. You’re sure to forget it’s the 21st Century when wandering inside Heritage Village!
Spin some clay at Ruby’s Pottery Pagburnayan
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Aside from basi wine and longganisa, another popular souvenir item is the burnay jar. Visit either Ruby’s Pottery Pagburnayan or RG Jar Factory for quality pieces. Both places offer experiences where you can give pottery a try and learn more about this dying tradition. All they ask is for a donation. Don’t forget to take one home as a souvenir. These burnay jars are said to be sturdier than terra cotta!
Enjoy the view atop the Bantay Church Bell Tower
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The Bantay Church Bell Tower used to be a watchtower for spotting pirates and enemies during the war. Now it’s being used as a vantage point for a spectacular view of the province. Entrance to the compound is free, but registration is required at Calle Crisologo’s Tourist Center.
This is the perfect spot to take a rest out of your busy Vigan itinerary. There is also a small Chapel by the Ruins where you can spend some quiet time. It’s located inside the compound as well. Most tourists will be busy taking photos by the Bell Tower, but the chapel will surely be uncrowded.
Try activities at the Ilocos Sur Adventure Zone
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Who says Vigan isn’t exciting? Sure, the city is known for its cultural experience and rich history, but there are thrilling activities too! By car, the Ilocos Sur Adventure Zone is only 15 minutes away from Vigan City. You can spend all day wall climbing, ziplining, rappelling, and kayaking. More recently, they added a giant swing ride. The best part of it all is that you get a view of Quirino bridge while getting your adrenaline rush! You can also walk over to the bridge to admire the view and take some photos.