Discover a pocket of Spain on the Philippines’ tropical Luzon coast. Vigan is the country’s crown jewel of colonial treasures, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its well-preserved blend of European and Asian architecture. Wander historic Calle Crisologo, where horse-drawn carriages traverse the traffic-free streets, passing lavish mansions with wooden shutters. At St. Paul the Apostle Metropolitan Cathedral, restored to its 1800’s glory following centuries of fires and earthquakes, the bell tower sings out, calling locals to worship beneath gold-trimmed vaulted ceilings.
As dusk falls, roadside lanterns splash yellow puddles of light across the cobbles and in the Plaza Salcedo, named for the Spanish conquistador Juan de Salcedo, a fountain dances with colourful lights. Meanwhile, the smell of freshly-baked empanadas scents the air, carried on a breeze from Vigan’s buzzing market where intricate, locally-woven Abel textiles are displayed. In January, the whole city comes alive to celebrate the feast of its patron saint St Paul the Apostle and the streets are filled with fiesta music, parades and beauty contests.
Talk to our Philippines team about Vigan tours, so you can explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site with a local guide who’ll help you uncover the city’s colonial past.