Monday, April 7, 2014

Philippines - Things to Do in Vigan City

The UNESCO Heritage Site of Vigan City is well known for its cobbled streets and colonial mansions. Besides the picturesque Crisologo Street and the interactive Baluarte, there are still many attractions worth visiting before taking the bus to your next destination.

1) Syquia Mansion

Syquia Mansion

Syquia Mansion dedicates to the Philippines' sixth president, Elpidio Quirino. Just like Crisologo Museum, this ancestral mansion houses extensive collections of memorabilia of the president, making this an insightful tour into the man's life and work. The house belonged to his wife, Dona Alicia Quirino, a Chinese descendant whose family fortune derived from the booming trading business.

The living room

The mansion is beautifully decorated and retains its glamourous past, especially when you ascend the stairs to the first floor. Antiques collected from all over the world adorn the many huge rooms and there are big family portraits hung on the wall. As the house is still being used by the family members, you will notice some modern equipment around the house.

Detailed carvings on the bed

Paws for table legs

There is no entrance fee for it. However, donation is somewhat expected by the caretaker when you enter the mansion.

2) St. Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul's Cathedral

Philippines is one of the few Southeast Asian countries that is wholly Catholics and its churches are among the finest in the region. Hence, it goes without saying that a visit to the local church is a must.

The interior

The completion of the current St. Paul's Cathedral dated back in the 1800s following the Earthquake Baroque architectural design; thick walls and massive buttresses. It just shows how effective this architectural design in keeping the structure from collapsing considering the church is more than 200 years old in a earthquake prone country.

3) Ilocos Sur Provincial Prison

Provincial Prison

While not exactly a tourist destination per se, this jailhouse is worth stopping by for this is the birthplace of the sixth president, Elpidio Quirino, for his father was the warden. As this is still a prison, you cannot really have access into the building. Next to the provincial prison is the Ayala Museum, which used to be the house of Father Jose Burgos. During my visit, the museum was closed for renovation.

Capitol Hall

Also nearby these attractions are Municipal Hall, Capitol Hall, Plaza Burgos and Plaza Salcedo.


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