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Follow her as she prepares and partakes the "bread for the stomach" in http://beforesixdiet.blogspot.com/ . And while you are full at it, she offers you the "bread for the soul" in her travels by foot and by thoughts in http://footandfire.blogspot.com/ Happy Reading!

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Vigan: It's not the itchy feet, it's the eager heart!

Posing before the Arzobispado Nueva Segovia
Immediate to our memory is the Spanish period in our history given the more than 300 years of occupation of the Spaniards. I believe Filipinos should pay a visit to this place to at least get the feel of the oldness of the houses, the villages, the streets in order to aid oure remembrance of our history, good or bad it may be. Upon visit, Vigan, Ilocos Norte actually nests an admirable series of houses built during the Spanish era. Hence, it was named as UNESCO World Heritage site.
Vigan was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List of Sites and Monuments last December 2, 1999 which now includes 630 cultural and natural properties of exceptional universal value in entire the world and one of the only five heritage sites found in the Philippines. With its inclusion in said prestigious list of world heritage sites, Vigan has become a source of pride, and a national symbol of the Filipinos," as proudly declared in Vigan website.

Taking time to pose in the Heritage Village...


Posing at the famed Calle Crisologo.
My dream is to sit in  cart wheel designed old wooden bench. So here I am.

Calesas abound the streets of Heritage Village.


And tricycles too.



Beside Plaza Burgos is the place for enjoying streetfood and the popular Vigan Empanada. The Vigan empanada has cabbages, eggs and longganisa inside...


Old meets new. The old buildings houses new establishments.


This old structure houses the One Mall, the mall fronting the
Plaza Burgos where we looked for the LBC
to send the longganisa and bagnet door-to-door.

To have a bird's eyeview of Vigan's favorite places, here is the vicinity map of the city. Yes, as I said, I went to Vigan because of my hearts desire and not just because i have an itchy feet.

The Vigan website retells its story, to wit:

Vigan is an island, which used to be detached from the mainland by three rivers - the great Abra River, the Mestizo River and the Govantes River. It is unique among the Philippine towns because it is the country’s most extensive and only surviving historic city that dates back to the 15th century Spanish colonial period.

Vigan was an important coastal trading post in pre-colonial times. Long before the Spanish galleons, Chinese junks sailing from the South China Sea came to Isla de Bigan through the Mestizo River that surrounded the island. On board were sea-faring merchants that came to barter exotic goods from Asian kingdoms in exchange for gold, beeswax and other mountain products brought down by natives from the Cordilleras. Immigrants, mostly Chinese, settled in Vigan, intermarried with the natives and started the multi-cultural bloodline of the BigueƱos.

In the book, The Philippine Island, Vol. III, p. 276, Blair and Robertson, two letters of Governor General Guido de Lavezares to King Philip II of Spain mentions: “It seemed best to send Captain Juan de Salcedo with 70 or 80 soldiers to people the coast of Los Ilocano on the shores of the river called Bigan.” Salcedo then sailed from Manila on May 20, 1572 and arrived in Vigan on June 12, 1572.

Thus, after the successful expedition and exploration of the North, Don Juan de Salcedo founded “Villa Fernandina de Vigan” in honor of King Philip II’s son, Prince Ferdinand who died at the tender age of four. From Vigan, Salcedo rounded the tip of Luzon and proceeded to pacify Camarines, Albay, and Catanduanes. 

As a reward for his services to the King, Salcedo was awarded the old province of Ylocos which then composed of the Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Abra, La Union and some part of Mountain Province as his Encomienda and was accorded the title as Justicia Mayor de esta Provincia de Ylocos.

In January 1574, Salcedo returned to the capital of his Encomienda, Vigan, bringing with him some Augustian Missionaries to pioneer the evangelization of Ylocos and established a Spanish city, for the purpose of controlling the neighboring country.

Governor General Gomez Perez Darmarinas, in his Account of Encomienda dated in Manila on May 31, 1591 states: “The town of Vigan called Villa Fernandina has five or six Spanish citizens with one priest, a Justice, one Alcalde Mayor (Governor) and a Deputy. The King collects 800 tributes (equivalent to 3,200 subjects). During this period, the old Vigan was composed of 19 barrios. 

In 1645-1660, Vigan was already divided into 21 Cavezas de Barangay as mentioned in the “Libro de Casamiento”, the oldest records of the parish house of Vigan found in its Archives. Separated from the naturales, the Chinese have their own place of settlement called pariancillo, “Los Sangleyes del parian” and the Spaniards were residents in a villa called “Los EspaƱoles de la Villa”.

St Paul's Cathedral with its bell tower.

Yes, this is  not a house. This is Vigan Plaza Hotel.


Max's at one of the old houses.


Wooden Furnitures are one of my favorite sights in the site.


Another capture of the wooden furniture!


Another mall called Gallera de Vigan...  My photo says, "Vigan, I'm here."

The website continues saying, How Vigan got its name is told from an anecdote carried by the tongue of generations, which tells of a Spaniard walking along the banks of the Mestizo River. There, he met a native of the place and stopped to inquire: “Como se Ilama usted de esta lugar?”

Not understanding a word of Spanish, the native scratched his head and upon seeing that the Spaniard was pointing to a plant, exclaimed in Ilocano: “Bigaa Apo”. Bigaa being Alcasia Macroniza, a giant Taro plant belonging to the Gabi family which used to thrive at the bank of the Mestizo River. From the name of the plant – Bigaa, whence Vigan derived its name.

Here is how the Bigaa look like...