Established in the 16th century, Vigan is the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia. Its architecture reflects the coming together of cultural elements from elsewhere in the Philippines, from China and from Europe, resulting in a culture and townscape that have no parallel anywhere in East and South-East Asia. Vigan was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site on December 2, 1999.
Justification for Inscription: Vigan represents a unique fusion of Asian building design and construction with European colonial architecture and planning. Vigan is an exceptionally intact and well preserved example of a European trading town in East and South-East Asia.
Vigan City is the capital city of Ilocos Sur, The city is 408 kilometers northwest of Manila. The name Vigan came from the Ilocano word "kabiga-an" pertaining to the plant "biga" which is a tuberous plant that once grew along the banks of the Mestizo River. This river was central in the development of trade and community activities in Vigan during the 16th to the 19th centuries.
Vigan is well-known for its cobblestone streets and a unique architecture that fuses Asian building design and construction with European colonial architecture and planning. Vigan, earlier known as "Ciudad Fernandina" from 1758 to late 19th century, is the oldest surviving Spanish colonial city in the country. Vigan brings images of antiquated houses, cobbled narrow streets of the old Mestizo District, popularly known in the olden days as Kasanglayan (Chinese Quarters).
Located at the heart of the Mestizo district, Calle Crisologo is lined on both sides by centuries-old Vigan Houses, it is made of cobblestones. Ground floors of the old house at Calle Crisologo have been turned into shops where souvenir items and Vigan furniture. I tried to gather more information about the houses on the Heritage Village, but couldn't find anything about their construction, etc.
The St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral or Vigan Cathedral was built by the Augustinians in 1790-1800 in distinctive "Earthquake Baroque" architecture. It has three naves, twelve altars, and a choir loft. Chinese influence is evident in its baptistery altar, brass communion handrails, a pair of Fu Dogs, and moldings on the façade. Most of the original church interior features are still in place. The octagonal belfry is located 10 meters south of the cathedral.