Calle Mena Crisologo in Vigan
Ilocos has so much to offer in terms of Heritage sites. Numerous old churches, well preserved spanish houses and mansions. We didn’t manage to visit all the spots in our IT but what we were able to visit was enough to satisfy our lust for travel. Also leaving enough reasons to return and visit our missed spots.
Spanish house facade
Since there’s too much photos and infos here, I’ll just tackle them them individually in the coming days (or weeks). First off is the Calle Mena Crisologo in Vigan. Unlike Intramuros which was continually battered during the war, Vigan was spared and more than 180 of it’s houses and landmarks are well preserved, also thanks to UNESCO for declaring the whole city as a heritage site.
Old ilocano items and furnitures align the street of Crisologo
Walking down the cobblestone streets of Vigan is quite a treat for the senses. Indeed, if not for the other foreign tourist walking around, it would have been a perfect warp zone to the past. And since it’s after christmas, there were parols hanging on the streets. The houses were impressively preserved as evident by its rich facade. I’m always fond of windows. Every window has this distinctive characters and the spanish houses here has a lot of them. Also aligned on the streets are numerous Ilocano furnitures from basic banches to impressive calesa inspired designs, wooden scultures and those wooden machineries they use to cultivate their “Basi”, a fermented wine.
DOT certified calesa
Crisologo street is closed to regular flow of traffic, and only DOT certified calesas operate here. I must commend DOT for their efforts here and their office is quite helpful and accomodating. Calesas cost around Php 150 per hour, which I think is fair enough to go around Vigan.
Cafe Leona, located in the historical house of Leona Florentina
If you find yourself hungry after walking the stretch of Crisologo, visit the historical house of Leona Florentino, the first Filipina Poetess to gain international recognition, and mother to a local hero Isabelo delos Reyes. The house is now home to DOT’s Tourism office and alongside is Cafe Leona, where they serve “Wood fired pizza” and the local cuisines like bagnet, langonisa. Do try their sizzling vegetables, one of the best I have tasted.
The street at night.
At night, Crisologo Street doesn’t loose it’s charm. Its old styled lamps light up the streets exuding a warm ambience reminiscent of the past. It’s cobblestone streets are highlighted and the shadows emphasize the old architecture of the houses as well the exposed bricks on the walls. Indeed, Vigan deserves its reputation of having it’s old charm.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.