The rural landscape summoned me. And I entered my appearance. 

The horse-drawn carriages lined up in front of the cathedral while the busy thoroughfare across with aligned fast food chains and other commercial establishments tended their own world, and some people gathered in the plazas.  That was an ordinary scenario of the only heritage city in the Philippines yet a timeless charm that speaks hundredfold story.

Courtesy of Hotel Felicidad– Vigan City, the simple attractions of a small town were made grand and elegant in the eyes of a visitor like me.


Vigan Cathedral was our first stop in acquainting with the city.  It sits at the center of the town facing the Plaza Salcedo and the Provincial Capitol.  Thus, the Cathedral is the focal point for discovering life, in all aspects, at the heritage city.

The elegant chandeliers and the silver-paneled retablo (altarpiece) surrounded by almost all saints of the Roman Catholic Church even more enhanced by the three naves, 12 minor altars and brass communion handrails of Chinese origin impressed me.  A total surprise indeed as the façade may not look that grand.

The Vigan Cathedral was built in 1641, and became a cathedral when the seat of the Diocese of Nueva Segovia was transferred from Lal-lo, Cagayan to Vigan.  The church is further an eyewitness to the Philippine revolution becoming a major backdrop of the history of the Filipino People. Important events transcribed are as follows:

The church was occupied by the Revolutionists under Col. Juan Villamor in 1758.

The church was taken over and occupied by the American forces under Lt. Col. James Parker in 1899.

A chapel of wood and thatch was erected on this site in 1574 by the order of Juan de Salcedo, the conquistador and founder of Villa Fernandina (Vigan’s name before).

The church was damaged by earthquake in 1619 and 1627 and by fire in 1739.

Though renovated and whose architectural design has been modified by the Ilocanos to strengthen the structure against earthquake, visible on its façade are the original interior walls of Baroque design.

Standing on the loft of the church, I was amazed of the Cathedral’s interior and as I peek on a hole where the statue of St. Paul is, the panoramic rural landscape of Vigan was revealed through Plaza Salcedo.


Plaza Salcedo is named after Juan de Salcedo, the City of Vigan’s founder, responsible for the establishment of the third of the many Hispanic settlements in the Philippines.  The plaza is a common rendezvous that transforms into one magical tourist attraction every night at seven in the evening.

We were fortunate to have witnessed the dancing fountain and laser light show for two nights.  The first one, along with members of the media, started with drizzles. Honestly, I wasn’t able to take clear photos of the show.  But I was really amazed and the finale song was remarkable bordering to a romantic vibe of the city.  No wonder the plaza is currently the popular venue of wedding proposals.

The second night revealed the grandeur of the show to us.  I was with fellow travel blogger friends, Carla, Christian, Edmar and Darwin, as we extended our stay at the City.  The full moon, the over-usage of my camera’s long exposure feature as mentored by no other than the Lakad Pilipinas and the aura of happiness from the spectators and the venue itself was the perfect way to end the night at Vigan City.

To date, it is the best Musical Laser Show that I have witnessed.

The layout of the Plaza Salcedo is relatively unaltered back to centuries ago.  The Salcedo Obelisk dating back as early as the 17th century is the town’s centerpiece and was literally the focal point of the city’s Spanish urban design.  Each detail of the plaza’s structure comes with a historical more than the aesthetics purpose.

It is said that Vigan has suffered destructive fires many times in the past.  The need for water during times when fire occurs in the city led to the creation of the plaza’s lagoon. 

For lovers of Philippine history, it should be noted that Plaza Salcedo was the site of the execution of Gabriela Silang in September of 1763. 

The drama and grandeur of being at Vigan City, the only heritage city in the Philippines, is best felt while at Plaza Salcedo besides the known Calle Crisologo.


the Vigan Cathedral Bell Tower
Who would not know Father Jose P. Burgos, one of Vigan’s illustrious sons put to death by the Spaniards.  Our mandatory history lessons as early as elementary have taught us the courage he, along with fathers Gomez and Zamora, endured to gain freedom.

To remember the martyrdom of Fr. Burgos, the plaza was born.  It is situated right beside the Bell Tower of the Cathedral of Vigan.

As we stroll around the plaza, noticeable is the fact that it has become a venue for skateboarders to exhibit their stunts, a playground for children, lovers dating place and the tired and weary loitering den.

The Vigan Cathedral, the plazas and the fountain show introduces modernity to the Spanish settlement in the Philippines yet maintains the timeless charm of its cultural heritage. 


Vigan City, Philippines is one of the finalists for the New7WondersCities of the World. Show your support and be part of the Philippine history by casting your votes through:

Text VIGAN10 and send to 29290777 for 10 votes  

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