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Vigan City : Vigan Provincial Capital of Ilocos Sur

Vigan City, a fifth class city that is also the provincial capital of Ilocos Sur, was established by the Spaniards in 1572.

It is the best saved model of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia. Ilocano is the principal dialect while Filipino and English are the basic tools of instruction in schools. Kankanaey and Itneg are also spoken in cultural communities. In the year 2000, it haa a population of 45,143.

This magnificent historical city is located at 17deg 34' 30"N and 120deg 23' 15"E. The city is located on the western coast of the Large island of Luzon, facing the South China Sea. Its topography varies from undulating to rolling, with elevations ranging from 10 to 1,700 meters above sea level.

Vigan City was built by the Spaniards in the 16th century, led by Juan de Salcedo. There were communities already existing then, prior to the Spanish rule, along the coves in the northern part of Luzon. This group of settlement was called "Ylocos". It ranged from Bangui, up north, and down to Namacpacan in the south.

Juan de Salcedo founded his control center along the Mestizo River, then named "Kabigaan" because of the "gabi" (purple yam)-like plants profusely growing by the river banks. Vigan also became the seat of archdiocese. In 1758, a royal decree transferred the Northern Luzon Diocese of Nueva Segovia and Vigan was known as "Ciudad Fernandina", as a tribute to King Ferdinand of Spain.

It was not long before the Spanish introduced variety of food crops and non food crops which most people in Vigan engaged to, such as farming and producing food crops, mostly rice, corn, vegetable and rootcrops. Included in non-food crops are tobacco, cotton, and tifer grass. Loom weaving, furniture making, jewelry making, ceramics, black smithing and food processing are some of the cottage industries patronized by Vigan residents.

Looping back to the south of Plaza Salcedo and St. Paul's, one finds the best selling native delicacies such as empanada at Plaza Burgos. This same plaza is named after a famous Ilocano priest, Father Jose Burgos, one of the martyrs during the Spanish regime.

Vigan City most famous attractions are the ancestral houses of the former Kamestizoan District, now called the Vigan Heritage Village. The famed ancestral homes here are replete with authentic tiled roofs, massive hardwood floorings, ornate balustrades, and azoteas in varying Spanish-Mexican-Chinese architectural styles, reflecting the different cultures that had influenced this area in the past.

Vigan City is also the home of the famous Ilocano jars or Burnay, which are made for storing vinegar, bagoong (local fermented fish paste) and the local wine, Basi. They are also used as decorative wares. These jars are produced in factories using the pre-historic method.

Another attraction enjoyed by natives and guests alike is Viva Vigan, a cultural festival which occurs during the first week of May. This is a good chance to see all Ilocano culture on parade, in song, dance and drama.




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